Jennifer McLaughlin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Markham was recently awarded the ISO 37120 platinum certification by the World Council on City Data (WCCD). What exactly does that mean, and why should you care?
We often see ” ISO certified ” on the sides of buildings or beside company names. Derived from the Greek word “isos,” meaning “equal,” ISO is the name used by the International Organization of Standardization.
ISO is an independent, non-government membership organization and is the world’s largest developer of internationally agreed, voluntary standards with members from 165 countries.
The concept of global standards started with international trade in the early 1900s and the need for a quality standard for exchanged goods. ISO now defines, establishes, and maintains an effective quality assurance system for products, services, and management.
ISO standards apply to everything from manufacturing paper clips to environmental management and serve a broad range of industries and organizations – including cities.
WCCD created the ISO 37120 as the first ISO standard developed especially for cities. It contains 104 numeric indicators across 19 themes, including economy, education, health, telecom, transportation, and urban planning.
The key benefit, according to the City of Markham, is access to “quantitative, globally comparable and independently verified local-level data enabling any city, of any size, to measure and compare its social, economic, and environmental progress internally year over year, and also in relation to other peer cities locally and globally.”
Markham joined the WCCD as part of the three-year Data for Canadian Cities Pilot Project (DCCPP), funded by the Federal Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities, and was one of only 15 Canadian cities selected to participate.
“The City of Markham is honoured to be awarded the highest level of WCCD ISO 37120 certification for the third consecutive year,” Mayor Frank Scarpitti said. “We are proud to join a distinct list of world cities that share information to build more resilient, vibrant, and livable cities.
“We look forward to continuing to use the data to support decision making and collaborate.”
With a three-year baseline of data, city council and staff can make better policy decisions moving forward.
Markham joins more than 30 Canadian cities and 100 cities globally who consult with WCCD with this shared objective and will submit updated information annually for ongoing analysis.
“As an active and prominent participant in WCCD’s Canadian and Global Network, (Markham) stands out through its dedication to harnessing high caliber data to create a more prosperous, resilient, sustainable, inclusive, and smart future for its residents and visitors,” said Dr. Patricia McCarney, WCCD President and CEO.
As an ISO 37120-certified city, Markham can more efficiently and effectively support growth and development, problem-solve and make investment decisions. The ability to exchange strategies and insights with peer cities worldwide is invaluable.
For you, this means better city services and quality of life. As a tax-paying citizen, these are benefits you deserve.
Photo: Water and sanitation management is one of the 19 themes assessed in the ISO 37120 certification process.