International Trade and Canadian Business

SCC helps break down international trade barriers so Canadian businesses can compete successfully in the global economy.


As the leader of Canada’s standardization network, we work with Canadian companies, large and small, to help them get the most out of standardization so they can bring their innovative ideas and products to the world. We also advise the Government of Canada on standards and conformity assessment as they are used in international trade. This includes providing advice during the negotiation of Canada’s free trade agreements and implementing obligations in these agreements. 


How standards help businesses access global markets

International trade is more complex and competitive than ever before. Some estimates say that around 80% of world trade today is affected by standards. This means your business can face more stringent legal, technical and regulatory requirements than it did in the past.



Standards are the key to your success.

They can help you to:

In order for Canadian industry to gain market access, products, processes and services must be designed and certified to international standards. Harmonized standards make market access easier, particularly for SMEs and innovative companies, by reducing compliance cost and time to market. In order to help break down barriers to commerce, many international trade agreements require their signatories to make use of international standards in their technical regulations and to mutually recognize conformity assessment procedures.


For businesses that manufacture and export products, adhering to recognized standards can help ensure products can be sold in world markets and can shorten the business cycle between an initial concept and entry to global markets.


SCC’s work to support the Conformity Assessment Protocol of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will help open new markets for Canadian businesses. Learn more here

Standards save business time and money. Using standards—whether to design a specific product, manage and optimize production, or deliver a service—can help business reduce costs and improve efficiency because they have been developed by experts from around the world. Standards deliver internal business improvements, cost savings in regulatory compliance, and increased productivity.

Business can enhance performance and manage risk by adopting and conforming to standards. Certification to a standard proves that your product or service meets current national and international standards. Standards set out clear specifications and help mitigate legal risk to business when bringing a service, product, or process to market.


By adhering to standards, businesses can:

  • Improve quality and safety of products, services and/or systems
  • Demonstrate market accountability
  • Reduce costs and increase efficiencies
  • Enhance their business reputation
  • Increase consumer confidence by demonstrating compliance with health, safety, performance, and/or environmental expectations 

Canadian businesses get involved in international standards development as a way to assert their influence in the global marketplace and embed Canadian innovation, technology, products and services into the standards setting process internationally. By participating in international standardization, businesses can:

  • Be global leaders at the forefront of their industry
  • Increase knowledge by learning about the latest innovations and technologies
  • Influence technical content, ensuring that standards respond to industry needs
  • Sit at the table with leading experts in their sector
  • Gain a competitive advantage with the most up-to-date information on emerging trends and best practices.

Innovation may start with a creative “spark”, but it’s only truly successful when the new idea is developed and finds a market. The evolution of a great idea into a market-ready product, service, or method is the process of commercialization. And standards support commercialization by empowering innovation wherever it sparks.


Standards are a launching pad for innovation:

  • They help establish a common language for new concepts and technologies.
  • They define interfaces, compatibility requirements and uniform methods of measurement. 
  • They create the conditions that foster and sustain innovation by making it possible for new products and services to be sold in markets around the globe. 

Climate change has resulted in more extreme wind, fluctuating temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns which threaten the integrity of Canada’s infrastructure—putting our communities at risk. That is why SCC is working with governments and industry to adapt standards and codes to ensure our infrastructure is climate resilient and safe.

When we all use international standards, including in regulations, it helps businesses by reducing duplication and the number of different requirements businesses may face. International standards are developed through a process that is consensus-based and balances different interests at a global level. Standards and conformity assessment can be very beneficial for micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises to:

  • compete against larger companies

  • gain customers’ confidence 

  • improve efficiency and quality


Using international standards more and recognizing conformity assessment results between Canada and its trading partners helps to level the playing field and inspire confidence in products and services. 


Our role

SCC makes it easier for Canadian businesses to compete around the world. We do this by facilitating Canadian participation in the development of international standards, working with our trading partners to align our national standards, and putting in place mechanisms to recognize the results of accreditation and conformity assessment procedures.


We also build and strengthen Canada’s relationships with our counterparts in other countries and with regional and international standardization bodies.