Update on Canada’s WHMIS Revision / Adoption of GHS Timeline

In a recent podcast published on WorkSafeBC, Lorraine Davison, Manager of Chemical Services at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), reported on tentative dates/plans for Canada’s revision of WHMIS to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

According Davison, proposed Controlled Products Regulations could be published in the Canada Gazette 1 by March 2013, final regulations could be published in Canada Gazette 2 by January 2014, and actual implementation of GHS within WHMIS could happen by July 2015.

Davison says the July 2015 date is set up to give the provinces and the territories time to adjust their own WHMIS regulations. After July 2015, Davison says there is likely to be a transition period during which employers may follow either the existing WHMIS or the new WHMIS.

Additionally, Davison said Canada is likely to adopt GHS in a similar manner to the U.S. adoption, including the new U.S. Hazard classes for combustible dust and simple asphyxiants.  She stresses however that the existing WHMIS systems will be around for at least three years and then likely during a transition period.

She also cautions that although Canadian workers may begin seeing the GHS formatted labels, that they should continue to look for WHMIS labels and continue to work with WHMIS hazards. Furthermore, Davison says Canada will not be lowering protections and is expected to keep its bio-hazard and infectious materials regulations.

Related News

In related news, Volume 10 Issue 3 of the CCOHS Health & Safety Report, CCOHS published answers to what it calls the Top 5 questions about GHS as relates to WHMIS.

It provides answers to questions regarding:

GHS adoption timeline, SDSs, labels, and training.

Stay tuned to the EH&S Blog for the latest on GHS adoption in Canada.