AVC labs granted ISO-17025 accreditation from Standards Council of Canada

Posted: 
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Dr.Liz Dobbin, director of Diagnostic Services, and Jodie Bowmaster, project manager

The Atlantic Veterinary College's (AVC) Regional Diagnostic Virology Services (RDVS) Laboratory and the Toxicology and Analytical Services (TAS) Laboratory have achieved ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

'ISO-17025 accreditation demonstrates to the world that we are operating under globally recognized standards,' says Elizabeth Dobbin, director of AVC Diagnostic Services. Both of the newly accredited labs fall under AVC Diagnostic Services, which offers tests and services across eight laboratory sections, encompassing domestic, aquatic, exotic, and wildlife species.

SCC accreditation is not easy to attain. In the case of the RDVS and TAS labs, the process took over three years, culminating in a three-day visit by SCC representatives who inspected every inch of the labs-from documentation and instruments to testing methodology. And this is not the end of the process. To maintain the accreditation status, SCC representatives will return in September 2015 for another inspection and then every two years after that.

Accreditation of the RDVS and TAS labs strengthens the already excellent reputation of AVC Diagnostic Services overall and opens up new opportunities, says Dobbin. Clients look for ISO-17025 certified labs first, so the accreditation expands the potential client base for the service. It also means, for example, that results from the accredited labs are recognized by government and other regulatory bodies, and also that they will stand up in a court of law.

While the ISO-17025 accreditation standard is applicable to the RDVS and TAS labs overall, says Dobbin, they are currently accredited for five testing methods. In order to have a testing method added to the scope of accredited methods, the SCC conducts an intensive inspection of the labs involved. Two more methods will be added during the SCC site inspection next fall and more in future visits.

AVC's attainment of SCC ISO-17025 accreditation was completed in part through a 2010 project under the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Atlantic Innovation Fund, involving the development of new innovative delivery mechanisms and improvements in the efficiency of the College's diagnostic services.

For more information about AVC Diagnostic Services, please contact Elizabeth Dobbin, director, at (902) 566-0831 or edobbin@upei.ca

Background:

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is an internationally accepted standard to demonstrate technical competence in laboratories performing specific tests, calibrations and/or measurements. ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization headquartered in Switzerland. The IEC term stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission.

The SCC provides accreditation services to laboratories in Canada. It assesses factors relevant to a lab's ability to produce precise accurate test and calibration data, including the technical competence of staff verified through regular proficiency testing or inter-laboratory comparisons; validity and use of appropriate test methods; traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology; suitability, calibration and maintenance of test equipment; quality assurance of test and calibration results; testing environment, sampling, handling and transportation of test samples; and communication with customers and the need to gain feedback and continual improvement.

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Anna MacDonald
External Relations
Department: 
Integrated Communications
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