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August 28, 2014

New Hazardous Products Regulations Introduce Global Harmonized System to Replace WHMIS

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Proposed Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), pursuant to the Hazardous Products Act, were published in the August 9, 2014 edition of Canada Gazette Part I.

The new regulations will implement  the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) hazard classification criteria and hazard communication elements — labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) — as per the fifth revision of the GHS published by the United Nations in 2013. CWWA has been following the development of this initiative for some time. While the impacts are minimal for our members, they do have many substances which will require updated data sheets and may require some training around the new classification system.

It is hoped that the new system will offer many improvements compared with the current made-in-Canada Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). For example:

the standardized information requirements of the GHS Safety Data Sheets are more comprehensive and provide employers and employees with a broader scope of information related to workplace hazardous substances;
hazard classification criteria are more detailed than those currently in WHMIS, which improves the ability to more accurately identify the severity of potential hazards;
the GHS identifies and addresses hazards not currently addressed in WHMIS (e.g. specifically: target organ toxicity single exposure and aspiration hazards);
the GHS hazard definitions and classification criteria are consistent with other hazard communication systems already in use in Canada (e.g. the physical hazard criteria with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods are already harmonized with the GHS) - and are therefore familiar to many workers already.

In order to align and synchronize the implementation of the GHS for workplace hazardous chemicals with the US, the proposed regulatory changes will need to come into force no later than June 1, 2015.

Government estimates that the total costs to industry will comprise one-time costs of $268.3 million ($45.4 million in classification, SDS development, and label development costs, $143.5 million in production worker training costs, and $79.4 million in other staff training costs) and incremental costs of $3.1 million per year (for colour printing).

Access the gazette pdf:


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