Call for nominations to the HMIRA MAC

Health Canada is in the process of establishing a Ministerial Advisory Council (Council) established under Section 28 of the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA).  The Council will provide advice and assistance to the Minister of Health on matters related to the operation of the Act.

A call for nominations to the Council was undertaken between May 7 and July 31, 2014.

Qualifications of Council Members

The Council will be comprised of individuals who offer a range of perspectives. The Council is a technical board whose members require appropriate qualifications in the field of occupational health and safety to perform duties such as making recommendations related to the administration of the HMIRA, as well as discussing policy issues pertaining to confidential business information related to hazardous materials used in workplaces in Canada.

The members appointed on the Council would also have the appropriate knowledge, skills, expertise and qualifications to work cooperatively and constructively in a tripartite (suppliers, workers, government) environment.

What Members Should Expect

In accordance with Subsection 28(2) of the HMIRA, the Council will have nine to eighteen members, consisting of:

  • Two members representing workers;
  • One member representing suppliers;
  • One member representing employers;
  • One member representing the Government of Canada; and
  • Not fewer than four and not more than thirteen members representing the governments of the provinces and territories.

Members are appointed at pleasure for a period of up to three years. Council members serve on a voluntary basis. Health Canada undertakes to provide Council members with protection against civil liability provided the member acts in good faith, within the scope of their volunteer duties, and does not act against the interests of the Crown.  Members act collectively to advise the Minister of Health with respect to the mandate of the Council but they are not final decision-makers. The Minister of Health has the ultimate responsibility and accountability for any decision resulting from the advice received from the Council.

As a condition of appointment, Council members will allow Health Canada to publish on its website and in print materials, a biography and summary of their affiliations and interests.

Background

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) requires that suppliers provide employers with information on the hazardous products sold or imported for use in Canadian workplaces.  Employers in turn provide this information to workers through safety data sheets, labels and worker education programs.

The HMIRA is an important piece of the WHMIS legislative framework, as it allows suppliers and employers to comply with regulatory requirements for hazard communication in workplaces across Canada without disclosing confidential business information and, at the same time, ensures that workers are provided with the health and safety information that they require in order to handle hazardous materials safely.

The Minister of Health relies on input from multiple stakeholders in order to successfully administer the HMIRA and respect the balance between the protection of confidential business information and the workers "right-to-know'.

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