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November 7, 2003
For immediate release

Prince Edward Island Analytical Laboratories Receives Standards Council of Canada Accreditation

Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry

Islanders have a new measure of assurance in the quality of services provided by the province’s agricultural and water testing laboratories.

Minister of Environment and Energy Jamie Ballem, and Kevin MacAdam, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry, announced today that the Prince Edward Island Analytical Laboratories has achieved accreditation by the Standards Council of Canada. Accreditation is formal recognition of the competence of a laboratory to carry out specific tests or types of tests.

Minister Ballem said accreditation of the laboratories is a key component of the Provincial Drinking Water Strategy. "Whether Islanders have their own well or tap into a central water supply system for their drinking water, they are relying on the labs that carry out water quality analysis to tell them that their water is safe or to identify potential problems," he said. "These facilities provide a critical service and accreditation is assurance that Islanders can have confidence in the quality of that service."

In addition to the water microbiology and chemistry laboratories, the Prince Edward Island Analytical Laboratories include the soil and feed testing laboratory. Consolidation of the environmental and agriculture laboratory services was announced in last year’s Speech from the Throne.

"The soil and feed testing section of the lab has long been recognized as among the highest-ranking in North America for the accuracy of its analysis," said Mr. MacAdam. "This formal recognition is a further step in assuring clients of the high quality of the services it provides."

As part of accreditation, technical assessments are conducted by teams of experts every two years to evaluate the lab’s quality system and technical capability for each test. In addition, proficiency testing sees samples provided to the lab for analysis twice a year. Unsatisfactory performance in proficiency tests can result in suspension of accreditation for specific tests.

Dr. Rick Wilson is executive director of the Canadian Association for Environmental Analytical Laboratories (CAEAL) which coordinates the environmental lab accreditation program in cooperation with the Standards Council of Canada. He presented the certificate of accreditation to Ministers Ballem and MacAdam Friday.

"By providing for ongoing independent review of the laboratory’s quality system and performance, accreditation results in improved performance by the laboratory," Dr. Wilson said. "Overall, accredited labs consistently achieve a much lower rate of unsatisfactory results in proficiency testing compared to non-accredited facilities."

The Prince Edward Island Analytical Laboratories are accredited for 21 test methods. In the last proficiency testing carried out by CAEAL and the Standards Council of Canada in March of this year, the environmental labs passed all tests. And just this past week, the soil and feed testing laboratory received a positive report from an audit by the Canadian Seed Institute, which coordinates seed accreditation for agricultural labs.

Media Contact: Wayne MacKinnon
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