What Cannabis Quality Assurance Students Should Know About Audits

cannabis quality assurance training

Audits from Health Canada and third parties prevent companies from relying solely on internal teams to judge quality. If internal assessments are all that a company has, standards can fall. As a part of ongoing regulatory requirements, Health Canada conducts audits of cannabis facilities. In most cases, it will not conduct a fully conclusive audit of all factors, but rather will evaluate specific areas of the business.

Some companies choose to have a third party audit the company, so that they can be sure all areas are up to par before Health Canada conducts its audits. There are also different types of audits, including:

  • Introductory
  • Pre-sales
  • Targeted
  • Annual

Read on to learn more about audits in the cannabis industry and what you should know!

Annual inspections are part of maintaining high-quality practices

Annual inspections are part of maintaining high-quality practices

Third Party Audits for Cannabis Quality Assurance

Different levels of the cannabis supply chain may opt for third party audits:

  • Cannabis farmers
  • Extractors
  • Manufacturers

These third parties can provide an extra perspective outside of the company and workplace. Looking at operations and quality with fresh eyes can mean an unbiased opinion and the opportunity to improve things that aren’t working and keep going with things that are. Some benefits of a third party audit include:

  • Safer products
  • More consistency
  • Higher quality
  • Ensuring compliance
  • The opportunity to market higher standards over competition
  • Potentially more brand loyalty

This information is helpful after cannabis quality assurance training, whether you work in the quality department of a cannabis company, for a third party, or elsewhere in quality assurance.

How to Prepare for Audits in a Cannabis Quality Assurance Department

If you’re working for a company in quality assurance, you’ll want to know how to be prepared for audits, both third party and Health Canada. Here are a few tips:

  • Use the standards of the audit to revise and self-assess, well in advance of the actual visit
  • Have all levels of the company, including management, on board to provide resources needed
  • Create checklists, based on audit criteria
  • Prioritize training to cover safety and quality for all employees
  • Conduct internal audits to prepare and evaluate
  • If using third party assessments, they can prepare you for Health Canada audits

Being ready for audits means that the company has better evaluations, but it’s also a way to use audits as guidelines to improve. Preparing for an audit allows the company to re-evaluate weaknesses and strengths, improving their performance and brand.

Being prepared for audits makes a company better overall

Being prepared for audits makes a company better overall

Types of Inspections by Health Canada

Graduates of cannabis quality assurance courses know that Health Canada conducts various types of inspections.

  • Introductory Inspections evaluate factors like physical security, record-keeping, licence restrictions, and Good Production Practices (GPP)
  • Pre-sales Inspections come before a sales licence is issued, focusing on GPP, packaging, shipping, labelling, record-keeping, etc.
  • Targeted Inspections evaluate specific areas of the guidelines
  • Annual Inspections are for monitoring compliance with standards each year

In these inspections, observations are problems noted where requirements are not being met. These can be categorized as:

  • minor observations;
  • major observations; or
  • critical observations

When observations are minor, it’s not likely that risk or harm will come from them. Major observations may increase risk/harm, while critical observations are likely to point to risk and/or harm.

Minor observations tell companies what they need to improve

Minor observations tell companies what they need to improve

Are you interested in cannabis quality assurance?

Contact AAPS to learn more about pursuing a career in the field!