Standards development and conformity assessment activities are flexible tools that are useful for many regulatory environments and objectives. Standards are developed to meet a stakeholder need or objective, such as performance requirements for a new technology or access to new markets. Often, standards are developed and used as part of third-party conformity assessment requirements. These activities go through a cyclical review to ensure they continue to meet stakeholder needs, uphold public health and safety, and facilitate trade.

Regulators and standardization


Given the flexibility of the tool, standardization has an established value for government. It serves as a cost-effective compliance measure delivered through an established infrastructure; standards are developed through a reliable and credible development process (balanced consensus matrix) and undergo rigorous review and regular updates. Standardization helps reduce burden on industry of regulatory compliance. It enhances alignment between jurisdictions and reduces technical barriers to trade. It satisfies Canada’s international commitments and trade requirements. It contributes to red tape reduction (time/costs); and it reflects globalization of supply chains and logistics. 

We support Canadian regulators in using standardization and conformity assessment strategies to meet policy and regulatory objectives.  We oversee Canada’s standardization system. It’s made up of people and organizations from across the country who are dedicated to promoting, developing and implementing standards. Standardization includes standards and conformity assessment, which are developed based on needs. It follows these steps: 


  1. Need – An individual or organization (such as regulators, industry, or other interested parties) identify a need for a new standard or a revision to an existing standard. This could be to meet changing social, industry or regulatory environments.
  2. Objective – Standards development organizations (SDOs) work with relevant parties to evaluate and approve the development of standards. We can support by managing SDO procurement.
  3. Standard development – The SDO forms or directs a technical committee to develop the standard. Members of the committee represent interested/affected groups. They develop the standards using a consensus-based, transparent and accessible process. This includes public review and a cost/benefit analysis.
  4. Application – Individuals/organizations use standards to promote best practices, harmonization and baseline requirements. They also use standards to assess conformity through certification, inspection and testing.
  5. Review – Standards are reviewed under the mandatory maintenance cycle within 5 years. The review may identify new needs or objectives. 


Standards and conformity assessment support regulators by:


  • safeguarding the health and safety of Canadian citizens in many sectors, such as consumer products, health care and the environment 
  • providing important economic benefits and reducing regulatory compliance costs
  • easing market access for Canadian products and services by certifying compatibility through conformity assessment
  • being incorporated (in part or as a whole) in regulations or legislation
  • supporting compliance with the Cabinet Directive on Regulations and Canada’s international trade and regulatory cooperation commitments, such as the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement

Regulators rely on Canada’s standardization network to fulfill their mandates and policy objectives for public and environmental safety, economic development and competitiveness.


Regulators play an important role in the standardization system. They:

  • help to develop and maintain domestic and international standards
  • identify needs for standardization
  • refer to standards and conformity assessment requirements in regulations
  • apply standards for conformity assessment (such as certification) as part of regulatory enforcement and monitoring


Government and regulators use standards and conformity assessment to set and support policy and regulatory requirements. 


At SCC, we work with regulators to develop accreditation schemes around these requirements. They are in keeping with internationally recognized processes. Conformity assessment bodies can use accreditation to verify industry compliance. This allows regulators to use the existing industry-driven standardization system. That makes regulations more effective. At the same time, it reduces costs for government and industry and provides assurance to consumers. 

Public safety is a crucial component of Canada’s standardization network. At SCC, we:

  • contribute to both policy-level and technical federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) committees. 
  • work with provincial and territorial regulatory authorities to align standards, conformity assessment and other recognized documents that are referenced in provincial and territorial regulations and enhance coordination across Canada
  • contribute to the safe and accredited inspection and certification of products and services across the country through these committees.


We work with FPT committees to strengthen the interdependent relationships between technical and policy-level advisory committees. Here’s how they improve the standardization system:

  • support the reconciliation of regulatory barriers to trade 
  • strengthen the harmonizing and cohesiveness of public safety regulation through standardization policy and governance advice
  • facilitate the identification, development and review of critical standards and codes to support the alignment of regulations
  • coordinate stakeholders across the network to use common objectives, reduce duplication of efforts and align priorities


We work with the following FPT committees:

We help regulators and governments navigate the standardization system. Here are some of our online resources: 

Standards development


SCC accreditation and conformity assessment


SCC policy and programs


Report cover with SCC logo

Guidelines for incorporating standards by reference in regulations to support public policy objectives

Incorporating standards by reference in regulation allows regulators to leverage the knowledge and expertise that go into developing standards. It can also facilitate trade, improve competitiveness and contribute to protecting health, safety and security. These guidelines aim to align Canadian jurisdictions’ understanding of incorporation by reference as a regulatory tool and detail how this can support regulatory and policy goals.

Canadian flag in diamond shape with SCC logo

Flexible standards-based strategies and solutions

We work within the standardization network to find ways to leverage standardization to meet the needs of all its stakeholders. We offer a wide range of flexible standards-based strategies and solutions. This suite of deliverables apply to accredited and non-accredited processes, to better fit the changing marketplace. 

News articles

People sitting at a table reviewing paperwork

Standardization to play a key role in modernizing Canada’s regulatory system

train on track in front of mountains

New technical specification to address Enhanced Train Control interoperability

Man filling out paperwork at desk

Regulatory review to reduce burden - Round 1 & 2 update

Case studies

Digital credentials and digital trust services

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically accelerated the shift to digital services, which are faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more convenient than traditional service delivery. Unfortunately, these services are often vulnerable to fraud.

Harmonizing requirements for power engineers across Canada

Power Engineers operate and manage equipment that produces energy for use in domestic, commercial and industrial processes and facilities.  Currently Canadian jurisdictions determine equipment and supervision requirements differently. 

Supporting smoking cessation through standardization

Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death in Canada. SCC hosted a standardization workshop, supporting Health Canada to identify solutions to challenges in adopting a national standard for smoking cessation.

Providing reliable access to quality PPE during pandemics

The beginning of the COVID-1 pandemic brought a severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and there was no Canadian standard in place at that time to ensure its certification in this country. 

Taking a leading role in the cannabis industry

As the first OECD country to legalize recreational cannabis, Canada has been able to get ahead of the game by leading the development of international cannabis standards. 

Explore and get involved

Get involved in standards development

By participating in standardization and shaping the standards of tomorrow, you can become a global leader at the very forefront of your industry, while helping to advance the health, safety and economic well-being of all Canadians.

Professional woman looking at an iPad.

Find and buy standards

Browse our database to search for published National Standards of Canada and international standards. You can also search for Other Recognized Documents. Find out where to buy the standards you need.

Learn about accreditation

We offer a wide range of internationally recognized accreditation programs and training across many conformity assessment areas.

Level up your standardization knowledge

Our standardization courses will help deepen your knowledge and ability to successfully use standards, and better understand how standardization works.