To ensure that we as a profession are providing the highest quality results to the public, we must look at our industry critically, understand and question how we are doing things in order to stay accountable. Programs have been created that continually keep laboratories in check. We have also looked outside of the chemical industry at other professional organizations to better understand how they operate.
Analytical Quality Assurance Program
Since 1999, the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation, CALA (formerly known as Canadian Association for Environmental Analytical Laboratories, CAEAL) has been operating the Analytical Quality Assurance Program for all of Canada. This non-profit organization dedicates their time to measuring the capabilities of Canadian environmental testing laboratories to demonstrate competent, consistent results, thus providing a measure of assurance for that lab.
Laboratories voluntarily participate in rigorous testing with the shared goal of improving environmental testing in Canada. Quarterly during the year, samples of an analyte at different loading levels are sent out to all participants in the program. Volunteers subscribe for whatever analytes from the list of 16 are relevant to them. Performance for an analyte is then given based on the results for all samples sent out during the year.
For more information on CALA, the organization, regulations, accreditation, or to contact them directly, please visit their web site.
Current list for the CALA Directory of Laboratories.
Prior to 1999, the Analytical Quality Assurance Program was managed by the Occupational Health Section of the ACPO.