In general terms, a standard is an established norm or requirement that helps ensure that desirable characteristics such as quality, environmental friendliness, safety, reliability, efficiency and interchangeability are achieved.
The standard itself is usually a formal document that defines uniform methods, processes and practices. The working environment is full of standards that describe how work is to be done in a way that, if followed, will protect the public and the service provider.
When products and services meet expectations, the role of standards tends to be taken for granted. However, when standards are absent or not followed, it is soon noticed, especially when the consequences are dangerous.
Importance of Standards to Technology Professionals
From the technology professional's perspective, standards of practice – typically defined by government legislation or by generally accepted industry practice – help practitioners understand and provide their services while taking professional responsibility within their field and within the definition of their scope of practice.
Some provincial associations publish a number of Guides to Professional Practice which define the scope of practice within specific disciplines.
As noted earlier, the National Technology Benchmarks (NTBs) are the standards used for certification, registration and post-secondary course accreditation in Canada.