Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System 2015 - Applies to workplaces under federal and provincial or territorial regulation

List of acronyms and abbreviations

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
Globally Harmonized System
Hazardous Products Act
Hazardous Products Regulations
Safety data sheets
Occupational health and safety
Employment and Social Development Canada
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Material safety data sheets

A coordination of certain provisions of federal, provincial and territorial legislation facilitated the implementation of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System 2015. WHMIS 2015 is in line with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the new Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), which replaces the Controlled Products Regulations , requires Canadian suppliers (including importers and distributors) to provide supplier labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) for hazardous products that are sold or imported for use in Canadian workplaces.

Health Canada administers the HPA and HPR in partnership with provincial, federal and territorial agencies responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS). Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Labour Program is the WHMIS 2015 regulatory authority for OHS in federally-regulated workplaces.

The national WHMIS web site provides a consistent means of disseminating all national policies/information related to this program in Canada. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) developed and maintained the national site on behalf of Health Canada's WHMIS Division. The CCOHS works in consultation with and on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial government WHMIS 2015 regulatory authorities.

Each of the 13 provincial, territorial and federal agencies responsible for OHS, establish their own hazardous substance requirements within their respective jurisdiction including the provisions of WHMIS 2015. These requirements place an onus on employers to ensure that hazardous products used, stored, handled or disposed of in the workplace are properly labelled and SDSs are made available to employees. Employers must also provide employees with education and training to ensure the safe storage, handling and use of hazardous products in the workplace.

The Labour Program of ESDC administers the WHMIS 2015 employer requirements for federally regulated workplaces in partnership with Transport Canada and the Canada Energy Regulator. Transport Canada is responsible for on-board employees in the following federally regulated sectors:

  • aviation
  • marine, and
  • rail

The Canada Energy Regulator is responsible for federally regulated workplaces in the oil and gas sector.

The WHMIS 2015 employer requirements have been incorporated in the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and proposed regulations dealing with Hazardous Substances made pursuant to the Code were pre-published in Canada Gazette, Part I, in July 2015.

These proposed regulations would amend:

Implementation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

Implementation of the GHS will be gradual to provide employers time to adapt to the new system. It will take place in phases over a multi-year time frame and synchronized nationally across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions.

There are two proposed transition periods for federally regulated employers.

  • The first transition period would begin when the regulations come into force and end on November 30, 2018.
    • During this time, employers would use either the old or new requirements.
  • The second transition period would begin December 1, 2018.
    • Employers would have to comply with the new requirements and ensure that all employees are adequately trained.
    • If on December 1, 2018, employers still have hazardous products that meet the requirements under the old regime, they must use those products by May 31, 2019.

As of June 1, 2019, it is proposed that all products within federally regulated workplaces must comply with the new requirements. On that date, the transition to WHMIS 2015 will be complete for all federally regulated workplaces.

As an employee, your employer must educate and train you to understand the new pictograms. You should also understand where to find information before you use a hazardous product with a WHMIS 2015 label and Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

If there are products with WHMIS 1988 labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) in your workplace

Any new employee will need training on WHMIS 2015 and WHMIS 1988 until there are no longer products with WHMIS 1988 labels and MSDSs in their workplace.

For more information see:

Available Training (eCourses) for WHMIS 2015

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