In late 2011, the Canadian government committed to implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) by June 1, 2015. The GHS system is intended to communicate health and safety information and hazards regarding chemical products via labels and material safety data sheets (SDS) that will be adopted around the world. The three major hazard groups within the GHS classification system are physical hazards, health hazards, and environmental hazards. Some of the benefits Canada will enjoy as a result of adopting GHS include: increased trade, regulatory, and compliance efficiency; cost reduction; safer transport, handling, and use of chemicals; more consistent hazard communication; better emergency response; and reduced need for animal testing.
In order to fully synchronize with the GHS system, WHMIS-related laws (the Hazardous Products Act and Controlled Products Regulations) will need to be amended on federal, provincial, and territorial levels. Health Canada is the government body responsible for making the required changes, and they have released the latest Hazardous Products Regulations proposal in the Canada Gazette, Part I for public comment. Anyone may comment on the proposed regulatory amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 regulations only. You have until October 8, 2014 to provide comments, which must cite the Canada Gazette Part I, the date of notice (August 9, 2014), and be addressed to:
Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate, Health Canada
Postal Locator: 4707A, 427 Laurier Avenue West, 7th Floor Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Questions and requests for additional information, as well as comments on the proposed regulations may also be directed to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate. Final regulations are expected to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II by early 2015.