One of the most important outcomes of the tripartite MoU is that a single reassessment – instead of three – is accepted by all three bodies. The pooling of resources helps introduce significant reductions in cost, time and complexity for the reassessment of CBs (Certification Bodies) and TLs (Testing Laboratories) that are accredited by IAF and ILAC Member ABs (Accreditation Bodies).
Recognizing the importance and reach of this agreement, SCC (Standards Council of Canada) announced in February 2012 that, following discussions with the IEC and other ABs, it would accept, under its Product Certification Body Accreditation programme, the use of IECEE – the IEC System for Conformity testing and Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components – CBTLs (CB Scheme Testing Laboratories) for product testing, in compliance with CAN-P-1500Mclause 4.3.2. The document, entitled Additional requirements for accreditation of certification bodies, outlines unique Canadian requirements for third-party product CBs accredited by the SCC.
As national economies become global, it is essential that countries work together to facilitate international trade. The IECEE CB Scheme provides a conduit for the mutual acceptance of test reports, among participating CBs and TLs, for a wide range of electrotechnical products.
And while SCC is a signatory to several agreements in the field of accreditation and certification, the recognition of CBTLs introduces a truly international dimension, a significant factor for an organization that deals not only with standardization and conformity assessment but is also responsible for intergovernmental affairs and trade.
The SCC decision brings further proof, if need be, of the historic value of this cooperation agreement.
Global value of IECEE
It also highlights the ever growing importance and recognition of IECEE in the conformity assessment community worldwide. As national economies become global, it is essential that countries work together to facilitate international trade.
About the MoU
This type of cooperative agreement is unprecedented in the CA (conformity assessment) world and builds on years of collaboration between the IEC and its CA Systems, ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation)and IAF (International Accreditation Forum). It has a direct and positive impact on the CBs (Certification Bodies) and TLs (Testing Laboratories) that are accredited by ILAC and IAF members’ ABs (Accreditation Bodies) and operate as registered members of the relevant IEC CA Systems.
The programme put in place by the three bodies is now operational and the results of its implementation to date can be viewed on a dedicated website.
Common Steering Committee
A common Steering Committee was created and will be responsible for developing cooperation strategies, providing support and dealing with project issues and deliverables. The Committee is chaired by IECEE – the IEC System for Conformity testing and Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components – Executive Secretary Pierre de Ruvo.
Talking the same language
Another objective set out by the MoU is to facilitate a coordinated application of ISO/IEC standards and guidance documents for the purpose of assessment of certification bodies and testing laboratories operating in the IEC CA Systems. This includes a common understanding of the technical issues and the harmonization of the respective assessment procedures.
Provisions are also made for joint training and workshops for lead assessors, and when possible, joint work on the development of harmonized procedures and policies.