Program Manual for the Certification of Quality and Environmental Management Systems (PMCQEMS)


The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) is pleased to present its Certification Program for Quality and Environmental Management Systems. The program offers certifications to the ISO 9001 standard, Quality management systems (QMS) – Requirements, or to a related standard in the ISO 9000 family and to the ISO 14001 standard, Environmental Management Systems (EMS) – Requirements.

The ISO 9000 program was developed by the CGSB to identify quality organizations to procurement groups needing assurance that deliverables would meet their intended uses. The program provides a convenient, cost-effective way for organizations to demonstrate to governments, corporate buyers, wholesalers, retailers and private consumers that their quality systems can consistently deliver superior products and services.

The ISO 14001 program identifies organizations and interested parties who demonstrate through third-party certification their conformity to ISO 14001 or who seek confidence and assurance that they are managing their environmental issues in a systematic manner.

The benefits to organizations participating in these voluntary programs include:

  • demonstration through third-party evaluation that their quality system continues to meet the requirements of ISO 9001 or a related ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems standard; or to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard;
  • recognition as a source of consistently reliable quality products and services or Recognition as an organization having control over its environmental responsibilities via a formal management system;
  • reduction in costs and wastes;
  • improvement in corporate image.

The CGSB extends an invitation to your organization to participate in the QMS or EMS programs. Read this manual carefully. It describes how the program works and will help you in preparing your application.

How the Program Works

In short, organizations can be accepted in this program if they show

  • their documented quality management system meets the requirements of ISO 9001 or a related ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems standard; or ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard.
  • they comply with their own stated quality or environmental system.

The organizations and their extent of recognition are listed on a certification list, available to other professionals at all levels of government, corporate and institutional users, retailers, and the general public. Through a program of scheduled audits carried out by the CGSB, these people are assured that the sources of supply of products and services conform to internationally recognized standards.

To achieve this level of confidence, the program has four phases:

These phases are described in more detail on the following pages. For complete information on CGSB policies governing this program, refer to the most recent edition of the CGSB Policy Manual for the Conformity Assessment Division available from CGSB (

ISO 9000

The growing world trend towards quality commitment in industry has been the driving force behind the creation of the ISO 9000 family of Quality Management Systems standards. These standards establish a forum for quality improvement against discreet criteria. They also facilitate third-party evaluation and formal recognition of organizations that can meet the requirements of the standard. This has culminated in the use of quality system evaluation as a valuable tool for procurement.

The CGSB registers quality management systems to ISO 9001, Quality Management Systems – Requirements, or to any related standard in the ISO 9000 family. As a registrar, the CGSB is an independent third party, ensuring impartiality and fairness.

ISO 14000

For the last two decades, environmental protection has been a major concern. Issues such as climate changes, ozone depletion, soil and groundwater contamination, atmospheric pollution and disposal of hazardous wastes have become the focus of government, industry and the general public. Thousands of documents and regulations have been developed by all levels of government to address these issues. This attention, as well as concerns from organizations of all kinds, to facilitate sound environmental management drove the development of the ISO 14000 family of standards.

The ISO 14000 family of standards are developed by ISO technical committee (ISO /TC) 207, environmental management systems, and provide organizations world-wide with a common approach to environmental management. The ISO 14000 family consists of two types of standards: those dealing with the evaluation of environmental management systems and those dealing with the evaluation of environmental products and processes.

The performance evaluation standards, ISO 14001 and ISO 14004, help management to ensure and verify the successful implementation of an EMS . ISO 14001 contains the requirements for an EMS, and ISO 14004 provides the general guidelines on EMS principles, systems and supporting techniques. The product and process evaluation standards, including other ISO 14000 series documents, dealing with labelling, life cycle assessment and environmental aspects in product standards and are used to evaluate and analyze product and process characteristics.

The ISO 14001 EMS model consists of five principles:

  • Principle 1. Commitment and Policy
    An organization defines its environmental policy and ensures commitment to its EMS.
  • Principle 2. Planning
    An organization plans to fulfil its environmental policy by determining the potential impacts its operations could have on the environment and establishing a number of goals for improved environmental performance.
  • Principle 3. Implementation
    For effective implementation and operation, an organization develops the capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve its environmental policy, objectives and targets.
  • Principle 4. Measurement and Evaluation
    An organization measures, monitors and evaluates its environmental performance.
  • Principle 5. Review and Improvement
    An organization reviews and continually improves its EMS, with the goal of improving its overall environmental performance.

Phase 1: Application

Organizations wishing to participate in the CGSB certification program must submit the following:

  • Application Profile Form
  • Application and Undertaking Form
  • Application Fee

Application and Undertaking Form

This legal document, when signed by a senior officer of the organization, grants the CGSB the authority to assess the applicant's quality / environmental management system.

In signing the form, the applicant undertakes to

  • abide by the terms and conditions of the program;
  • maintain a system of quality assurance that will ensure the continuing quality of its products;
  • document its quality management system;
  • provide access to the CGSB staff, or their representatives, in conducting their on-site assessments;
  • pay all applicable fees.

If an application is rejected, the organization will be informed in writing. Organizations can appeal the CGSB’S decisions. Organizations also have the right to view their own certification records kept by the CGSB.

All documents and information submitted by an applicant are treated in strict confidence and will only be released with the applicant’s consent.

Phase 2: Preparation For Initial Audit

Following completion of Phase 1, a Registration Specialist (RS) is assigned who will be the applicant's main point of contact with the CGSB. The RS reviews the application, resolves any differences or misunderstandings, and in consultation with the Senior Technical Authority (STA), selects a Lead Auditor. The Lead Auditor will be either a qualified CGSB staff member or a qualified subcontractor working under the authority of the CGSB, who is bound by all program requirements (e.g. Industry Code and language).

Document Review - The Lead Auditor reviews the organization's documentation against the requirements of ISO 9001:2000 and issues a Document Review Report. The applicant must address all areas of the report where the requirements were not satisfied.

Pre-audit (Stage 1 Audit) – A Phase I on-site audit of the applicant’s quality management system will be conducted by the CGSB as determined by the results of a review by CGSB Management of all gathered information including but not limited to Application Documents, focussed ISO 9000 and/or ISO 14000 questionnaires, web site reviews, document reviews, telephone conversations as well as review of Internal Audit and Management Review reports and meeting minutes. The on-site portion may be waived if so if so determined by the CGSB Management’s review of all gathered information.

The applicant must provide copies of it’s last Management Review meeting minutes and full Internal Audit report to CGSB for inclusion in the review.

The results of the review will be documented and communicated to the customer.

Pre-requirements for the On-site Initial Audit

The organization shall:

  • be prepared to provide evidence of conformity to requirements and of the effective operation of its management system. A minimum of three (3) months records shall be available for audit team review during the on-site initial audit;
  • ensure the availability of top management for interview during the on-site initial audit, to provide evidence of its commitment to the development and implementation of the quality management system and continually improving its effectiveness.

Phase 3: Initial Audit (Stage 2 Audit)

Following acceptance of the Management System documentation and the conclusion of the stage 1 audit, the CGSB will assign an audit team. The audit team usually includes the Lead Auditor who conducted the stage 1 audit. It may also include, depending on the size of the facility to be certified and the expertise required, additional team members, such as auditor or technical experts. Technical experts do not make decisions about compliance.

The Lead Auditor acts as the Audit Team Leader and conducts the on-site initial audit in accordance with ISO 19011 and CGSB procedures. The Lead Auditor is responsible for at least the following:

  • Scheduling the audit date
  • Arranging for office space
  • Arranging for guides
  • Arranging for the applicant’s management to be available
  • Planning the audit activities
  • Assigning relevant portions of the audit to team members.

The on-site audit includes at least the following:

  • Opening Meeting
  • Verification of the Implementation and of the effective operation of the Management System
  • Closing Meeting.

At the Closing Meeting, the Audit Team Leader informs the applicant of any non-conformities, clarifies their significance and sets out the audit team’s recommendation about continuing the certification process.

The Lead Auditor then prepares an assessment report that meets program requirements. The report contains at least the following:

  • General information on the client and the audit
  • Scope and purpose of the audit
  • Overview including a brief description of the client, its products, and any other pertinent information
  • Summary of the most important observations, positive as well as negative, about the quality management system
  • Degree of reliance that can be placed on the internal audit
  • Summary of the findings and any general comments, including audit trails or references to them in auditor’s note.
  • Summary of the Closing Meeting
  • Certification recommendation

Recommendations are generally one of the following:

  • Offer of registration
  • Offer of registration after response to corrective action requests are acceptable to the CGSB (Program Management)
  • On-site verification of corrective actions requests
  • Complete re-assessment ( In this case corrective action requests 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 management system. A decision is made to grant or deny the certification, or to ask that additional information be provided. If non-conformities are identified during the initial audit, the applicant must take satisfactory corrective action before the CGSB recommends that the Director of the CSGB prepare a written offer of certification.

Applicants are considered certified only when they have received a signed letter of offer from the Director of the CGSB.

Applicants who receive a certification offer are required to enter into a license agreement with the CGSB. This legal agreement provides the certified organization with a unique certification number and authorizes the organization’s use of the CGSB certification mark – a registered quality mark recognized across North America – on business stationary and promotional material.

A certificate is issued to the successful applicant following the signing of the license agreement. The certificate shows the applicant’s name, the address of the certified facility, and the scope of certification, and for QMS the permissible exclusions for ISO 9001 certifications. The certificate is valid for three years. A new certificate is issued upon satisfactory completion of recertification audit. Between recertification audits, the certificate is promptly updated as needed and sent to the registrant as per CAD MCP 013, sections 3.3.4, 3.3.5 and 3.3.6.

The ISO 9001 standard permits exclusions of elements. Permissible exclusions are limited to those elements in clause 7 of the standard, must be fully documented and acceptable to the CGSB, and will be verified during on-site audits.

An up-to-date list of registered organizations can be viewed at CGSB.

Phase 4: Surveillance and Recertification Audit

Management System Changes – Organizations must promptly notify the CGSB, in writing, of any intended changes to their management system. These include changes to policy and procedures, organization, scope of certification, location, or any other change affecting conformity to the standard. Before approving a change, the CGSB may require a site visit or a special audit.

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

Surveillance Audits –The CGSB conducts surveillance audits at 12 month intervals, usually during the anniversary month of the initial audit. Approximately one third of the organization’s management system will be audited during a surveillance audit. The surveillance audit will be assigned, planned and executed in a similar manner to the initial audit. Upon completion of the surveillance audit, a report is issued that meets the same criteria as for the report mentioned in Phase 3.

To remain in the program, the registrant 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 during the on-site audit, and misuse of logos and trademarks, as specified in the license agreement.

Registered organizations are required to keep records of complaints from their clients and make them available to the CGSB auditors.

Recertification audits (full system audits) are conducted at 36 month intervals, usually during the anniversary month of the initial audit. Recertification audits include a review and validation of the quality management system documentation as a part of stage 1 audit.

Recertification audits will be assigned, planned and executed in a similar manner to the initial audit, after successful completion of stage 1 audit. At the conclusion of the recertification audit, a report is issued that meets the same criteria as the report mentioned in Phase 3.

CGSB has chosen not to implement the provisions of IAF MD3:2008 - Advanced Surveillance and Recertification procedures.

De-Listing, Appeals and Re-Application

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

In the event of repeated problems, complaints from users, or other evidence that indicates a lack of quality assurance within the certified facility, the CGSB may, at its discretion, decide to:

  • audit more frequently;
  • return to the facility to verify the effectiveness of the corrective action;
  • reduce the scope of certification of the registrant
  • suspend or de-list the registrant.

Certified organizations that fail to demonstrate their ability or willingness to meet the program requirements within a specified time period will be suspended or de-listed.

Any decision made against the certified organization by the CGSB may be appealed. Details of the appeal process are available from the CGSB ( All participating organizations have a right of final appeal of the decision to the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). Organizations that wish to re-apply to the program following de-listing must repeat the entire listing process.


CGSB administers Certification Management System Programs on behalf of participating organizations on a cost-recovery basis. The costs of participating in this program are tailored to the needs of the organization and commensurate with the certification activities required.

Costs estimates are set out in the form of a quotation covering a three-year period and will be provided on request to individual organizations. The final amount of the fee could increase if major non-conformity is found at the audit and a revisit is required.

Application Costs

  • Application fee (An initial, non refundable fee for entry into the program)
  • Document review, pre assessment and certification assessment fees (These will vary, depending upon the organization's size, location and EMS complexity.)
  • Management fees (These cover handling and processing of the application, administering the document review, pre assessment and certification assessment, and verifying corrective actions.)
  • Travel time
  • Travel and lodging expenses

Annual Costs

  • Annual licensing fees
  • Surveillance audits (The cost will vary depending upon the organizations' size, location, and EMS complexity)
  • Management fees (These cover the cost of maintaining the listing, administering surveillance audits and corrective actions and verifying corrective actions.)
  • Travel time
  • Travel and lodging expenses

Preparing your Application

Step 1: Application and Undertaking Form - Form RSQ 001 is a legal document certifying your company's commitment to quality and adherence to the appropriate quality model. It must be signed by a senior company official in charge of quality assurance and by a responsible officer of the company (president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer).

Step 2: Applicant Profile Form - Completion of Form RSQ 003 ensures that the CGSB captures all necessary program information: the location\facility to be registered, the standard to be applied (e.g. ISO 9001), and the proposed scope of registration.

For EMS only. There is a pre-assessment questionnaire (Form RSE-202).

Step 3: Submission of Management System Documentation and Registration Fee – Mail to:

Mailing Address Canada Post only
Canadian General Standards Board
Registration Services
Ottawa , Ontario
K1A 1G6

Courier Address
Publics Works and Government Services
Canadian General Standards Board
Registration Services
Place du Portage, Phase III, 6B1
11 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0S5