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Environmental and Workplace Health

WHMIS 2015

On February 11, 2015, the Government of Canada published in the Canada Gazette, Part II the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), which, in addition to the amendments made to the Hazardous Products Act under the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No.1, modified the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) 1988 to incorporate the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace chemicals. This modified WHMIS is referred to as WHMIS 2015. The Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) and the Ingredient Disclosure List have been repealed.

While WHMIS 2015 includes new harmonized criteria for hazard classification and requirements for labels and safety data sheets (SDS), the roles and responsibilities for suppliers, employers and workers have not changed.

Suppliers, defined as persons who, in the course of business, sell or import a hazardous product, will continue to:

  • identify whether their products are hazardous products; and,
  • prepare labels and SDSs and provide these to purchasers of hazardous products intended for use in a workplace.

Employers will continue to:

  • educate and train workers on the hazards and safe use of hazardous products in the workplace;
  • ensure that hazardous products are properly labelled;
  • prepare workplace labels and SDSs (as necessary); and,
  • ensure appropriate control measures are in place to protect the health and safety of workers.

Workers will continue to:

  • participate in WHMIS and chemical safety training programs;
  • take necessary steps to protect themselves and their co-workers; and,
  • participate in identifying and controlling hazards.

To provide Canadian suppliers, employers and workers time to adjust to WHMIS 2015, there is a transition period. During this period, suppliers are allowed to either continue to comply with the old HPA and the repealed CPR and Ingredient Disclosure List, or they must comply with the new HPA and the new HPR. However, the supplier must fully comply with either the old HPA/repealed CPR/Ingredient Disclosure List or the new HPA and HPR for a specific controlled or hazardous product. The classification, label and (material) SDS must comply fully with the specific legislation and regulation chosen by the supplier, and not a combination of the two.

A label or SDS that is compliant with the United States Hazard Communication Standard (2012) may not be sufficient for compliance in Canada. The supplier must be compliant with the Canadian requirements, whether the CPR or the HPR.

For more information on the transition period, please refer to WHMIS Transition.