October 23, 2020
In 1920, Underwriters Laboratories of Canada, or UL, was incorporated with a mission to provide safety services to a country coming into its own. A key architect of the Canadian National Safety System and an indispensable contributor to federal, provincial and municipal public safety initiatives, UL in Canada has left its mark on the country for the past 100 years.
Today, as the most trusted science-based safety, security and sustainability partner, UL helps companies bring safer products to Canadian and global marketplaces.
“In Canada, we are really concentrating on the industries that matter most," said Jennifer Scanlon, CEO, UL Inc. "We look forward to another 100 years of excellence."
As Canada’s industries have grown, changed and innovated — so too has UL. From construction and engineering to energy and utilities, life safety and security to sustainable business, UL has helped advance the possibilities of today while safeguarding the unknowns of tomorrow.
“For the past 100 years, as our customers have innovated to succeed in their own industries, we too have innovated our proven scientific processes and solutions to drive positive change,” said Joseph Hosey, country manager for UL in Canada.
But, the organization could not have done this without the passion and commitment of its employees, who are just as passionate today about meeting their country's needs as they were over 100 years ago.
"In many ways, we behave like a startup," said Ryan Harper, a relative newcomer to the 100-year old company. "We focus on industries that matter to Canada, and we stay true to who we are as Canadians."
But, it's not only Harper who appears to hold this view of the company. Recent results from the Great Place to Work Trust Index© Survey proves it. UL in Canada received third-party certification by the Great Place to Work Institute, a company that measures employee experience across several different levels — credibility, respect, fairness, pride, performance and managerial index.
Said one survey respondent: "100 years is by far no small number. It takes organizations with purpose and great leadership, especially in the testing, inspection and certification (TIC) industry, to grow and continue growing. The work, its employees, do is immensely rewarding — personally, for the community and the world."
Local needs drive success
Developing solutions for local or regional needs within Canada is key to UL’s success. In 2017, UL acquired CLEB, a Montreal-based building envelope and building sciences service provider. A leader in the building envelope industry, CLEB's laboratory facilities were among the largest in North America with building science services that included building envelope testing, building forensics, field testing and building system commissioning for architects, building owners and manufacturers.
"The integration of these industry-leading services accelerated UL’s ability to serve the surging construction industry in Canada," Hosey said. "It showed our commitment to serving local customers wherever there was a need.”
In 2018, Canada was the first country to legalize recreational cannabis federally, and UL saw the need for safety services with this new and unregulated industry. UL recently partnered with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to host an international workshop agreement through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO.) UL is leading the development of industry guidelines, rules and regulations to address the safety, security and sustainability of facilities and operations in the legal cannabis industry.
Canada is a leader in providing energy safety solutions, not just to Canadian consumers but around the globe. In 2019, UL opened a new office in Edmonton, Alberta, to provide local support to the country’s energy hub. As UL recognizes the importance of secure and sustainable energy, this new location provides collaborative safety solutions for the market demand today, with a vision towards supporting the new and exciting energy solutions of the future.
Responding to uncertainty
2020 looked promising for the company. Business was off to a record start in the first three months, and then the pandemic hit.
The company shifted some of its business to a virtual model to compensate for modified working arrangements to keep its employees as well as its customers safe. Remote inspections, audits and even remote witness testing for UL's customers quickly became the norm.
"We swiftly mobilized our resources to support customers during this challenging time. It's less invasive to our clients' operations, and we can still deliver best-in-class services to our customers regardless of where they are,” said Hosey.
The next 100 years
As UL looks towards the next 100 years, its success firmly lies in its ability to support customer growth. UL partners with innovators in Canada to discover new possibilities and deliver what matters, safety, security, and sustainability.
“Canada has a lot to be proud of, now and in the future,” said Sajeev Jesudas, international president, UL. “UL is committed to its customers, and we’re here to help with challenges big or small. Whether it’s research and development, manufacturing automation or supply chain complexity, our customers can draw from the knowledge of our highly competent local teams.
Learn more about UL's century of trust in Canada.