The Inside Game

December 19th, 2013

RestoreCSA has elsewhere reported on the incestuous relationships between Industry Canada, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). 

The SCC is supposed to police the conduct of the CSA, but the SCC is lead by a former CSA executive, installed there by Industry Canada.  The CSA itself is lead by a former Industry Canada executive, installed by Industry Canada and approved by the SCC.  Appointments managed by Industry Canada are handled by the Department’s senior civil servants, one of the most senior being a Board Member of the CSA.  And the Minister himself is advised by Colin Metcalfe.  Its quite the circle.

The SCC holds accreditation powers over the CSA.  That is, the SCC affords the CSA its legal standing and authority as a standards development organization.  The legal criteria for accrediting the CSA is found in a document called Requirements for Accreditation as a Standards Development Organization (Criteria). 

The Criteria file “specifies the requirements for an organization seeking accreditation as a Standards Development Organization (SDO)”.

One such requirement is especially interesting.  Read carefully:  “The SDO shall be a legal entity, or a defined part of a legal entity, such that it can be held legally responsible for all its standards development activities.” 

Contrast that requirement with the following admission by the CSA to having sent a letter to the SCC “containing a proposal to amend the Standards Council of Canada Act to include additional limited protections from civil proceedings for Canadian standards development organizations and people acting on their behalf in the course of the performance of standards development functions.”

The CSA’s appeal for immunities from legal responsibility is in defiance of the SCC’s requirement that they retain their responsibility.

But note the word “additional.”  The CSA has been repeatedly lobbying Industry Canada for ever-increasing immunities from legal responsibility.  RestoreCSA noted the same lobbying, on the same subject, and the same request, during 2012.  It was also “additional” in 2012, meaning that the CSA was already enjoying protection from legal responsibility at the time of the 2012 lobbying.

In other words, because the CSA was in possession of immunities from legal responsibility from early in 2012, they have been in sustained, material breach of the criteria to maintain their SCC accreditation for at least two years.

How would the SCC have known what the CSA was doing?  Well, to maintain CSA accreditation, the SCC conducts regular reviews of CSA conduct.  For instance, every year the SCC conducts “annual surveillance audits” of CSA activity.  These audits result in SCC reports “within 45 calendar days of the completion of the assessment,” and any non-conformances found therein must be rectified “within 30 calendar days.” 

To put this in context, in 2010 the CSA was caught running one of Canada’s most prolific counterfeiting operations.  For eight years the CSA was selling safety certifications of modular buildings without SCC authorization.  And worse, the buildings the CSA affixed with these counterfeit certifications did not meet Canadian safety requirements.  Even if one views the situation charitably, the SCC rectification of non-conformances was three thousand, six hundred and twenty days out of compliance.  But there was no suspension of CSA accreditation.  Actually, there was no investigation or prosecution or, as CSA demanded of other counterfeiters, there were no “significant penalties, including fines and imprisonment.”

This is the reason that RestoreCSA has gone over the heads of the SCC; it doesn’t respect its own rules, it doesn’t respect the rule of law, and its leadership is hopelessly conflicted.

What should the SCC have done?  Well, “where there is proven evidence of fraudulent behaviour, or the [CSA] intentionally provides false information, or the [CSA] deliberately violates accreditation rules, the SCC shall initiate its process for withdrawal of accreditation.”  This isn’t optional, its a quotation from SCC regulation CAN-P-15 Section 6.6, the rules governing suspension and withdrawal of accreditation.  And the word “shall” is defined within the same document as denoting mandatory action.

This isn’t vague.  The CSA was illegally selling fake safety certifications and this practice bankrupted several companies, cost Canadians millions of dollars, and it ran for eight years.  Clearly, that record is “proven evidence of fraudulent behaviour.”  And as noted above, the CSA is on record as having immunities, and seeking more immunities, from legal responsibility which, by SCC’s own Criteria “violates accreditation rules.”  And they sent their proposal to violate the SCC Criteria to the SCC itself.  Hard to miss this.

Some will note that the SCC text reads: “deliberately violates accreditation rules.”  RestoreCSA looks forward to hearing Anthony Toderian claim that the CSA was accidentally lobbying the Government for twenty-four months uninterrupted. 

One should also recall that the CSA furnished PS Knight Co with a fabricated set of electrical laws during 2006.  This is a clear instance of “providing false information.” 

In other words, the CSA appears to be in material breach of all SCC criteria -without exception- for maintaining their accreditation.

Canada’s crooked company needs a clean-up, yet those with cleaning authority have been dirtied by their subject.

We are witnessing a self serving circle of mutual protection and influence and ostentation.  The inside game is profitable, its easy and its luxurious.  But we can break the cycle of corruption.  As the weight of evidence continues to grow and the rogue regulators’ problems continue to multiply, RestoreCSA is confident that the CSA Group will be returned to the rule of law during 2014.