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Program manual for the certification of quality and environmental management systems

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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:

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:

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 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 (for example, 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:

The on-site audit includes at least the following:

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:

Recommendations are generally one of the following:

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 CGSB 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 Canadian General Standards Board.

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:

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.

Suspending, de-listing 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:

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. Organizations that wish to re-apply to the program following a suspension or delisting must repeat from the beginning the entire listing process.

Complaints and appeals

For the purpose of this certification program a complaint is defined as a formal expression of dissatisfaction about CGSB personnel, services, decisions and/or clients. An appeal is defined as a formal request by complainant for review of the outcome of a complaint investigation.

The complaint shall be submitted in writing, by email or mail, to the Team Leader, Registration Services Quality and Environment . The complaint should include arguments and supporting evidences.

Team Leader, Registration Services Quality and Environment Canadian General Standards Board
L’Esplanade Laurier 6th floor East Tower
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0R5


CGSB will acknowledge receipt of complaints within 10 working days and keep the complainant inform of investigation process. When the investigation is completed, CGSB will inform the complainant of the decision.

If the complainant is not satisfied with CGSB decision, he could appeal the decision. Appeals shall be submitted in writing, by email or mail, to the manager of the Conformity Assessment Division who will acknowledge receipt within 10 working days.

When investigation is completed, CGSB will inform complainant of the decision. All participating organizations have a right of final appeal of the decision or to file a complaint to the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

Impartiality policy

CGSB top management is committed to impartiality in management system certification activities. CGSB understands the importance of impartiality in carrying out its management system certification activities and manages conflict of interest and ensures the objectivity of such activities through a multi-representational stakeholder committee.

CGSB follows the principles set out in ISO 17021:2015.


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

Preparation of the certification application

  1. Step 1: Applicant Profile Form CAD5F—The form ensures that the CGSB captures all necessary program information: the location\facility to be certified, the standard to be applied (for example, ISO 9001), and the proposed scope of certification.
    • once you have completed and submitted the Applicant Profile Form, CGSB will generate an estimate and submit it back to you for your review
    • providing you agree on the estimate, you may proceed to step 2
  2. Step 2: Application and Undertaking Form CAD8F—The form 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 manager of the organization in charge of quality assurance and by a responsible officer of the company (president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer).
  3. Step 3: Submit the documentation to
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