Workers Health & Safety Centre

Compliance dates extended for new GHS WHMIS

Compliance dates extended for new GHS WHMIS
The Federal government has delayed compliance dates for suppliers of hazardous products to transition from original WHMIS to the new Globally-harmonized (GHS) WHMIS.
Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, commonly known as WHMIS, is designed to provide workers with information about hazardous products used, stored, handled or disposed of in the workplace. Changes to federal WHMIS-related law, and supporting provincial and territorial regulation, are altering the way this information is delivered.
Manufacturers and importers of hazardous products were scheduled to transition to the new GHS WHMIS by June 1, 2017. An extension of one year to June 1, 2018 was recently announced by Health Canada. The new compliance deadline for distributors of these hazardous products was moved from June 1, 2018 to September 1, 2018.
The GHS WHMIS changes will standardize, on a global scale, the hazardous product communication system. Examples of changes include:
  • new hazard classification rules and hazard classes,
  • safety data sheets (SDSs—16-section format) replacing MSDSs (9-section format),
  • new content requirements on labels including standard signal words (warning or danger), pictograms and both a hazard and precautionary statement,
  • pictograms replacing hazard symbols (and are required on SDSs and labels), and
  • new SDS and label updating requirements. 
Employer obligations have not changed
Employers must still complete transition to GHS WHMIS by the original December 1, 2018 deadline. To achieve this, for instance, employers will be required to ensure hazardous products in the workplace meet the new labelling requirements and that new SDSs are readily available to workers and members of joint health and safety committees or worker representatives.  

Equally important, employers are still legally required to meet general and workplace-specific WHMIS training obligations. In fact, during the transition period, they must train workers in both original WHMIS and GHS WHMIS. GHS WHMIS can become the sole focus of worker training only when all products with the original WHMIS labels and MSDSs are no longer used in the workplace (which must be the case by December 1, 2018). 

WHSC training supports compliance

WHSC’s Globally-Harmonized WHMIS training program is an important, cost-effective resource aimed at helping employers meet this training obligation. Like all WHSC programs, this training program applies adult learning principles to ensure learning is achieved. And this is important for employers as Ontario law requires that training results in workers being able to use the information to protect their health and safety [s. 7(3), WHMIS Reg.].
In addition to this training, WHMIS regulation also requires employers to provide workplace-specific training to workers, including product-specific procedures for the safe use, storage, handling and disposal of a hazardous product and what to do in case of an emergency situation.
Want to know more about GHS WHMIS?

Transitioning to Globally-harmonized WHMIS: An Overview
Globally-harmonized WHMIS wallet card
Globally-harmonized WHMIS poster
Note: If original WHMIS labels and MSDSs are still used in your workplace along with new labels and SDSs, both the new Globally-harmonized WHMIS poster and the original WHMIS poster should be posted.

Want to register for Globally Harmonized WHMIS E-class?

Want information about classroom-based Globally Harmonized or Original WHMIS training or want further clarification about the transition to GHS WHMIS?

Call:    1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a training service representative