Standards Council of Canada approves national standard to address impact of climate change on Northern community drainage systems

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and CSA Group today announced the publication of a new National Standard of Canada (NSC) that will help Canada’s North design and implement effective community drainage systems to address climate change.

CAN/CSA-S503-15 Community drainage system planning, design, and maintenance in northern communities is the fourth in a suite of innovative standards developed by Canada’s standardization network for the Northern Infrastructure Standardization Initiative (NISI). The suite aims to provide tangible, long-term improvements to Canada’s Northern infrastructure, a key priority for the Government of Canada.

The government supports NISI through its financial commitments to climate change adaptation.

Community drainage planning in the North is unique, due to long periods of extremely low temperatures; exceptionally large and remote drainage basins; permafrost; small, isolated communities with low population density; and consideration for the social and cultural context of land use. The new standard provides guidance on planning, design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of drainage systems in Canada’s North.

The development of a fifth NISI standard, Geotechnical site investigation guidelines for building foundations in permafrost, will begin in early 2015 and is expected to generate even more benefit to Northerners.

Download CAN/CSA-S503-15

Quick facts

  • CSA Group, a leading standards development organization (SDO) accredited by SCC, was selected by SCC in November 2012 to develop the initial four NISI standards.
  • The NISI standards Thermosyphon foundations for buildings in permafrost regions, Moderating the effects of permafrost degradation on existing building foundations and Managing changing snow load risks for buildings in Canada’s North were published in 2014.
  • The NISI standards address the effects of climate change on new or existing infrastructure, as well as on retrofits, operations and maintenance.


“With assistance from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and funding from the Government of Canada’s Clean Air Agenda, SCC is pleased to support and truly deliver on the government’s commitment to the North,” said SCC’s CEO, John Walter. “NISI is yet another clear example of how Canada’s standardization network brings tremendous value to Canadians, including our Northerners.”

“CSA Group is pleased to have played such an important role in contributing to a more sustainable future for those living in the Far North,” said Gianluca Arcari, Executive Director, Standards and Vice President, CSA Group. “This series of standards is so important, because it takes into account the unique challenges in these communities. We are proud to contribute to helping reduce the impact of climate change on communities in the Far North.”

More information

Northern Infrastructure Standardization Initiative (NISI) program page
News release backgrounder

Impact of climate change on Northern community drainage systems

The new National Standard of Canada (NSC) addresses the impact of climate change on Northern community drainage systems. The NSC was developed under the Northern Infrastructure Standardization Initiative, which includes several innovative standards to provide tangible, long-term improvements for Canada’s Northerners. (Photo credit: Jason Prno)

About SCC

SCC is a Crown corporation and a portfolio of Industry Canada. With the goal of enhancing Canada’s economic competitiveness and social well-being, SCC leads and facilitates the development and use of national and international standards. SCC also coordinates Canadian participation in standards development, and identifies strategies to advance Canadian standardization efforts. Accreditation services are provided by SCC to various customers, including product certifiers and testing laboratories. SCC represents Canada at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and oversees CANC/IEC. For additional information on SCC, visit www.scc.ca, or send inquiries to [email protected].

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.


February 17, 2015