Standards and certifications for products and services are an absolute essential for the safety, social good and sustainability of consumers not only in Canada, but in all countries of the world.
In this respect, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) enjoys leadership status and functions as the apex body in Canada that is responsible for standards research, development, education, and advocacy. It operates on a non-profit basis with a mission to enhance the lives of Canadians. Over the years it has built standards that have led to improvements in safety, health, environment, and economic efficiency.
Standards and certifications for businesses in Canada:
In Canada, whether you are an enterprise, or running a small business, you are covered under standards established by CSA. The way it works is that while some standards are mandatory and have to be followed under all circumstances, there are some which serve as additional requirements and finally there are some that are good-to-have, but not a must.
As a business, the standards that will apply to you, will depend upon the industry in which you operate, the processes you follow, and the products and services that you sell. Although, so far no direct correlation has been established between business insurance Canada and adherence to standards and certifications, it is widely believed that there is an interplay between the two.
Typical standards that apply to common industries:
Below are some typical standards that apply to common industries:
Food safety specifications
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Is a regulatory agency that safeguards and issues certificates for food, plants, and animals and enhances the health and well-being of Canadians and their environment and economy.
Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)
This is a new regulation that pertains to licensing, traceability and preventative controls for businesses that are either involved in importing or preparing food items that cross international, provincial or territorial borders.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
This standard offers general guidelines across all food industries, especially federally registered meat, poultry and fish establishments in which it is mandatory. Among others, it offers a risk-based system for managing food safety.
Safe Quality Food Standard Certification (SQF)
This certification is managed by the SQF Institute with an aim to control the risks associated with food safety. It involves a third party audit of the food safety management system that has been implemented at a business.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
This certification confirms that your business is compliant with GMP standards developed by Health Canada. Several organizations have the authority to issue such a certificate.
Apart from the above there are several standards in Canada that apply to general manufacturing.
Standards that apply to general manufacturing
In Canada, it is the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) that provides accreditation to industry certification bodies, including those in specific manufacturing industries. Beyond this additional certifications are also available that include:
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
This organization offers standards of accreditation that cover products, services and systems that seek to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. This is not a mandatory standard, but businesses that are ISO compliant, qualify for government assistance.
Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC)
This is an independent organization that inspects and certifies product safety. It covers a comprehensive range of home and business products for safety and SCC compliance.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
This certification is recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). It covers standards in 57 areas which are published in both print and electronic form and certifies the safety, performance and product testing of products. It comprises representatives from industry, government, and consumer groups.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
The NFPA publishes codes and standards that are designed to minimize the effect of fire and other risks on your home or business premises. Currently there are more than 300 codes and standards that are freely accessible to you.
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
This organization operates in cooperation with the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) and provides voluntary consensus technical standards and certifications for materials, products, systems, processes and devices.
Electrical Testing Lab (ETL), CSA or ULC certification marks
These standards pertain to electrical products. Additionally, all electrical products must also meet the standards set by individual provinces and territories in which they are distributed and sold.
Depending upon what product or service you are selling, or the manufacturing process that it involves, or the industry in which you operate, certain additional certifications may be required for your business. To know more about them, it is advisable to refer to the Standards Council of Canada along with the relevant trade and industry associations.
As Canada is a big country with many provinces, certain rules and regulations are applicable in each province. As a business, you might be required to maintain specific standards in the areas of fire safety, plumbing, building and environmental impact as well. For this, you have to adhere to the specialized provincial certification authorities, such as the Technical Standards and Safety Authority that providefuel safety certification in Ontario.
Lowering business insurance Canada cost by adhering to standards
To a certain extent you can influence your insurer to lower your business insurance premium by adhering your business and its processes with certain standards and certifications that are applicable to your industry. The reason for this is that a business that is compliant to standards has a lower risk profile than a business that is not compliant to standards.
If your business is following standards, then it goes without saying, that you have covered the minimum requirement that was mentioned by your respective trade association and you are not in default or a state of non-compliance.
This is important because non-compliant businesses face the risk of incidents related to damage and loss and so their profile is riskier and therefore business insurance Canada costs are higher for such businesses.
However, before arriving at a conclusion, it is best to consult a professional business insurance Canada broker who can give impartial and sound advice.