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Development and Maintenance of Standards for
Archival Practice in Canada

Roles and Responsibilities
How a Standard is Developed and Maintained
How a Standard is Approved and Endorsed

Appendix A: CCA Standards Development, Approval and Endorsement of Standards for Archival Practice in Canada
Appendix B: Standards Development Format
Appendix C: Canada's National Standards System


Standards have an impact on almost every area of life and archival practice is no exception. In our daily lives we rely on standards for safety, quality, efficiency and in order to communicate. Canadian archivists have developed codes of ethics, guidelines for education and have adopted numerous technical standards such as the ANSI standards for micrographics.

In the face of advancing technology, shrinking resources, unmet challenges, and growing international involvement, archivists are finding it necessary to pay increasing attention to the ways in which they accomplish their work. The formalization of the process of arriving at standards is a necessary aspect of this attention.

This document is intended to explain the process for development, review, and endorsement of standards for archival practice in Canada. In doing so it also outlines the roles and responsibilities associated with standards development and endorsement and provides guidelines for the proposal, development, and revision of a standard.

Standards take many forms: laws, codes, guidelines, structures, recommended practices, rules, conventions and precise technical standards. There are various ways of arriving at standards: deciding on priorities for the profession and developing internally a needed standard, reviewing and adopting an existing standard perhaps developed by another discipline or working in collaboration with other groups to arrive at a standard that serves a common need. The process for arriving at standards for Canadian archival practice provides for a variety of standards development methods.

The development, endorsement and maintenance of standards is an activity in which both institutions and professionals should be involved. The process must ensure meaningful participation and involvement of all interested parties.

Implementation and applications of standards are institutional responsibilities. The role of CCA is to facilitate and coordinate the standards development process. As well CCA will report on implementation status, identify implementation problems and promote national standards.

The Canadian Archival Standards Board is a joint board which formally endorses standards. It consists of members of the Bureau of Canadian Archivists and of the Board of CCA. Establishment and endorsement of standards is based on comprehensive participation and consensus. To facilitate the process of formal endorsement, the CCA provides secretariat services to the Canadian Archival Standards Board and presents standards to the CASB for review.

The CCA Standards Committee is charged with encouraging, coordinating and facilitating the development of standards. It does not manage a structure, but coordinates a process which is based in principle on International Standards Organisation guidelines. The main tasks of the Committee are to recognize priorities, identify resource and funding requirements, and facilitate the development, review, approval and maintenance of national standards. It also recommends formal recognition of technical committees to develop specific standards. Individuals, experts, professionals, committees as well as the CCA Standards Committee can identify areas requiring standards.

Standards are developed, revised and maintained by the technical committees which are working groups of experts. These are multidisciplinary in composition where this is appropriate. Technical committees work in accord with IS0 procedures and guidelines. They obtain comprehensive input and invite review by all parts of the archival community and recognized experts. The CCA Standards Committee proposes endorsement of existing or newly developed standards to the CCA for review by the CASB where these standards are applicable to archives and ensures that vetting has been comprehensive and adequate.

The Canadian archival community participates in national and international standards processes. Both individual archivists and institutions contribute by cooperating in the determination and application of standards.


Roles and ResponsibilitiesBureau of Canadian Archivists

  • Chairs Canadian Archival Standards Board;
  • Reviews all proposed standards;
  • Consults with all technical committees;
  • Establishes technical committees as required.
Canadian Council of Archives
  • Coordinates standards development process;
  • Convenes Canadian Archival Standards Board;
  • Oversees CCA Standards Committee;
  • Consults with all technical Committees;
  • Establishes technical committees as required.
CCA Standards Committee
  • Facilitates and encourages development of standards;
  • Coordinates archival standards development process;
  • Recognizes and endorses technical committees;
  • Reviews process of standards development by technical committees;
  • Serves as Secretariat for archival standards;
  • Ensures publication and distribution of archival standards;
  • May recommend establishment of technical committees by CCA;
  • Identifies resource requirements and funding sources to support technical committees;
  • Proposes standards for presentation to Canadian Archival Standards Board;
  • Liaises for CCA with Canadian General Standard Board.
Technical Committees
  • Develop standards;
  • Ensure comprehensive review by archival community and other technical authorities;
  • Consist of working committees of experts;
  • May be organised and established in a variety of ways (Bureau, ACA, AAQ, CCA, National Archives, provincial council, professional organisation from allied disciplines, etc.);
  • Report to organisation or institution that established it.
National Archives of Canada
  • Encourages and promotes standards;
  • Contributes technical support and expertise to committees;
  • Provides staff resources for standards development;
  • Funds standards development through CCA.
Archival Institutions
  • Encourage and promote standards;
  • Contribute technical support and expertise to committees;
  • Provide staff resources for standards development.


How a Standard is Developed and Maintained

Proposer of standard
  • Notifies CCA Standards Committee of intention to develop or revise, endorse or delete a standard and provides information relating to the need and impact of the proposed standard and the plan that will be followed for its development and vetting. See format for standards development, Appendix B.
CCA Standards Committee
  • Confirms the need for a new standard or revision of an existing standard;
  • Reviews proposal for completeness;
  • Assists in identifying funding, vettors, etc.;
  • Publicizes intention to develop or revise the standard;
  • Notifies developer or revisor to proceed.
  • Invites input and participation;
  • Establishes technical committee;
  • Receives input;
  • Develops new or revises existing standard;
  • Reports annually and as phases are completed to CCA Standards Committee.
  • Circulates draft standard nationally to pertinent committees, experts and through newsletters;
  • Revises draft standard;
  • Consults with Standards Committee to determine format;
  • Circulates revised standard;
  • Revises proposed standard;
  • Forwards revised standard to Standards Committee with documentation of the consultation process and response.

How a Standard Is Approved and Endorsed

Standards Committee
  • Forwards final standard to Standards Board accompanied by summary of review process and opinions expressed;
  • After endorsement by the Standards Board, adds standard to Register of Standards;
  • Establishes a date for bringing standard forward for revision.
Standards Board
  • Evaluates review process;
  • Approves and adopts standard;
  • Assigns standard to committee or other body for maintenance and revision.

Appendix A - Standards Development, Approval and Endorsement

[development process]

Technical Committee
  • Develops and maintains specific standards;
  • Consults, reviews, proposes, revises standards;
  • May be established by other organisations;
  • Reports to establishing organisation;
  • Coordinates and liaises with CCA Standards Committee.
Approval and Endorsement

[approval and endorsement process]





  • New
  • Revision
  • Endorsement of an existing standard
  • Development of a standard with another professional body
  • Deletion of a standard

  • Name
  • Address

Need for the standard:

Expected impact:


Format and content of the standard:

Composition of technical committee:

Plan for development of standard (include budget and timetable if appropriate):

Plan for review:

If applicable, attach existing standard.


Appendix C - Canada's National Standards System
Canada's National Standards System is comprised of standards development organisations, certification organisations, registration organisations, testing organisations, all of which are accredited, and national committees on the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and the International electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Standards efforts of these bodies are coordinated by the Standards Council of Canada which serves as the Canadian government s focal point for voluntary standardization, represents Canada in international voluntary standardization activities, and coordinates standardization in Canada. This last is achieved by setting out policies and procedures for the development of National Standards of Canada and for accreditation of certification, registration and testing organisations.

The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) is one of several national standards-development organisations accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. The CGSB has developed over 1500 standards in approximately 100 subject areas including building and construction, textiles and clothing, transportation and distribution, health care technology, procurement, fuel and energy products, services, lifestyles and environment, communications / information technology. Its activity in the last area establishes the CGSB as the standards development organisation with which archives would be most involved.

CGSB also participates in many international standardization activities quality management services, including the qualification and certification Programmes, and manages various technical secretariats for the IS0.

CGSB assists in the development of standards by investigating the need for a standard, forming committees, administering meetings, preparing minutes, assisting in arrival at consensus, administering the ballet taking when required, forwarding standards for approval as National Standards of Canada, publishing standards and providing quality management services. There is a charge back for the services of the CGSB. The CGSB also provides assistance by investigating funding for standards development.

Standards developed and endorsed by an organisation, in our situation, the Canadian Archival Standards Board, can be taken to CGSB for approval as a National Standard. This use of the CGSB process is essential in cases where a standard is to be taken forward as an international standard. Where a standard is to be developed jointly with another profession working through the CGSB framework could be the most efficient approach. In cases where a standard of interest to archivists is being developed by another group or manufacturing body, archivists can seek representation on the development committee.


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