REC-AB — Procedure for the Recognition of Accreditation Bodies for Non-MRA Countries

Posted on March 15, 2018

Issue 1
March 2018


This document describes the criteria and procedure for recognition of accreditation bodies by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in order for the accreditation bodies to accredit testing laboratories and perform accreditation services in countries where Canada has no Mutual Recognition Agreement/Arrangements (MRA) on Conformity Assessment.

Interested parties are requested to provide their comments within 90 days of the date of publication of this notice using the online General Inquiry form. Comments and suggestions for improving this procedure may be submitted online using the Standard Change Request form.

Copies of this document are available electronically on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

Issued under the authority
of the Minister of Innovation, Science and
Economic Development

Martin Proulx
Director General
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch


1.  Purpose

This document describes the criteria and procedure for the recognition of accreditation bodies (AB) by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to perform accreditation of testing laboratories to ISO/EIC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories in non-Mutual Recognition Agreement/Arrangements (MRA) countries.

2.  Definitions

Accreditation: a procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a body or person is competent to carry out specific tasks.

Accreditation body (AB): an authoritative body that performs accreditation to conformity assessment bodies by assessing them against international voluntary standards.

Bureau: ISED's Certification and Engineering Bureau (CEB).

Certification: an attestation by a recognized certification body or the Bureau that a product conforms to specified ISED requirements.

Certification body (CB): a recognized independent organization that conducts certification of radiocommunication equipment to Canadian regulatory requirements.

Conformity assessment body (CAB): a body engaged in the performance of procedures for determining whether the relevant requirements in technical regulations or standards are fulfilled.

Testing laboratory: responsible to determine the applicable test procedures and to properly test to those requirements.

3.  Related documents

The following documents as well as other information can be found on ISED's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

DES-LAB — Procedure for Designation and Recognition of Canadian Testing Laboratories

REC-LAB — Procedure for the Recognition of Foreign Testing Laboratories

4.  Introduction

ISED administers the equipment authorization program under authority delegated to it by the Minister. This program is one of the principal ways ISED ensures that telecommunication, radiocommunication and digital devices used in Canada operate effectively without causing harmful interference and otherwise comply with ISED's technical requirements. All telecommunication, radiocommunication and digital devices subject to equipment authorization must comply with ISED's technical requirements prior to its manufacturing, distribution, lease, offer for sale, sell or import.

ISED's radiocommunications equipment regulatory process requires that equipment be authorized in accordance with one of three schemes:

  1. Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (sDoC)
  2. Declaration of Conformity (DoC)
  3. Certification

The specific provisions of the three schemes apply to various types of devices based on their relative likelihood of causing harmful interference, human exposure to radio frequency, protection to the network and the significance of the effects of such interference from the particular device at issue.

To be ISED-recognized, a laboratory must first be accredited by an ISED-recognized accreditation bodyFootnote 1 as meeting applicable international standards and comply with REC-LAB requirements. This document describes the procedures for the recognition of such accreditation bodies to perform accreditation services in non-MRA countries.

5.  Accreditation body recognition procedure for non-MRA countries

The basic criteria that ISED will use to determine the acceptability of new accreditation bodies in non-MRA countries is specified in this procedure. Under this procedure, an applicant must submit information that demonstrates how it satisfies the requirements of each of the four elements listed below. To ensure the continued integrity of the accreditation program, ISED will periodically review the accreditation process and maintain close coordination with each of the organizations that it has recognized to perform accreditations.

The following procedure will be used by an accreditation body seeking to be recognized by ISED as an accreditation body.

  1. Submit request. An applicant must submit a written request for such recognition to ISED and provide the information described below.
  2. General information. The accreditation body provides general information about its organization, including:
    1. contact information
    2. a general description of the organization
    3. description of the scope of work for which it is seeking recognition
    4. the specific country in which the accreditation body is seeking to perform laboratory accreditations for ISED's technical requirements
    5. evidence that the accreditation body is authorized by the government in each country it plans to accredit testing laboratories, to test to the ISED requirements, to operate and perform accreditation services
    6. explain legal constraints, if any, with regards to the accrediting body's authorization to operate in the specific country in which it plans to perform accreditations (i.e. has the required licenses and approvals necessary to operate a business)
    7. evidence of ability to perform assessments in each country it plans to accredit testing laboratories. The accreditation body must describe the process it will use to address laboratory performance issues, including the withdrawal or suspension of the accreditation of a testing laboratory
    8. description of the process the accreditation body will use to designate testing laboratories
  3. Technical qualifications. In order to demonstrate its credentials and qualifications to perform accreditation of laboratories to ISED requirements, an applicant shall provide, at a minimum, evidence of:
    1. Successful completion of an ISO/IEC 17011:2017 or ISO/IEC 17011:2004 (until November 30, 2020), Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies peer review, such as being a signatory to an accreditation agreement that is acceptable to ISED.Footnote 2 The accreditation body must describe the procedures it has in place to ensure the impartiality and objectivity of its activities as required by section 4.3 of ISO/IEC 17011:2004 (for example, the accreditation body shall not offer or provide conformity assessment services that CABs perform, consultancy activities, or any other service that would affect its impartiality).
    2. Expertise and capability to accredit electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), of radio testing laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 or ISO/IEC 17025:2005 (until November 30, 2020), General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
    3. Accreditation personnel/assessors with specific technical experience to ISED's technical requirements.
  4. Decision. ISED will make a determination of recognition based on the information provided in support of an application. Upon meeting the above requirements, ISED will recognize and maintain a list of recognized accreditation bodies on its webpage.

6.  Disclosure of information

ISED will not disclose the application status for recognition to any third party until the recognition process has been completed.

7.  Disclaimer

The recognition of an accreditation body by ISED does not imply or otherwise suggest approval of a testing laboratory or that the recognized accreditation body is an agent or representative of ISED.

ISED does not accept any responsibility for the effects or consequences of services provided by the recognized accreditation body for users of such services.

8.  Retaining recognition

During operation as a recognized accreditation body, the accreditation body shall continue to meet the requirements of this document and shall maintain its accreditation status. The accreditation body shall provide evidence of its signatory status to an accreditation agreement that is acceptable to ISED and its scope of recognition upon request by ISED. This evidence can consist of signatory listings on accreditation cooperation websites.

The accreditation body will be recognized for a period of four (4) years after which time renewal of recognition using this document must be sought.

Accreditation bodies shall not advertise their recognition status that is outside of the scope of their recognition.

9.  Suspension or withdrawal of recognition

The accreditation body is required to take immediate corrective action to ISED's satisfaction, if required. Where it is found after a review that a recognized accreditation body does not comply with the requirements of this procedure, the recognition may be withdrawn.

An accreditation body whose recognition has been suspended or withdrawn will be removed from the list of recognized accreditation bodies on the ISED website.

An accreditation body whose recognition has been suspended or withdrawn shall stop advertising its recognition. ISED will review all recognized laboratories that have been accredited by the AB. Such laboratories will remain recognized during this review process or until their recognition expires.

An accreditation body whose recognition has been suspended or withdrawn may reapply for recognition once the causes leading to the suspension or withdrawal have been eliminated to ISED's satisfaction.