Handbook for the Airport Screening Services Pre-Qualification Program

Published September 29, 2015 by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)

  1. Phase 1: Application
  2. Phase 2: Submission of Application
  3. Phase 3: Status Decision
  4. Phase 3b: Airport Screening Services Agreement Pre-Qualification Decision
  5. Phase 4: Maintenance of Qualification
  6. De-listing, Appeals and Re-application
  7. Complaints
  8. Use of the Canadian General Standards Board Name and Status Number

Purpose

The Airport Screening Services Agreement (“ASSA”) Pre-Qualification Program (the “ASSA Pre-Qualification Program”) sets the minimum eligibility requirements for screening contractor organizations (“Applicant”) to provide screening services in CATSA designated airports.

Scope

This program applies to any organization wishing to be considered to provide airport screening services:

  • for a long-term ASSA, or
  • on a contingency basis through the CATSA Screening Services Contingency Program (“SSCP”).

Existing ASSA providers are automatically pre-qualified and are not required to complete the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program.

Outline

In this handbook, Applicants will find information about The ASSA Pre-Qualification Program, including application requirements, processes and forms.

CATSA has engaged the Canadian General Standards Board (“CGSB”), an accredited body with the Standards Council of Canada, to assess Applicants against the CATSA Screening Contractor Management System Standard (the “Standard”) for CATSA though the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program.

To obtain a copy of the Standard, please refer to the CATSA Web site or the CGSB Web site.

Maintenance assessments will be conducted by CGSB on a periodic basis and if an Applicant no longer meets the eligibility requirements, it will be provided with an opportunity to implement corrective actions.

Briefly, Applicants gain admission to the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program by demonstrating that:

  • their documented management system meets the requirements of the Standard, and
  • they comply with their own stated management system.

To achieve this level of confidence, the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program has four phases:

  • Phase 1: Application
  • Phase 2: Management System Documentation Review
  • Phase 3: The ASSA Pre-Qualification Program Decision
  • Phase 4: Maintenance of Status

These phases are described in more detail on the following pages.  For additional information on the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program, as well as CGSB policies governing this program, refer to the most recent edition of the CGSB Policy Manual for the Conformity Assessment Division, and the Standard.

The following table provides an overview of the steps required to participate in the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program and the SSCP.

Table 1 – Pre-Qualification Phases

Phase 1: Application

Step 1

  • Action: Applicant obtains and completes application materials.

Step 2

  • Action: Applicant submits application forms to the CGSB.

Step 3

  • Action: The CGSB reviews Application forms.

Phase 2: Management System Documentation Review

Step 4

  • Action: Applicant submits Management System Manual.

Step 5

  • Action: Applicant submits Management System Manual.

Phase 3: Status Decision

Step 6

  • Action: The CGSB provides Applicant with Assessment Report and Correction Action Record (CAR), where applicable.

Step 7

  • Action: Applicant completes CAR and submits supporting documentation, where applicable

Step 8

  • Action: The CGSB reviews CAR.

Step 9

  • Action: CGSB provides Applicant with a Status Letter.

Phase 4: Annual Maintenance of Status

Step 10

  • Action: Applicant submits Management System Manual.

Step 11

  • Action: The CGSB reviews Management System Manual.

Step 12

  • Action: The CGSB issues maintenance report to Applicant and conducts any CAR follow-ups, which may include an on-site assessment if warranted.

Step 13

  • Action: The CGSB notifies Applicant of status

Phase 1: Application

Step 1: Obtain Application and Complete Materials

Applicants wishing to participate in the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program must submit the following to CGSB:

  • Applicant Profile Form
  • Application Form
  • Company certificate, corporate registration or business registration

Application Profile Form - Form CAT2 captures all necessary information including the locations/facilities to be qualified.

Application Form - Form CAT1, when signed by a senior officer of the Applicant’s organization, grants the CGSB the authority to assess the applicant's management system.

In executing and submitting the application form, the Applicant agrees to:

  • the terms and conditions of the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program;
  • maintain a system of internal review; and
  • document, implement and maintain its management system.

Company Certificate, Corporate Registration or Business Registration - A copy of the certificate of incorporation, business registration or other documents that confirm the applicant's legal status.

Step 2: Submission of Application

By completing and signing the application documents the Applicant acknowledges having read and understood the conditions of the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program and agrees to follow the processes in relation to any activity connected with the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program.

Submission – The Applicant submits the application profile form, application form and company certificate, corporate registration or business registration to:

  • Certification Services
    Conformity Assessment Division
    Canadian General Standards Board
    Gatineau, Canada
    K1A 1G5

Step 3: Application Review

The CGSB reviews the Applicant’s application. If, in the opinion of the CGSB, the documentation submitted does not confirm the legal status of the applicant, the CGSB reserves the right to require the submission of any necessary additional documentation.

A Conformity Assessment Specialist / Conformity Assessment Officer (“CAS/CAO”) is assigned and will be the Applicant's main point of contact with the CGSB. The CAS/CAO reviews the application and notifies the Applicant of acceptance or rejection in writing. If an application is rejected, Applicants can appeal the CGSB’s decision. The Applicant also has the right to view their records kept by the CGSB.

All documents and information submitted by the Applicant are treated in strict confidence and will only be released to parties outside of CATSA and the CGSB with the Applicant’s consent.

Phase 2: Management System Documentation Review

Following completion of Phase 1, The CAS/CAO reviews the application, resolves any differences or misunderstandings, and selects a Lead Auditor.

Step 4: Submission of Management System Manual

Submission of management system documentation - The Applicant shall submit documentation that identifies the processes used to meet the requirements of the CATSA Screening Contractor Management System Standard (“Standard”). The documentation must be accompanied by a completed Standard's Checklist, which maps the Applicant's documentation to the Standard's criteria.

Step 5: Management System Manual Review

Document review - The Lead Auditor reviews the Applicant’s documentation against the requirements of the Standard and issues an Assessment Report. The applicant must address all areas of the report where the requirements were not satisfied.

Phase 3: Status Decision

Step 6: Assessment Report

Assessment Report - The Lead Auditor then prepares an assessment. The report contains at least the following:

  • General information on the client and the assessment
  • Scope and purpose of the assessment
  • Overview including a brief description of the client, its products, and any other pertinent information
  • Summary of the findings and any general comments
  • Status recommendation

Assessment Report Review - Once the Lead Auditor completes preparing the assessment report, it will include one of the following recommendations:

  • Standard criteria met
  • Standard criteria met after response to Corrective Action Request(s) (CAR) are acceptable to the CGSB Assessment Team
  • Complete re-assessment (in this case CARs are not issued; rather, a report is issued recommending a complete re-assessment at a future date.)

Next, the CGSB reviews the Lead Auditor's recommendation and pertinent technical information about the Applicant's system. A decision is made to accept or deny the recommendation, or to ask that additional information be provided. If non-conformities are identified during the assessment, the applicant must take satisfactory corrective action before the CGSB recommends that the Manager of Conformity Assessment of the CGSB prepare a status decision.

Provide Assessment Report - the CGSB issues an assessment report to the Applicant along with any Corrective Action Reports (“CARs”) if any non-conformities were identified.  If CARs are issued, the applicant must provide CGSB with evidence the non-conformity has been addressed.

Step 7: Applicant completes CAR and submits supporting documentation, where applicable

Applicant submits CAR(s) once Applicants have completed the require improvements to conform with the standard, they will submit the CAR and all supporting documentation to CGSB for review and approval.

Step 8: CGSB Reviews CAR(s)

CGSB reviews the CARs and supporting documentation to ensure the non-conformity has been addressed.  CGSB will notify the applicant of the review and provide feedback. If acceptable, the Applicant moves to the next phase.

Phase 3b: Airport Screening Services Agreement Pre-Qualification Decision

Step 9: Status Letter

Letter - Applicants are considered to have met the Standard’s criteria only when they have received a signed letter from the Manager of the Conformity Assessment Division of the CGSB.

Legal Agreement - Applicants who receive a signed letter are required to enter into a legal agreement with the CGSB. This legal agreement provides the Applicant with a unique identification number. Legal agreements are renewable every three years if program requirements continue to be met.

Certificate - A certificate is issued to the successful Applicants following the signing of the legal agreement. The certificate shows the Applicant's name, the address of the qualified facility, and the scope of the certificate. The certificate is valid for three years. A new certificate is issued upon satisfactory completion of re-assessment.

Qualified Organizations - An up-to-date list of organizations able to participate in ASSA RFPs and SSCP can be viewed on the Airport Screening Service Agreement - Pre-Qualified Companies page.

Phase 4: Maintenance of Qualification

Applicants with a signed letter will be assessed yearly to maintain their qualification in The ASSA Pre-Qualification Program.

Management System Changes - Applicants must promptly notify the CGSB, in writing, of any intended changes to their management system. These include changes to policy and procedures, organization, location, or any other change affecting conformity to the Standard. Before approving a change, the CGSB may require a site visit or a re-assessment.

CGSB Program Changes - The CGSB will notify Applicants, within a reasonable time, of any changes it intends to make to program requirements. Applicants' views will be considered before the CGSB makes decisions on the precise form and effective date of proposed changes to the program.

Step 10: Submission of Management System Manual

Submission of management system documentation - The Applicant shall submit documentation that identifies the processes used to meet the requirements of the Standard. The documentation must be accompanied by a completed Standard's Checklist, which maps the Applicant's documentation to the Standard's criteria.

Step 11: Management System Manual Review

Document review - The Lead Auditor reviews the Applicant’s documentation against the requirements of the Standard.

Maintenance Assessments

Maintenance Assessments - The CGSB conducts maintenance assessments at least once a year, usually during the anniversary month of the initial assessment. The maintenance assessments will be assigned, planned and executed in a manner similar to that for the initial document review. The maintenance assessment shall include, but not be limited to, a review of:

  • The current version of the Applicant's management system manual including any changes;
  • The results of previous internal and external audits and any corrective actions, if applicable;
  • The results of previous management reviews.

The CGSB reserves the right to verify information by requesting further documents or by conducting telephone interviews or on-site assessment, at its discretion. Should an on-site visit be conducted, the CGSB shall provide the Applicant with written notice and justification of such action.

Upon completion of the maintenance assessment, a report is issued that meets the same criteria as for the report mentioned in Phase 3.

To remain in the ASSA Pre-Qualification Program, the Applicant continues to agree to:

  • abide by the program requirements;
  • discharge to the satisfaction of the CGSB any non-conformities that arise. These include non-conformities identified, and misuse of logos and trademarks, as specified in the Legal agreement.

Maintenance Letter - Applicants are considered to have met the Standard’s criteria only when they have received a signed letter from the Manager of the Conformity Assessment Division of the CGSB.

De-Listing, Appeals and Re-Application

If a major non-compliance occurs, or a series of faults are identified, the qualified Applicant is given the opportunity to provide an explanation and voluntarily take corrective action within a specified time period.

In the event of repeated problems with the performance of an Applicant's management system, complaints from users, or other evidence that indicates a lack of performance within the facility, the CGSB may, at its discretion, decide to:

  • audit more frequently;
  • return to the facility to verify the effectiveness of the corrective action, if previous on-site was required;
  • suspend or de-list the registrant.

Applicants that fail to demonstrate their ability or willingness to meet the program requirements within a specified time period will be suspended or de-listed. CATSA will be notified of all potential changes and/or changes to an Applicant's status.

Any decision by the CGSB against the qualified Applicant may be appealed (CGSB Procedure CAD OP - 001 Appeal) to the Team Leader, Certification Services (“CS”) (first level), Manager, CAD (second level), Director, and CGSB (third level); ultimately, all participating Applicants have a right of final appeal of the decision to the CATSA committee (fourth level). The appellant must submit arguments and evidence in writing within 30 days of notification of the decision in question. Additional details on the appeal process will be provided upon request.

Applicants that wish to re-apply to the program following de-listing must repeat the entire listing process.

Complaints

The CGSB has a mechanism for handling complaints relating compliance to the Standard by Applicants.

The CGSB will, upon written notice, investigate the complaint in accordance with its formal procedures. The Applicant may be asked to provide information, records and other pertinent data. The Applicant has the right to provide evidence that refutes the complaint. To resolve the dispute, the CGSB may require an on-site assessment. If the Applicant fails to comply with those requests or to correct the problem, or if the complaint is upheld, the Applicant may be suspended or de-listed from the program.

Generally, the Applicant will have the opportunity to take corrective action before the CGSB suspends or de-lists the facility, or takes other action.

If the Applicant is found to be at fault, it will pay any costs associated with the complaint (e.g. cost of additional audits, program management time, etc.). If the Applicant is not found to be at fault, the complainant will be responsible for these costs.

Any decision by the CGSB against the Applicant may be appealed. Details of the appeal process are available from the CGSB. All participating Applicants have a right of final appeal of the decision to the CATSA committee. Applicants that wish to re-apply to the program following de-listing must repeat the entire listing process.

Use of the Canadian General Standards Board Name and Status Number

The sole intended use of The ASSA Pre-Qualification Program is for CATSA to meet CATSA Act requirements pertaining to the certification of Screening Contractors. The CGSB name and status number and/or CATSA name may therefore be used only in that context.

Applicants shall not use the CGSB name or status number in a manner that tends to be misleading. Moreover, Applicants shall not make use of the CGSB name, abbreviations, status number, marks or symbols, or any other form of reference to the CGSB and/or CATSA in a manner that may be interpreted to mean that the CGSB and/or CATSA approves of or endorses any product or service of the Applicant, or the performance (including the quality compliance or performance) of any product or service of the Applicant.

The use of the status number is independent of, and does not excuse, release or relieve the Applicant from its obligations to comply with, all applicable federal, provincial or municipal statutes, regulations and by-laws and all applicable industry guidelines concerning quality matters.