Meet Moamar Mustafa, CSA Manager

May 12th, 2014

The Cleveland, Ohio office of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) features a large parking lot.  One day, a CSA manager named Moamar Mustafa was having a heated argument with a senior CSA engineer in that parking lot.  The argument was quite heated, actually, it was hard to miss.  It involved shouting.  RestoreCSA is advised that “screaming at the top of his lungs in a parking lot” is broadly representative of Mustafa’s favoured approach to employee relations.  Anyway, the incident is well known, it was caught on film.

What was Mustafa yelling about?  Well, specifically it was about kitchen appliances, but the problem runs a bit deeper.

Just prior to the parking lot incident, the CSA had taken receipt of a new model of Viking cooktop for product testing and certification.  Like all such certification processes, the objective is to run the new product through a series of tests to verify its safety.  And cooktops, as high BTU items, are subject to stringent testing requirements.  Some of these tests are duration performance tests, they take time and can’t be cut short without invalidating the test results.  Its like gardening, in that carrots or lettuce take weeks to grow, one cannot harvest a crop of carrots twenty minutes after seeding.

Requirements for one duration safety test on the Viking cooktop prescribed three days for which Mustafa had allocated only four hours of time.  At risk of insulting the intelligence of the reader, one cannot compress seventy-two hours of duration testing into four hours, it offends the laws of physics.

An engineer familiar with this testing complained, in the parking lot.  Hence the argument.  Mustafa advised the engineer, in colourful and creative language and at high volume, that CSA engineers would indeed find a way to cram seventy-two hours of testing into four hours “or I’ll cancel your vacation.”  Well, that’s incentive.

That’s also pretty normal at CSA.  On one occasion, Mustafa conducted a month-long duration test in two days.  Or so says the product file, and so confirms our sources.  But, again, the laws of physics get in the way.  What CSA claims as having happened isn’t physically possible.  The file may indeed record a magical result, but that result says more about CSA practices than the flexibility of the laws of physics.

So what happened with the Viking cooktop?  Well, “he ended up copying off the previous certification for a similar product, itself having been copied from a previous certification for a similar product, making the results of the current ‘test’ meaningless.”  That cooktop, so thoroughly certified as safe, is now on sale across the land.  This is how CSA does safety certifications of consumer products.  These products are in your home.

The CSA’s Human Resources Department heard about the shouting match in the parking lot and tried to cool things down on the cooktop.  Curiously however, the HR solution didn’t involve actually testing the product prior to certifying that it had been tested.  Instead, the HR team advised the offended engineer that he should just find a way to ensure that the product was certified as tested, without regard to actual testing.  And Mustafa’s practice of “screaming at the top of his lungs in the parking lot?”  Well, “that’s just his management style.”

RestoreCSA has heard a lot about CSA’s HR Department.  They’re interesting people over there, but not in a pleasant, trust-your-neighbour sense of the term.  According to one whistleblower, Mustafa was favoured by HR and the higher-ups of CSA because he was awfully good at increasing throughput in certification processes.  Apparently CSA’s leadership “shifted responsibility to Mustafa to ‘bump’ revenue.”

If even a fraction of what RestoreCSA has received is accurate then CSA leadership is in serious trouble.  Thus far, everything submitted that is verifiable has been verified, its entirely accurate.  The CSA then, is facing a very difficult and turbulent future.  We can advise that a number of authorities are already investigating CSA conduct and others are reviewing submissions from RestoreCSA and from other whistleblowers and related entities as they consider formal investigation. 

Returning the CSA to the rule of law will be expensive for them and no doubt the CSA will read vindictiveness into the actions of government and law enforcement.  But law enforcement isn’t being vindictive, its just their management style.

RestoreCSA acknowledges the contribution of multiple sources to the content of this article.