What you need to know before starting the accreditation process

The accreditation process has 8 steps. Our accreditation team will work with you to support your application and answer your questions.

The requirements vary depending on the accreditation program, but the process is similar for all. 

8 steps to accreditation listed on the page

The accreditation process in 8 steps


  1. You review the program requirements
  2. You request an application package and quote
  3. You complete and submit your application
  4. We review your application



  1. We assess your documents 
  2. We assess your organization
  3. You respond to our findings
  4. We decide whether to grant you accreditation


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Streamlined process for accredited bodies

Is your organization already accredited by an accreditation body recognized by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation or International Accreditation Forum? If it is, you can use a streamlined process to earn accreditation from SCC.

Application process

1. You review the program requirements

Start by reviewing all the requirements and guidance documents related to the program for which you want to be accredited. This will help you complete the application. 

  • Find the list of requirements and guidance documents in the accreditation documents section on each program page.
  • Review the related requirements and guidance documents if you are applying for a specific scheme. 
  • Take one of our courses to better understand and apply standards in your organization. These courses offer you the tools you need to increase your performance in conformity assessment.

2. You request an application and quote

  • Submit your request to get a quote.
  • Receive an application package based on your needs.
  • Meet with our team to review the package and get answers to your questions.


After you submit your application, you will receive a quote that includes the application fee and an estimate of assessment and annual fees.

3. You complete and submit your application

As part of the application package, you need to submit information about your organization’s operations. You must also submit documents for your initial assessment. 

The amount of time your organization will need to compile this information and documentation depends on how ready you are for your initial assessment. We will give you an assessment checklist to help you meet all requirements for the application.

At this stage, you will:

  • buy the standard(s)
  • submit the attestation form that confirms you bought the standard(s)
  • submit the application form and supporting documents to your SCC contact


All the application information you submit is treated as confidential.

4. We review your application 

Your account manager will be your main contact with us.

They will:

  • review your application package
  • do a risk evaluation
  • check that your application is complete
  • contact you if any information is missing or incomplete

When your application is ready to proceed, your account manager will let you know that the accreditation process has begun. At this point you will pay the application fee.

If your application is rejected, you will be told the reason(s) why. You will be able to discuss this with your account manager. 

Accreditation process

5. We assess your documents

The objective at this stage is to make sure that you are ready to undergo accreditation. Here’s what happens:

  • A reviewer verifies that your management system, policies and procedures meet the requirements for the program you selected. This is done based on the documents and criteria matrix you submitted with your application.
  • If your management system, policies and procedures do not meet these requirements, the reviewer will ask you to submit responses to their findings. All findings must be resolved before your organization can be assessed. If there are significant deficiencies, we may recommend a preassessment visit.
  • A preassessment visit is an optional informal on-site review. During the visit, we identify areas related to accreditation requirements that need attention. It also gives you a chance to ask questions and clarify steps in the process. This can be very helpful if this is your first time seeking accreditation. 

6. We assess your organization

During the initial assessment, your organization needs to demonstrate its competence and its compliance with the accreditation criteria. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The time needed for this assessment depends on the scope and complexity of your activities that you want to be accredited for.
  • We will provide a detailed fee estimate for your assessment based on our review of your documents (step 5). You need to pay this fee before you can schedule your assessment.
  • The assessment team conducts the assessment. This team includes assessors, experts and at times, observers. They will need access to information demonstrating that your organization meets the accreditation requirements. Their work involves doing a thorough review of relevant documents and records, having discussions with staff and observing activities.
  • We will meet with you after we complete the assessment to report and review our findings. We will provide you an electronic copy of the findings report, which notes nonconformities, observations and commendations. If you have questions or disagree with any of the findings, you can discuss these while the team is on-site. 

7. You respond to our findings

When our findings include nonconformities, you may need to take corrective actions before we can grant you accreditation. 

  • You must respond to the findings and submit an action plan that addresses each nonconformity. 
  • Once we approve your plan, you must implement the corrective actions and submit evidence that you have done so. 
  • This must be done within 90 days from the time you receive the findings report.


Our team will work closely with your organization during this time to ensure your submission is reviewed in a timely way. 

8. We decide whether to grant you accreditation

The lead assessor prepares the final accreditation report, which states whether your organization meets the requirements for accreditation. This is done once any nonconformities are resolved.

Our accreditation review team reviews the report and other supporting documents to ensure that: 

  • our procedures were met throughout the assessment 
  • any nonconformities are resolved
  • your organization now meets all accreditation requirements 

The team may ask your organization for more information. 

The final decision to grant accreditation comes from the vice-president of Accreditation Services. If your organization is granted accreditation, you will:

  • sign the SCC accreditation licence agreement
  • receive a package with SCC’s official accreditation symbols that your organization can use to promote your accreditation to your clients
  • for programs under ILAC/IAF mutual recognition, receive the combined marks and sign the license agreement 
  • get a signed certificate of accreditation
  • be included in the directory of accredited bodies on the SCC website 
  • receive a cycle plan that includes the activities you need to do to maintain your accreditation status

Once you are accredited

Maintaining your accreditation

We maintain your SCC accreditation by doing assessments at regular intervals to ensure that you still comply with the criteria. These activities are described in the Accreditation Services Program Overview: they can include reassessment visits, surveillance visits and witness audits as per the program requirements. 

Throughout the accreditation cycle, you can amend your scope. The scope of accreditation expresses a facility’s accredited capabilities.


Transferring or adding SCC accreditation

If your organization is accredited by a signatory member to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation or the International Accreditation Forum, you can use a streamlined application process to earn SCC accreditation. 

The hard work your organization did to earn accreditation through another recognized body can save you time and effort, especially when it comes to submitting technical documents. 


How much does accreditation cost?

You will receive a detailed quote tailored to your needs during the application process.

Several factors impact the cost of accreditation:

  • number of schemes for which you want to be accredited
  • technical scope (the number of sectors) for which you are seeking accreditation
  • size and complexity of your organization
  • number of sites from which you offer services


These factors affect the number and type of assessments that will be done during the initial assessment and for ongoing surveillance. Once your organization is accredited, you will be charged annual fees.


How long will it take for our organization to become accredited after we apply?

The time it takes for accreditation depends mainly on how prepared you are. Here are some common challenges that can affect the timeline. 


  • Poor-quality documentation
    Before we do an on-site assessment of your organization, we review your documents against the accreditation requirements. Poor documentation may indicate that some nonconformities need to be addressed before your application can move forward.
  • Lack of evidence that the structural requirements of the criteria are implemented
    The criteria require particular structures to be formed, such as mechanisms to ensure impartiality. Often, these requirements are misunderstood and are not implemented adequately.
  • Lack of evidence that procedures are implemented
    This is a case of practices and procedures not aligning. In the initial assessment stage, we may raise nonconformities that you need to address before we can grant accreditation.

Explore more


The SCC Learning Centre offers a range of public and tailor-made accreditation and standardization training courses. Our top-notch instructors are industry leaders who share their passion with Canadian and international participants.

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Why choose SCC accreditation

Our accreditation sends a clear message that people can count on your organization. We are held to the highest standards as a signatory to ILAC and IAF international agreements, and as a Canadian Crown corporation.

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Explore our 'one-stop-shop' for both broad and specialized scopes of accreditation. With 11 programs, we're Canada's largest accreditation body. Experience personalized service tailored to your organization's pace, size and needs.