CLSAB and Lumber Grading Quality

The Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board (CLSAB) is the official body that monitors the quality of Canada’s lumber grading and identification system.

In the late 1950’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) made the decision that lumber should be grade marked under a nationally organized system to protect home buyers by providing a further assurance of quality in the homes constructed under CMHC requirements.

In early 1959 the first meeting of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Committee of Standards for Yard Lumber was held with the Forest Products Research Branch (FPRB) of the Canadian Forest Service holding the Chairman (J.H. Jenkins) and Secretary (J.A. Doyle) positions.  The Committee was responsible for developing a national standard for the grading of softwood lumber in house construction.  The FPRB held the positions of Chairman and Secretary as they were responsible for developing the design values for Canadian lumber.  The Committee developed the CSA Specification “O-141-1959 Yard Lumber”.  The Committee met five (5) times between early 1959 and April 20, 1960 and upon completion of the national standard was replaced by the Canadian Lumber Standards Committee operating under CSA.

The CLS Committee operated from April, 1960 to October 1962 before being replaced by the Canadian Lumber Standards Administration Board.  This structure was maintained until February 19, 1982 when the Canadian Lumber Standards Administration Board was reorganized to form the Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board as a federally incorporated no-share non-profit corporation under Part II of the Canadian Business Corporations Act.   Part II provides for the incorporation of organizations for the purpose of carrying on, without pecuniary gain to its Members, purposes to which the Parliament of Canada extends legislative authority, which are among other things, scientific, professional or the like objects.  

It has four main roles:
  • control the identification and certification of lumber
  • accredit and supervise lumber grading agencies
  • review and approve grading rules and product standards related to grading agencies
  • promote acceptance of the Canadian lumber grading system in foreign markets
The CLSAB is overseen by a Board of Directors carefully chosen to provide a balance of lumber producers, lumber users, standards bodies, research organizations, financial institutions, and government.

Its work is recognized and relied upon by government and standards agencies in this country and overseas, and referenced in the National and Provincial Building Codes across Canada.

Lumber grading in Canada is an all-encompassing system which includes:
  • training and supervision of graders
  • consensus-based grading rules, product standards and regulations
  • contract responsibilities
  • review of mill grading and operations by CLSAB Accredited Agencies
  • review of agencies’ performance by CLSAB