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Q&A: Colin Clark, President of the Canadian National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission

December 1, 2020

Q&A: Colin Clark, President of the Canadian National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission

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The Canadian National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (CANC/IEC) is the governance and management body for Canada’s participation at the IEC. As Canada’s representative for standards on the world stage, SCC sponsors Canada’s membership within IEC. SCC also serves as the CANC/IEC’s Secretariat. CANC/IEC’s mission is to advance standardization in the electrotechnical sector while championing Canada’s interests on the world stage. SCC and CANC/IEC work closely together and align their work to bring forward Canada’s position on standardization issues at the global level. This includes Canada’s significant efforts to advance diversity across the IEC community.

Colin Clark is the President of CANC/IEC and sits on the IEC Council. He is also the acting Chair of SCC’s Governing Council. Clark is the Chief Technical Officer of Brookfield Renewable. His illustrious career spans 40 years in electro power generation, transmission and distribution.

We talked with Colin about the work of CANC/IEC and how it advances Canada on the world stage.

What are CANC/IEC’s key contributions towards advancing Canadian priorities?

CANC/IEC is responsible for providing strategic advice on Canada’s participation in IEC to safeguard Canadian interests and identify priorities and emerging issues in the electrotechnical sector. Through CANC/IEC, Canadian stakeholders have an opportunity to provide strategic advice on standardization issues that impact the electrotechnical field and the development of the standardization direction for the electrotechnical sector nationally, regionally and international.

The CANC/IEC membership includes Canadian electrotechnical stakeholders represented by industry leaders, electrotechnical regulators, young professionals, industry associations, consortia, and standards development organizations representing the Canadian electrotechnical sector.


To ensure that the input represents Canadian interests, CANC/IEC solicits insight from its constituencies on standardization issues/interests to identify emerging standardization issues, topics, needs/gaps, or innovations occurring in electrotechnology areas to assess opportunities for new standardization solutions.

In our June 2020 meeting, CANC/IEC Council met to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the electrotechnical sector and discussed standardization solutions that can support Canada in the recovery process. The outcomes of this meeting will provide a series of recommendations for SCC to consider for standardization priorities that support the recovery efforts in the electrotechnical sector.


How does having Canadian representation in IEC’s governance committees benefit Canadian industry?

SCC has made a concerted, strategic effort to consolidate Canada’s reputation as a trusted advisor and influencer in the international standardization world. In our increasingly globalized world, it is more critical than ever for Canada to have leadership positions at the international standardization tables to ensure the Canadian voice is represented.

Canada has increased its participation in IEC technical and governance activities in the past three years, and CANC/IEC now holds leadership positions in all elected governance committees of IEC, which demonstrates the leadership that Canada has on the international stage.


It is important to recognize that standards are not neutral. They reflect the views of those who invest time and expertise in the development process. Participation in standards development can help Canadian industry in entering the global markets and support the development of new products by advancing efficiencies and reducing costs.

Studies continue to demonstrate a clear link between standardization, labour productivity and economic growth. Developing and using standards help fuel a more competitive and innovative Canadian economy. They help businesses thrive and compete, keep Canadians safe, and support clean growth and infrastructure. If we want the international standards being developed to be in our best interests, we must have Canadian experts speaking on our behalf.

Canadian leadership within IEC’s governance structures allows Canada to influence governance and align the international standardization work to Canadian industry’s strategic priorities.