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How we came into being: The Standards Council of Canada Act

October 3, 2020

How we came into being: The Standards Council of Canada Act

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A review of the history of our Act

In 1964, a review of standardization in Canada and on the international scene was conducted. The study identified a number of gaps in Canada’s approach to standardization, including coordination and long-term planning, support from industry and government, and Canadian involvement in international standardization. The government responded by establishing the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) through the Standards Council of Canada Act, which received Royal Assent in 1970.

The Act, SCC’s governing legislation, outlined a mandate to promote efficient and effective voluntary standardization in Canada, where standardization is not expressly provided by law. The federal government appointed a governing council, representatives from private and public sectors nation wide, to lead the strategic direction of SCC.

In 1996, Parliament passed major revisions to the Act following national consultations to recognize the growing role of standards in areas of concern to Canadians. Amendments were made to the mandate, structure and powers. The scope of SCC’s activities were expanded to cover the environment, information technology, natural resources and service sectors. Additionally, the structure revisions included a smaller governing council and the creation of a new Provincial-Territorial Advisory Committee (PTAC) and a Standards Development Organizations Advisory Committee (SDOAC). The updates also enabled SCC to provide advice on standards related aspects of trade agreements, to enter arrangements with foreign organizations involved in voluntary standardization, and to make recommendations on standard-related matters to the Minister of Industry.

Today, SCC still reports to Parliament through the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. Fifty years on, SCC continues to reference the Act as its north star and proudly serves as Canada’s voice on standards and accreditation.