October 28, 2015

MRIA is the official voice of market research in Canada, and one of our key deliverables is to assure quality in market research performed by our members.

You Speak

Gold Seal Certification continues to be one of MRIA's primary mechanisms for developing and delivering world-class professional standards to the Canadian marketplace. Recent feedback from our members indicated that the certification process was overly complicated and cumbersome to complete. As well, members expressed the need for greater flexibility and targeted entry into various Gold Seal categories, as opposed to a “one size fits all” approach.

We Listen

MRIA is happy to announce exciting changes coming to the Gold Seal Certification Process in 2016. Existing Gold Seal Agencies and those corporate members aspiring to become Gold Seal certified can look forward to:

  • No fees for initial certification or re-certification of corporate members.  With the changes to the Corporate Member fee structure in 2014, the Gold Seal certification process is now a free service to membership
  • A streamlined application and comprehensive questionnaire, currently being tested in the field to ensure that the process is user friendly from start to finish
  • More entry points to becoming Gold Seal certified. Are you a smaller agency that does great work? A specialist in particular areas of the market research industry? MRIA has a Gold Seal certification that meets your specific needs

Things Change

MRIA’s revamped Gold Seal certification process will officially launch on January 4 2016. The Association is excited by the prospect of organizations from all areas of the market research industry applying for Gold Seal certification. MRIA will continue to improve the certification process, making it efficient for applicants while showing the industry that Gold Seal members maintain the highest standards possible in performing market research in Canada.

Look for further updates from MRIA regarding the Gold Seal certification process in the coming weeks. If members have any questions, comments or concerns please reach out to the Association.



"The Gold Seal Certification process really helped us implement new operating procedures to improve our client deliverables."

New Gold Seal certified Research Agency

MRIA's Gold Seal Certification involves:

Gold Seal Certification is one of MRIA's primary mechanisms for achieving its Strategic Objective of developing and delivering world-class professional standards and ensuring member compliance.

New Gold Seal applicants:

  • After processing your MRIA Gold Seal membership transaction in the MRIA Portal, you will be contacted by MRIA to review the benefits and terms and conditions associated with the Gold Seal certification
  • MRIA will send you a template for the two Letters of Reference necessary in support of your application for MRIA Gold Seal Corporate Research Agency membership
  • Please forward this template to principals of two existing corporate members of the Association who are well-acquainted with your firm. One of these letters must be submitted by a Corporate Research Agency member and the other can be submitted by either a Corporate Research Agency member or a Corporate Client-Side Researcher member of MRIA
  • Once each Letter of Reference is completed and signed by the Corporate member on its corporate letterhead, it must be returned directly to MRIA
  • As soon as these letters of reference are received by MRIA, they will be reviewed. Upon their acceptance by the Association, you will receive a subsequent email including the Gold Seal Certification Self-Assessment Questionnaire  - which will be completed with the oversight and assistance of MRIA's Compliance Officer - ideally within a four to six week turnaround
  • The Gold Seal Questionnaire provides a firm's senior management with an opportunity to assess how effectively their organization complies with MRIA Standards. In completing the Questionnaire, it is vital to fully complete those parts that ask for a description of "the control process which supports the existence of such information across all projects." This means a description of the procedures your firm follows to ensure compliance with MRIA Standards. In this way, the Self-Assessment Questionnaire stimulates a focus on control processes and can assist management in increasing its own comfort level, while at the same time satisfying the requirements of the Gold Seal Certification process
  • Shortly after submission of your completed Questionnaire, MRIA's Compliance Officer will contact your firm's designated management representative to schedule an interview with him/her and/or your Standards Officer. In this interview, the Compliance Officer will seek to gain assurance that the processes in place are sufficient to ensure that your organization is consistently in compliance with MRIA Standards. The Compliance Officer will ask questions that will challenge the assertions made in your Questionnaire responses, to further assess Standards compliance. The Compliance Officer may also request documentary evidence to support the Questionnaire response statements
  • At the conclusion of the Certification interview, the Compliance Officer will provide your firm with a verbal report on its compliance with MRIA Standards, including any action steps that need to be taken to address problem areas and any issues that have been noted for follow-up
  • The Compliance Officer will provide MRIA's Chief Executive Officer with a written determination as to your firm's Certification Review, at which time the Association will communicate with you about your Gold Seal Certification status.
  • In the case of a particular Gold Seal Certification Report which indicates that further action is needed, the Compliance Officer will arrange additional meetings with the Agency to review problem areas and a timeframe to resolve them. A subsequent Compliance Officer's report to MRIA will confirm satisfactory completion of this activity, and provide a current determination as to the firm's Gold Seal Certification status.
  • Click here for a complete list of MRIA Corporate Research Agencies - Gold Seal members.

The Gold Seal Certification monitored self-assessment process is mandatory for MRIA Corporate Research Agency - Gold Seal Members, when they first apply for this membership type and at least once every three years thereafter.

Click here for a complete list of MRIA Corporate Research Agencies - Gold Seal members.


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