Proposed Amendments to Health Canada’s WHMIS 2015 Hazardous Product Regulations Could Lighten Suppliers’ CBI Claim Burdens
On October 21, Health Canada published highly anticipated proposed amendments to its Hazardous Product Regulations (HPR). The proposed amendments would allow suppliers to use prescribed concentration ranges rather than actual concentrations on their GHS-aligned safety data sheets (SDSs) in order to protect ingredients that they wish to maintain as trade secrets.
If finalized, the change could significantly ease financial and administrative burdens on suppliers who would otherwise be required to submit formal confidential business information (CBI) claim requests currently required under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA). Health Canada is accepting public comment on the proposed amendments through November 20, 2017, and the full text of the proposed amendments, including instructions for submitting public comments, is available in the Canada Gazette Part I.
The use of prescribed concentration ranges was previously permitted under Health Canada’s old Controlled Product Regulations (CPR), which were replaced with the new HPR on February 11, 2015 as part of GHS adoption in Canada. The HPR does not currently contain prescribed concentration ranges. The original intent of the prescribed concentration ranges in the CPR was to provide flexibility for products whose ingredient concentrations varied from batch to batch. However, as suppliers worked toward meeting the first WHMIS 2015 GHS deadline in Canada, Health Canada became aware that suppliers had been using the CPR prescribed ranges as a means of protecting trade secret information, effectively bypassing the formal CBI claim application process set forth in the HMIRA.
The absence of prescribed concentration ranges in the HPR has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of CBI claims submitted to the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission (HMIRC) and created a significant backlog of claims. In response to stakeholder concerns over needing to file CBI claims and the backlog of submissions it recieved, Health Canada issued a decision to delay the WHMIS 2015 Phase 1 deadline for a period of one year while it determined how to best protect the confidentiality of actual hazardous ingredient concentrations or concentrations ranges in chemical products, without requiring suppliers to submit a formal claim for exemption under the HMIRA.
With the proposed HPR amendments, suppliers would have the option to protect their product CBI through use of prescribed concentration ranges, rather than actual concentrations or ranges, no longer requiring submittal of a CBI application.
Regardless of the proposed HPR amendments, businesses throughout Canada need to be prepared for Health Canada’s upcoming WHMIS 2015 GHS deadlines, the first of which is currently scheduled for June 1, 2018. For an overview of GHS changes impacting WHMIS, register for our on-demand webinar Canada Adopts GHS: What to Expect from WHMIS 2015. VelocityEHS, through its MSDSonline solutions, offers award-winning software products and services to help you navigate Health Canada’s adoption of GHS, and ensure that you’re in compliance with the new WHMIS 2015 requirements. Whether you’re a supplier, distributor, or employer who uses hazardous chemicals in the workplace, you can turn to our SDS / MSDS Authoring experts and Regulatory Consulting Services team for help authoring WHMIS 2015-compliant SDSs, and managing your CBI claims. To learn more about MSDSonline solutions, including our cloud-based, mobile-enabled HQ and HQ RegXR SDS / chemical inventory management