The Value of Partnerships: A Codes and Standards Outlook During the Pandemic

Gurvinder Chopra

November 27, 2020

By Gurvinder Chopra

In business, developing strategic partnerships helps to not only meet but also exceed the expectations of our customers — in the case of Electro-Federation Canada (EFC), our members. As the electrical industry evolves, members require supportive initiatives for their organization to remain competitive. As EFC’s VP of Standards and Regulations, supporting our manufacturer and distributor members in the business section committees to collaborate on issues of common interest, including matters related to codes and standards, is at the forefront of my responsibility.

With the global pandemic taking effect earlier this year, rapid transformations are occurring. This unprecedented time has also brought on the opportunity for uniting people, expertise, industries, governments, and countries in the pursuit of common goals to overcome this crisis and be better than we were prior to COVID-19. Collectively having a vested interest in supporting businesses by strategically partnering to reduce barriers, challenge sustainability, and above all, safety will be pivotal.

As the electrical industry in Canada continues to undertake numerous technological developments, EFC values the importance of fostering strategic partnerships with stakeholders who play a critical role in supporting the industry’s health and longevity. Whether advocacy is required for government to recognize ground-breaking lighting technologies that sanitize surfaces (UVC lighting) or if it is to ensure that CE Code Part 1 is adopted across all jurisdictions, EFC has established collaborations with organizations that develop and support a wide range of codes, standards and regulations important to our industry.

There is also the issue of sub-standard products entering the country, either through sales from unregulated on-line channels or through unrecognized channels. Counterfeit and substandard products have a significant impact on businesses and pose severe safety concerns to the public, which keeps even regulators up at night.

EFC takes pride investing with organizations who focus on safety and safe products, and help protect, empower and further strengthen the competitiveness of Canada’s electrical industry. This year alone and with the impacts of the pandemic in place, joining forces with these like-minded organizations to support our members has never been more vital. Through these partnerships, we strive to achieve a) advocacy, b) knowledge and safety, and c) awareness and engagement.

To name a few, EFC has proudly partnered with the following organizations to help advance standardization strategies and provide increased membership support.

Standards development organizations

CIO SC: Through this partnership, EFC and CIOSC will support the advancement of the electro-technical sector’s transition to Industry 4.0 and Cybersecurity by collaborating on the following key areas: a) Identifying gaps in digitization processes and standards; b) Sharing information on cybersecurity issues; c) Designing and implementing a standardization strategy.

CSA Group and UL (Underwriters Laboratories): These partnerships have provided members a collaborative voice for representation at the technical committees. As the two largest standards development organizations in North America, CSA Group & UL understands the recognized benchmark that standards set, opening international doors for those products. CSA Group has been a life-long EFC partner offering members access to the most relevant Codes and Standards information, solutions, and professional development opportunities.

Canadian accreditation bodies

Standards Council of Canada: This partnership with the prestigious SCC, provides an important path for industry involvement in national and international standardization activities, to promote the development of new technologies, support trade and develop access to emerging markets.

CACES (Canadian Advisory Council of Electrical Safety): This is an esteemed body, consisting of all the Canadian electrical regulators, certification bodies and Health Canada, and has included EFC on two key task groups in which a) EFC will be assisting in finding solutions for the issues related to online sales, which has been affecting both, our manufacturing and distributor members, and b) EFC will be leading the efforts to come out with one effective date for every electrical standard that is developed or revised with the help of certification bodies, relevant SDO, sub-committee, regulators and other interested parties like consumers, contractors, etc.

Certification bodies: apart from CSA and UL, which also offer testing and certification bodies, EFC members have been supported by our collaboration with TUV:SUD; now QPS Evaluation Services has also joined EFC as a member to support the industry through EFC.

With these partnerships in place, it is strongly encouraged for our manufacturers and distributors members to evaluate their employee participation within their business and technical sectors. As a growing number of members are set to retire from the electrical industry within the next 10 years,* investing in the next generation of professionals has never been more important. Members who are not contributing to the decisions being made at the table will have to comply to standards or regulations made for them by their competitors or other parties present at the table.

Take advantage of the partnerships EFC has formed for the success of your organization. View the full list of EFC partnerships, click here

Discover the workplace development programs available through EFC’s various partnerships here

Gurvinder Chopra is VP, Standards & Regulations for Electro-Federation Canada.

* Electro-Federation Canada’s Membership Profile 2019

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