Canada’s WHMIS 2015 Implementation is Being Delayed

6 June, 2017

What’s Happening?

On February 11, 2015, the Government of Canada published the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) which modified the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) by incorporating the requirements of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).  WHMIS is Canada’s national hazard communication standard.

The final deadline for Canada’s WHMIS 2015 compliance for manufacturers and importers of June 1, 2017 has been delayed by one year to June 1, 2018.

How Could it Impact Me?

The Canadian Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) was modified to include the hazard classification and communication requirements of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The implementation of GHS has been delayed due to discussions with industry regarding the disclosure of confidential business information (CBI) on SDSs.  These discussions may result in amendment changes to the final HPR.  As it currently stands, the HPR requires suppliers to submit a fee in order to claim information in the SDS as proprietary information, unlike in the US which does not involve an application process and fee.  With the deadline delayed, Canadian authorities now have ample time to conclude CBI issues and revise the HPR accordingly, if required. This delay will also provide suppliers, employers and workers more time to adjust and comply with the new requirements (pictograms, labeling and SDS requirements, revised classification requirements) resulting from the alignment of WHMIS 2015 with GHS. 

During this extension, suppliers must comply with the requirements of WHMIS 1988. Suppliers may choose, if they are prepared, to comply with WHMIS 2015.

  • By June 1, 2018, suppliers (manufacturers and importers) will need to comply with the requirements of the HPR.
  • By September 1, 2018, all distributors will need to comply with the requirements of the HPR.

By December 1, 2018, the full implementation of WHMIS 2015 will be complete, and all employers will need to comply with these standards.

Quick Summary

WHMIS is Canada’s hazard communication system for workplace chemicals. It is a national system implemented through interlocking federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations.

Canada and the United States are both committed to the implementation of GHS. In 2012, the US authority, OSHA, published the Hazard Communication Standard 2012 and this revised standard is now fully implemented.  A key objective of Canada’s implementation of GHS is to create a system that will allow the use of a single label and SDS for each hazardous product that complies with both U.S. and Canadian requirements.

The implementation of GHS will align the Canadian and American approaches of regulating hazardous chemicals in the workplace while strengthening health and safety protection provided to Canadian workers.  By ensuring more effective and consistent hazard information is available, the workplace environment is safer and employers can remain more competitive.

References and Related Documents

Hazardous Products Act

Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR)

Health Canada’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the new GHS and WHMIS 2015

Employer WHMIS requirements

Contact Us

Elizabeth Dederick
Vice President, Industrial Chemicals and Business Administration
+1-610-558-3001, Extension 102

Dan Bastien
Director of Business Development
Industrial Chemicals, North America

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