Get your employees up to speed on changes to WHMIS

Canada has incorporated the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (or “GHS”) into the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information (or “WHMIS”) system.

GHS is an internationally recognized system that helps Canada move to a global standard in the industry. The goal is to have a worldwide standard 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.

Your employees who have previously been trained on the WHMIS system will now need new training on the GHS system. 

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is currently offering a webinar on these changes to WHMIS.

Register for the webinar hereWHMIS 2015 - How Canada is Adopting the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for Workplace Chemicals

Every Canadian jurisdiction requires WHMIS training to protect workers who work with hazardous materials. Instruction on requirements for labels and data sheets, information on how products may affect workers' health or safety, and training in safe work procedures are necessary.

A transition period is in place to allow suppliers and employers to comply. Find information via Federal, Provincial or Territorial jurisdictions.

The transition process looks like this:

Manufacturers and ImportersDistributorsEmployer*
Phase 1From February 11, 2015 to May 31, 2017WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015Consult F/P/T regulator
Phase 2From June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018WHMIS 2015WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015
Phase 3From June 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018WHMIS 2015WHMIS 2015WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015
CompletionDecember 1, 2018WHMIS 2015WHMIS 2015WHMIS 2015

*Requirements may vary for employers. Check your jurisdiction’s WHMIS requirements and their transition period.

Where can I learn more about WHMIS?

Along with your provincial/territorial resources noted above, check out these resources:

A company wants me to buy their WHMIS training. Is this my only option?

If you take time to research, you will discover several alternatives:

  • Your province/territory may have specific requirements about training, or have training available.
  • CFIB's VuBIZ may be an option.
  • Local safety associations/councils may be another resource.
  • Online searches can reveal other trainers. Take care to check the validity of unknown trainers. Ask for references. See if in-house training or classroom training is available so your staff can interact with each other and the trainer to enhance their learning.

CFIB's Business Counsellors are available to answer your questions. You can reach us at 1-888-234-2232.

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