Our History

Our History


The American College of Surgeons (ACS), of which Canada is an active member, begins developing a hospital standardization program. The first Minimum Standard for Hospitals is developed and the requirements fill just one page.


The ACS begins on-site inspections of hospitals. Only 89 of 692 hospitals surveyed meet the requirements of the Minimum Standard.


The first Standards Manual is printed and consists of 18 pages.


The Canadian Hospital Association (now HealthCareCAN), the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and l’Association des médecins de langue française du Canada, establish the Canadian Commission on Hospital Accreditation. The commission’s purpose is to create a Canadian program for hospital accreditation.


The Commission realizes its goal with the incorporation of the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation. The Council’s purpose is to set standards for Canadian hospitals and evaluate their compliance. The accreditation program is voluntary, free from government intervention, national, bilingual, and not-for-profit.


The accreditation program continues to grow in popularity. In 1960, there are less than 350 accredited hospitals in Canada. By the end of 1980 there are 850, and in 1988 the number of accredited facilities approaches 1,300.


Accreditation of smaller and special hospitals begins.


Accreditation of mental health hospitals begins.


Accreditation of long-term care centres begins.


The Canadian Long Term Care Association (now the Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care) joins the Council’s Board of Directors.


Hospital administrators join physicians and nurses as surveyors.


The accreditation of rehabilitation facilities begins.


The Council changes its name to the Canadian Council on Health Facilities Accreditation (CCHFA) in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary.


Standards documents are revised to focus on structure and process, and begin to look at outcomes.


The Council’s Board of Directors expands to include representatives from the Association of Canadian Teaching Hospitals, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian College of Health Service Executives (now the Canadian College of Health Leaders), and a consumer representative.


To more accurately reflect its clients and customers, the Council changes its name to the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation (CCHSA). The client-centred accreditation program is launched. This revised accreditation program focuses on an organization’s patient care processes. The philosophy of continuously improving the quality of care and service is also incorporated, and organizations are asked to begin developing and using performance indicators.


The accreditation of home care services gets underway and work on the Achieving Improved Measurement (AIM) Project begins. This project, which is to launch in 2000, sees revisions made to the accreditation program to emphasize better measurement.


Council is surveyed by international accrediting organizations. A new team is established to better serve Québec’s specific needs. A draft accreditation program is developed for Acquired Brain Injury Services and the first pilot test organization has its survey. A draft accreditation program is developed for First Nations and Inuit Substance Abuse Services. A draft standard for the AIM project is prepared and ready for phase 1 pilot testing. The Board of Directors decides to move to a policy governance model.


Phase 1 and phase 2 of AIM pilot testing is completed. Pilot testing for six acute indicators is completed. First Nations and Inuit Substance Abuse Services draft standards are approved and five pilot organizations are surveyed. The Medical Services Branch of Health Canada agrees to fund the launch and implementation of the program. Seven pilot surveys are completed for Acquired Brain Injury.


An International Services division (under CCHSA International) is launched to service clients outside of Canada. CCHSA International will later become Accreditation Canada International.


Continued advancements are made in the use of technology as we move towards automation of our Accreditation Program. The one-stop customer service model is introduced, which sees the implementation of Accreditation Specialists to assist health service organizations. There is continued development of new standards and programs for a number of markets.


A series of regional Surveyors’ Conferences are held in locations across the country. A separate Education Development arm is implemented and work in this area is intensified. Work towards a pilot comparative report is initiated. CCHSA undergoes its own accreditation survey through ISQua.


Rating scale definitions are improved to ensure they are clear and consistent in their interpretation. Recognition Guidelines are modified to include a new conditional level – Accreditation with Report and Focused Visit. The Board of Directors completes a three-year plan that identifies four key directions the CCHSA will need to consider over the next three years: strategic positioning/national recognition, accreditation program improvements, human resources, and information management systems.


Conference Board of Canada presents CCHSA with a national award for governance for the not-for-profit sector. A highly successful Surveyors’ Conference is held in Ottawa.


Work begins on developing the new Accreditation Program.


CCHSA introduces new standards on Child Welfare, Hospice Palliative and End-of-Life Care, Biomedical Laboratory Services, and supplementary criteria for Telehealth. CCHSA successfully undergoes its third ISQua survey.


Three hundred and seventy surveyors participate in the National Surveyors’ Conference in Ottawa. CCHSA opens offices in Edmonton and Montreal. Thirty-one organizations in more than a dozen countries participate in CCHSA International’s program. CCHSA signs a partnership agreement with the Conseil Québécois d’Agrément (CQA) to provide specialized accreditation in Quebec.


The new Qmentum Accreditation Program with its enhanced focus on quality improvement and patient safety is launched. CCHSA becomes Accreditation Canada. Although the name is new, the commitment to a rigorous, comprehensive, and consultative approach to driving quality health services through accreditation remains unchanged.


New Required Organizational Practices come into effect for restricting the use of dangerous abbreviations, heparin safety, narcotics safety, hand hygiene audit, pressure ulcer prevention, and suicide prevention. Accreditation Canada presents Ethics in Health Care, a national conference showcasing tools and strategies organizations need to deal with sensitive ethical issues that arise in health care.

A five-year agreement is signed with CSA Standards to ensure continued collaboration on initiatives including reprocessing and sterilization, organ and tissue donation and transplant, and infection prevention and control. Accreditation Canada International pilot tests the new Qmentum International accreditation program and pursues health care quality improvement initiatives in Costa Rica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Albania, and the United Arab Emirates.


Accreditation Canada is recognized as a Top 25 Employer in the National Capital Region by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, an annual competition to recognize Canada’s best places to work.

Accreditation Canada undergoes its fourth ISQua survey, achieving three accreditation awards from ISQua — for the organization, the standards and the surveyor training program. The doors of the new head office are officially opened and Qmentum International is launched.

The first surveys using this new program tailored to international clients take place in St. Lucia and Saudi Arabia. New standards are introduced to the Qmentum program to support clients in a number of health care sectors, including organ and tissue donation, point-of-care testing, primary care, and home support services. Four new Required Organizational Practices (ROPs), which apply to surveys starting in 2011, are added to Qmentum. The ROPs address workplace violence prevention, home safety risk assessment, safe surgery checklist, and venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis.

The first international program for acute care, primary care, ambulatory care and clinical laboratories is launched in the Philippines. 


Accreditation Canada International is established with Sébastien Audette as its first Chief Executive Officer. This part of the organization also establishes the Qmentum International Collaboration Center network with the Kuwait Ministry of Health.


This year’s Canadian Health Accreditation Report—Emerging Risks, Focused Improvements—highlights the contribution of ROPs to improving quality and patient safety. In collaboration with the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada, Accreditation Canada produces Medication Reconciliation in Canada: Raising the Bar, a report providing a new perspective on medication reconciliation across the continuum of care. Also, the first annual Accreditation Canada Quality Conference takes place as well as the Accreditation Forum 2012: Making the Link and, the 2012-14 Patient Safety Strategy: Achieving Safe Care is released.

Qmentum International undergoes a major expansion, adding four new sets of standards. The Qmentum International program also launches in Portuguese in Brazil and in Italian. Also, Accreditation Canada is recognized as a Top 25 Employer of the National Capital Region for the third year in a row.


The Health Council of Canada chooses Accreditation Canada’s Leading Practices Database as the new home for its Health Innovation Portal content. Advisory Services, an additional resource for clients, is introduced. This year’s Canadian Health Accreditation Report focuses on transitions of care and the critical role they play in safe and efficient health care. The Path to Accreditation, an online step-by-step resource to support Accreditation Coordinators is developed.

The Qmentum International Collaboration Center Network welcomes Instituto Qualisa de Gestão (IQG) in Brazil and the Netherlands Institute for Accreditation in Healthcare (NIAZ). The Qmentum accreditation cycle is changed from three years to four years. New features are also added to the on-site survey process, making the data richer and more relevant to clients.

For the fourth consecutive year, Accreditation Canada is recognized as a Top 25 employer in the National Capital Region.


Accreditation Canada works with partners from across Canada to strengthen content on client- and family- centred care (CFCC), resulting in a comprehensive shift in focus throughout the Qmentum accreditation program. CFCC elements are integrated throughout most of the Qmentum standards with an eye to creating and nurturing mutually beneficial partnerships among the organization’s staff and the public (i.e. clients, patients and residents). Here, the second annual Accreditation Forum takes place in Vancouver, B.C.

Accreditation Canada receives the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres’ 2014 Citizenship Award for commitment to the health and well-being of Canada’s children and youth, and also celebrates a fifth consecutive year as one of the Top 25 Employers in the National Capital Region.

Accreditation Canada International addresses the MERS-CoV crisis in Saudi Arabia, mobilizing more than 50 experts to help contain and control the outbreak. This initiative was led by the Central Board of Health Institutions and helped to save many lives.

Additionally, the number of standards in Qmentum International reaches 38 and a Trauma Distinction Program is introduced. The organization also expands its client base to Peru.


On Feb. 1, 2017, Accreditation Canada International merged with Accreditation Canada and Health Standards Organization (HSO) was created, separating assessment programs from standards development.

The merger and creation of HSO allows Accreditation Canada to deliver stronger, more credible and outcome-oriented assessment programs based on more than 100 best-in-class health and social services standards developed by HSO.

Responding to changes taking place in the global health care landscape, Accreditation Canada and HSO focus on helping clients save and improve lives in their local contexts.

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