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Environmental and Workplace Health

Exemptions for Confidential Business Information

Protection of Confidential Business Information (CBI) for workplace hazardous products

When a supplier or employer wants to be exempt from having to disclose confidential business information (CBI), such as the chemical identity of one or more trade-secret hazardous ingredients, they must file a claim for exemption with Health Canada. Once a complete application is received, a Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) registry number is assigned to the claim by Health Canada. The HMIRA number is required to be shown on the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and for certain claims, on the label, for that product to be sold on the Canadian market.

As of April 1, 2013, the responsibilities and functions under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) related to claims for exemptions for confidential business information were transferred from the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission to Health Canada. This was an administrative change that focused on generating general efficiencies within the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) program, already operating at Health Canada.

A more fulsome assessment of the CBI process which considered feedback received from stakeholders determined there was a need for additional change. Some short term changes were communicated to stakeholders on February 13, 2014 and subsequently implemented. In this same correspondence, Health Canada indicated that additional changes would be brought to the CBI process and tested through a pilot with stakeholders. These additional changes were detailed in a concept paper which was communicated to stakeholders on June 25, 2014. For a copy of the concept paper or for any questions about the pilot project, please contact WHMIS-SIMDUT.conf@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Health Canada continues to administer the HMIRA and associated regulations by doing the following:

  • Review claims for the protection of CBI under HMIRA;
  • Evaluate the MSDS and/or WHMIS Supplier Label associated with a CBI claim for compliance with the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Controlled Products Regulations (CPR);
  • Issue Notices of Filing, Notices of Decisions, Undertakings and Orders;
  • Administer the appeals function under the HMIRA.

For information on WHMIS go to WHMIS.gc.ca, email WHMIS_SIMDUT@hc-sc.gc.ca, or call 1-855-407-2665.

For claimants: To get information on claims, please email WHMIS-SIMDUT.conf@hc-sc.gc.ca.