Transition to WHMIS 2015 - MSDS and SDS

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

As we've heard over the past several years, the WHMIS system in Canada is changing to reflect the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).  GHS defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and communicates health and safety information on labels and safety data sheets. The goal is that the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world.

Federal legislation, specifically the Hazardous Products Act and Regulations were updated to reflect the GHS and published on February 11, 2015 and are currently in force. "In force" means that suppliers may begin to use and follow the new requirements for labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for hazardous products sold, distributed, or imported into Canada.

However, provincial WHMIS regulations also require updating, and this has not yet been completed in Ontario. We expect the new WHMIS 2015 Regulations to be passed soon, however during the transition period, you may begin to see the traditional “WHMIS 1988” Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) replaced with new “WHMIS 2015” Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Both types of Data Sheets are acceptable and legal during the transition period, which extends to Dec. 1, 2018. Training on WHMIS 2015 will replace existing training and all employees will be required to complete the new course for compliance with WHMIS 2015. The training will be released as soon as the provincial legislation is passed.

For more information on the transition to WHMIS 2015, please visit the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS)’s WHMIS 2015 webpage.

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