The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada's national standard for communicating information about hazardous workplace products.

WHMIS is incorporated into the Occupational Health and Safety Act and is law in the province of Ontario. This legislation states that if you work with, or in proximity to controlled products, the employer must ensure the information you need to work safely with those hazardous products is available to you and understood.

The main elements of WHMIS are:

  • Labels provide basic information that a worker needs to know to safely use a hazardous product.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) supplement the label with more detailed information about a product's physical and chemical characteristics, its hazardous properties, and necessary handling precautions.
  • Worker Education ensures workers understand the information on labels and SDSs, and can apply this knowledge on the job. In general, workers should be able to answer the following questions for every hazardous product they use.
  • What are the hazards of this product?
  • How do I protect myself?
  • What should I do in an emergency?
  • Where is the safety data sheet?
  • Where can I get more information?

Read the University of Waterloo's WHMIS Program for more information.


All University of Waterloo employees are required to complete an online WHMIS 2015 training module. 

Employee WHMIS Training

Student Safety Orientation/WHMIS Training

Additional Resources and Information

Chemical Safety at the University of Waterloo

Health Canada - Environmental and Workplace Health

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety