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 Registry Number is required to be shown on the (material) safety data sheets ((M)SDSs) and for certain claims, on the label, for that product to be sold on the Canadian market or imported into Canada without disclosure of the CBI.

As of April 1, 2013, the responsibilities and functions related to claims for exemptions for CBI 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.

The trade secret mechanism is maintained under WHMIS 2015 and will continue to function through the transition period.

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

  • Reviewing claims for the protection of CBI filed under the HMIRA by suppliers or employers subject to the Canada Labour Code;
  • Evaluating the (M)SDS and/or label associated with a CBI claim for compliance with the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR). Compliance with the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) is permitted during the transition period;
  • Issuing Notices of Filing, Notices of Decisions, Undertakings and Orders;
  • Administering the appeals function under the HMIRA.

In addition, Health Canada continues to administer the trade secret mechanism for employers offered by each provincial and territorial occupational safety and health jurisdiction, on their behalf.

For information on WHMIS, including WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015, see WHMIS.gc.ca, or Contacts for WHMIS.

For claimants: To get information on claims, please email hc.whmis.claim-demande.simdut.sc@canada.ca.

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