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Standardization to play a key role in the modernization of Canada’s regulatory system

The Federal Government has unveiled the International Standards Regulatory Review Roadmap , a suite of initiatives that will position Canada as a global leader in the use of international standards in regulation. The initiatives were developed under the second round of Regulatory Reviews led by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Standards are associated with increased labour market productivity and economic growth. The implementation of the Roadmap will help Canada’s regulatory system leverage standards that apply across national borders, drive business efficiency, and support Canadian industry.

The Standards Council of Canada applauds the Federal Government for recognizing the value of international standards to bolster innovation, drive business efficiency, and facilitate international trade,” says Chantal Guay, CEO of SCC. We are committed to working with our vast network of partners to advance the use of international standards as a policy and regulatory tool and establish Canada as a leader in using standards in regulations.”  

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is directly engaged in five initiatives that will help Canadian industries stay competitive. The initiatives have a critical role to play in helping Canada’s economy build back better following the COVID-19 pandemic as the increasing demand for international cooperation and trade depend heavily on the consensus built through international standards. As Canada’s voice in international standards development, SCC is well-positioned to ensure successful outcomes for Canada.

There are five SCC-led initiatives in the International Standards Roadmap:

1. Developing a national standards strategy

SCC is developing a new national standards strategy to ensure the standardization system is well positioned to assist in the economic recovery post-pandemic and is responsive to emerging trends and new technologies. The strategy will help position Canada as a leader in the development of national and international standards. It will lay out the principles for effective national and international standards development and ensure that participation in international standardization is closely aligned with Canadian interests. 

2. Establishing an artificial intelligence standardization collaborative

SCC, with support from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), will create a cross-sector group of artificial intelligence developers, users, researchers, and regulators to identify needed standards and conformity assessment tools in support of Canadian artificial intelligence interests and priorities. The group will collaborate on the development of standardization strategies that establish clear, internationally aligned requirements and recommendations for artificial intelligence in Canada.

3. Developing an accredited conformity assessment program for AI 

SCC, in partnership with ISED, will develop an accreditation program and coordinate the development of conformity assessment programs for artificial intelligence. This project will drive consistency in the artificial intelligence industry by providing internationally aligned quality benchmarks for developers and users. As part of the first phase, Canada is taking a leadership role and proposed the development of the first international conformity assessment standard: ISO/IEC 42001.

4. Supporting the accessibility of standards incorporated by reference in federal regulations 

SCC will engage relevant stakeholders in Canada’s standardization network to determine ways to support the accessibility of standards incorporated by reference in federal regulations. The initiative will also explore ways to further protect the copyright of standards development organizations. This work aims to demonstrate the value of standards when used as a regulatory tool. 

5. Designing a digital tool to provide regulators with up-to-date information on references to standards in federal regulations 

SCC will design a digital tool intended to give regulators tailored information about the status of references to standards in regulations. This would help regulators monitor references to standards in federal regulations. The tool would also support the use of up-to-date standards, helping avoid outdated references in regulations that can result in technical barriers to trade. 

Two other Regulatory Review Roadmaps were also unveiled today: Digitalization and Technology Neutral Regulations and Clean Technology. While all three Roadmaps touch on standards, the International Standards Roadmap directly highlights the importance and value of international standards in the Federal regulatory modernization agenda. This has created an unprecedented opportunity for SCC to collaborate with Federal regulators and leverage the value of the standardization system.   

About the Standards Council of Canada

Established in 1970 as a federal Crown corporation, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is Canada’s voice on standards and accreditation on the national and international stage. SCC works closely with a vast network of partners to promote the development of effective and efficient standards that protect the health, safety and well-being of Canadians while helping businesses prosper. As Canada’s leading accreditation organization, SCC creates market confidence at home and abroad by ensuring that conformity assessment bodies meet the highest national and international standards. SCC advances Canada’s interest on the international scene as a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) by connecting thousands of people to global networks and resources, opening a world of possibilities for Canadians and businesses.