Intergovernmental WHMIS Coordinating Committee (IWCC) Terms of Reference

The Intergovernmental Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Coordinating Committee (IWCC) is a forum for regulators from federal, provincial and territorial governments to exchange information and ideas related to WHMIS.  In the spirit of the intergovernmental cooperation enshrined in the WHMIS Memoranda of Understanding between these governments, the IWCC will focus on policies, legislation and associated regulations to enhance worker protection through effective hazard communication.


The mandate of the IWCC is to strengthen federal/provincial/territorial relationships in the area of WHMIS and to serve as the forum for intergovernmental coordination of WHMIS.  The primary focus of the Committee is to further the development of federal WHMIS policies through the exchange of information, ideas and advice.   The IWCC seeks to achieve a common approach to WHMIS, which is then reflected through government positions on issues to be discussed at the WHMIS Current Issues Committee.

The IWCC also provides a forum to facilitate discussions of a technical nature on WHMIS topics of interest to multiple jurisdictions.  When such a topic arises (e.g. enforcement issues), a subcommittee may be formed, as appropriate, to address the technical topic(s) and inform the IWCC of outcomes.


The IWCC will be chaired by a representative of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate in Health Canada.  The Chair will lead and facilitate Committee deliberations and represent the collective voice of the Committee when required.  In consultation with IWCC members, the Chair will form subcommittees, as appropriate, to address technical issues.

In the event that a subcommittee is formed, the sub-committee Chair will be designated by the sub-committee members.  The sub-committee chair will convene and facilitate the deliberations, as well as report progress back to the Committee.


IWCC members represent their respective jurisdictions and are accountable to be the liaison between their jurisdictions and Health Canada on all matters before the Committee.

Members (or their alternates) will:

  • Work cooperatively towards the common vision;
  • Attend IWCC meetings and engage in effective exchanges of ideas on which all members can build;
  • Share federal/provincial/territorial relevant information on WHIMIS policies, legislation, regulations, technical issues and best practices;
  • Take the lead on designated projects and action items;
  • Provide comments and inputs to proposed documents in a timely fashion; and
  • Report on federal/provincial/territorial activities to their respective senior officials.

In addition to the above, Health Canada will:

  • Provide updates on developments related to WHMIS resulting from international engagements.


IWCC membership shall be comprised of the Chair and representatives of WHMIS governmental agencies from each of the provinces and territories, as well as the Labour Program in Employment and Social Development Canada and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate in Health Canada.  Each jurisdiction or organization will choose its representative and alternate on the Committee.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety will observe IWCC meetings, supporting and/or providing ideas and insights for consideration by Committee members.

The Chair may invite an individual with particular expertise or experience to observe an IWCC meeting and/or to attend a meeting to provide input on an agenda item or to answer specific questions from IWCC members.  Presenters and observers may not participate in discussions at IWCC meetings unless invited to do so by the Chair.


Quorum will be met by the attendance of a simple majority of the membership.  When a member is unable to attend an IWCC meeting, the participation of his/her alternate will be counted for the purposes of establishing quorum.

Meeting Frequency

The IWCC will generally hold meetings via teleconference.  While meetings may be held on an as needed basis, it is expected that meetings will occur at least once a quarter.  When available information and/or issues warrant it, the IWCC shall meet monthly.  A face-to-face meeting may also be held once a year.  In the event of face-to-face meetings, each jurisdiction will provide for the travel costs of its own members.


Items for meeting agendas will be determined by the Chair, with input from members.  The Secretariat provides the agenda, along with supporting materials, to IWCC members by email at least five working days prior to the meeting.


On agenda items related to the Hazardous Products Act or other matters within its purview, Health Canada will seek agreement from IWCC members on shared recommendations to decision-makers.  If agreement cannot be reached, Health Canada will decide on the recommendations to be made and the different views of IWCC members will be reflected in a meeting summary and in communications with decision-makers as appropriate.


The Secretariat will reside at the Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate in Health Canada to administer and facilitate the work of the IWCC. The Secretariat functions will include:

  1. The provision of advice and support for the substantive and administrative functions of the Committee, including scheduling meetings, coordinating and electronically distributing meeting agendas and materials;
  2. The provision of translation services; and
  3. The preparation of a summary of meeting discussions and the distribution of the summary for review and comments by IWCC members.

Review of the Terms of Reference

The IWCC Terms of Reference will be reviewed at least once every three years. Any changes to the Terms of Reference will be made following consultation with IWCC members.

Effective Date:   November 19, 2013
Next Review Date:  November 19, 2016

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