Updates - Accreditation Program
Transitioning to the ISO/IEC 17025 Standard
Accreditation is based on demonstrated conformance to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard - General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories. The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) has been approved and the standard is expected to be published by late November 2017.
In order to establish a harmonized approach for the transition of accredited laboratories in Canada, CALA is collaborating with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) and with the National Research Council Calibration Laboratory Assessment Services (NRC-CLAS). The group has come to a consensus on some key issues as outlined below.
The following timelines have been proposed:
● Laboratories can be assessed to the revised version of ISO/IEC 17025 one (1) month after publication of the revised standard, subject to assessor availability.
● Laboratories assessed 8 to 12 months after the publication date of the revised standard will have to be assessed to the revised standard. At that time, assessments will no longer be conducted to the 2005 version of the standard. The main reason for this deadline is that all accredited laboratories must be accredited to the revised version three (3) years after the publication date, and with reassessments done every two (2) years, this plan should enable laboratories to demonstrate conformance without needing to undergo any special assessments to confirm successful transition. We are encouraging comments and feedback on this from all stakeholders as soon as possible so we can confirm the official timelines.
While this 3-year transition phase may appear long, keep in mind that if a reassessment normally occurs in the autumn of an “even” year (2018, 2020, etc…), there are implications if the transition is left too late. Laboratories will likely have to be assessed to the revised version of the standard by August 2020 in order to have any corrective actions reviewed and approved by November – December 2020.
It is the responsibility of the laboratory to conform to the new standard by this deadline. There is a risk to the laboratory's accreditation status if planning and implementation is left too late.
Supporting Resources for the Transition to ISO/IEC 17025
CALA will endeavor to assist laboratories throughout the transition. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document has been produced and is included in this newsletter. These FAQs will be updated regularly with additional questions and comments received from customers, assessors and stakeholders. It will remain active and available during the 3-year transition period. You can find the first version of the FAQ through this link, but we encourage you to check back frequently for updates.
CALA Training is offering various courses and webinars to support the transition. Please see the training section of this newsletter for course details and dates.