In Canada, the accreditation of calibration laboratories is the shared responsibility of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Calibration Laboratory Assessment Service (CLAS) and an accreditation body—either the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) or the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). NRC CLAS provides quality system and technical assessment services and certification of specific measurement capabilities of calibration laboratories in support of the Canadian National Measurement System.
Eligibility for CLAS certification is required for CALA or SCC accreditation of calibration laboratories, certification is not granted independently of accreditation. The accreditation body grants accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 for qualified laboratories. The Agreement of Cooperation between the NRC and the accreditation body contains a detailed description of shared responsibilities in the accreditation of calibration laboratories.
CLAS maintains a directory of accredited calibration laboratories to ensure clients across Canada have access to calibration services with certified traceability to national and international measurement standards. Calibration laboratories certified by CLAS offer measurements traceable to the International System of Units (SI). This traceability provides the basis for fair trade, increased global market acceptance of test reports and products, enhanced product quality, and demonstration of conformance to such international quality standards as ISO 9000 series.
In its role as Canada's national measurement standards laboratory, the NRC maintains close ties with the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) and a number of other international organizations such as the Inter-american Metrology System (SIM), the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), and the InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC), as well as the national laboratories of other industrialized countries. These international interactions ensure that Canada's laboratory accreditation system is compatible with the accreditation systems of Canada's major trading partners.
CLAS-certified laboratories may use the CLAS trademark provided they sign the trademark license agreement for its use.
As per the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011, CLAS and all accreditation bodies are required to conduct an analysis of related bodies. This analysis is available upon request.
CLAS ensures that all information from customers and from peer accreditation bodies remains confidential and that the assessment process is objective.
The benefits of CLAS certification
Formal recognition of capability by a third party using internationally-recognized accreditation criteria and procedures has many advantages.
Benefits to the accredited laboratory:
- Potential for increased business through greater client confidence
- Savings of time and money by reducing redundant assessments and audits
- Increased visibility through certification of measurement traceability and uncertainty by an organization with recognized international stature
- Opportunity to benefit from direct interaction with NRC scientists
- Transfer of measurement technologies from the national laboratory
Benefits to clients of the accredited laboratory:
- Easily identifiable sources of competent calibration services in the readily available directory of accredited calibration laboratories
- Potential for increased market acceptance of products due to the national and international recognition of calibration reports
- Reduced assessment costs due to increased confidence in calibration report