Canada Publishes Final Amendments to Hazardous Product Regulations
Last week, Health Canada published in the Canada Gazette final amendments updating the Canadian hazard communication standard — the Hazardous Product Regulations (HPR) — implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification of Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Notably, the final regulatory text allows for the use of prescribed concentration ranges to protect the trade secret (CBI) concentrations and concentration ranges of materials or substances in hazardous products, are effective immediately. Manufacturers and importers are now required to fully comply with WHMIS 2015, while distributors and employers are still eligible to use either WHMIS 2015 (HPR) or WHMIS 1988 (CPR).
WHMIS — shorthand for the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System — is a comprehensive plan for providing information on the safe use of hazardous materials used in Canadian workplaces. Information is provided by means of product labels, material safety data sheets (MSDS) and worker education programs. WHMIS 2015 (the 2015 update to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) consists of Canada’s HPA (Hazardous Products Act) and HPR (Hazardous Products Regulations) as amended in 2015 to adopt the 5th Revision of the U.N.’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. Prior to these amendments, Canada implemented the original 1988 version of WHMIS, known as WHMIS 1988, as implemented in the CPR (Controlled Products Regulations).
Each Canadian FPT OSH jurisdiction follows an independent legislative process, and there is potential for lag between HPA and HPR and the amendments to provincial and territorial legislation. To give suppliers, employers and workers time to adjust to this new system, Canada has allowed for a three-stage transition period that is synchronized nationally across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions. Notably,
Phase 2 is set to begin on June 1, 2018.
As mentioned, manufacturers and Importers are now required to fully comply with WHMIS 2015, while distributors and employers are still eligible to use either WHMIS 2015 (HPR) or WHMIS 1988 (CPR). Health Canada has provided the following chart to aid with compliance.
Health Canada inspectors have begun WHMIS 2015 inspections to determine if companies are compliant and fully aware of the new approach on WHMIS 2015.