Regulators and the Canadian suppliers, importers and employers who must comply with WHMIS legislation need to share a common understanding of how compliance is carried out. The objective of this page of the Health Canada website is to promote this mutual understanding.
"Canadians view health, safety, the quality of the environment, and economic and social well-being as important concerns. The government's regulatory activity in these areas is part of its responsibility to serve the public interest" (ref.: Government of Canada Regulatory Policy).
Compliance activities relating to the WHMIS supplier labelling and MSDS requirements of the HPA are conducted by Health Canada and the provincial, territorial and federal agencies responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS). Pursuant to subsection 21(1) of the HPA, the Minister of Health Canada designates individuals nominated by these OHS agencies as inspectors and analysts for the purposes of conducting the inspection program in support of the WHMIS requirements of the HPA. The OHS agencies also conduct the compliance program for the WHMIS employer requirements established under their respective legislation.
The Government of Canada Regulatory Policy (1999), now administered by the Privy Council Office, applies to all federal regulatory authorities. Under this policy, regulatory authorities are responsible for developing, maintaining and enforcing regulatory programs that follow the federal regulatory policy and for having regulatory management systems in place that meet the standards set out in the policy. The policy stipulates the following:
With the exception of federally regulated workplaces, the supplier and employer requirements for WHMIS, Canada's hazard communication standard, have been established under legislation administered by different levels of Government. The objective of WHMIS is to ensure the protection of Canadian workers from the adverse effects of hazardous materials through the provision of relevant information. As WHMIS is an information continuum, regulators expressed a desire to establish a single compliance policy for both the supplier and employer requirements.
The National WHMIS Compliance Policy, sets out: