Message from the Chief Prevention Officer:
WHMIS IS CHANGING
Since 1988, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) has been Canada’s national hazard communication system for workplace chemicals. It is supported by interlocking federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations.
WHMIS is changing to adopt new, United Nations endorsed international standards that are part of the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
Adopting New Standards into WHMIS
To adopt the GHS standards, federal, provincial and territorial governments must amend their WHMIS legislation and regulations. The federal government has already done so.
Provinces and territories are amending their WHMIS requirements to reflect the federal changes. On April 2, Ontario introduced proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to implement WHMIS 2015. Amendments to the WHMIS regulation would be proposed following passage of the OHSA amendments.
While Ontario is updating its requirements, the Ministry of Labour:
- will enforce the existing OHSA and WHMIS requirements for labels, material safety data sheets and worker training, and continue to do so for as long as these requirements remain in force.
Transition to WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 is being phased in across Canada between February 2015 and December 2018. Suppliers (manufacturers, importers and distributors) will have time to deplete their stocks of hazardous products with WHMIS 1988 labels and safety data sheets. Employers and workers will have time to become familiar with the new chemical classifications, and the design and content of WHMIS 2015 labels and safety data sheets.
By December 1, 2018, the transition to WHMIS 2015 must be complete for all parties.
More information about the new federal WHMIS requirements is available at http://WHMIS.gc.ca.
General information for suppliers, employers and workers is available at http://whmis.org.
WHMIS 2015 Questions and Answers (http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/faqs/whmis2015.php).