Latest Update on the New WHMIS Transition Timelines

Chemical Safety

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS 1988), Canada’s hazard communication system for workplace chemicals, has been amended. The new international standards for classifying hazardous chemicals and providing information on labels and safety data sheets are referred to as WHMIS 2015.

The new international standards of WHMIS 2015 are part of the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace identification of substances in Canada.

To give suppliers, employers, and workers time to adjust to the new system of WHMIS 2015, the first phase has been delayed for one year. The delay will be used to develop an amendment to the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) in order to protect the confidentiality of hazardous ingredient concentrations in chemical products without having to go through the HMIRA claim for exemption process.

While WHMIS 2015 includes criteria for hazard classification, the roles and responsibilities for suppliers, employers, and workers have not changed.

Manufacturers and importers now have until June 1, 2018 to fulfil the HPR requirements.

Purpose of the transition period is to support:

  • Time for partners and stakeholders to make necessary legislative, regulatory, and system changes.
  • Replacement of old labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS) moved out of the supply chain and workplaces in a predictable manner.
  • Increase employer and worker awareness and understanding of WHMIS through training.
  • Consistency across Canada through coordination and alignment between federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.

Total implementation of WHMIS 2015 will take place over a three-phase transition period from May 31, 2018 to completion on December 1, 2018. During the initial phase, suppliers must comply with the requirements of either WHMIS 1988 (repealed CPR/old HPA) or WHMIS 2015 (HPR/new HPA).

New Transitional Phase Timeline:

Phase 1

  • From coming into force to May 31, 2018
  • Manufacturers and importers need to meet CPR or HPR requirements
  • Distributors need to meet HPR requirements
  • Employees consult FPT OSH regulator

Phase 2

  • From June 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018
  • Manufacturers and importers need to comply with HPR requirements
  • Distributors need to comply with HPR requirements
  • Employers need to comply with CPR or HPR requirements

Phase 3

  • From September 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018
  • Manufactures and importers need to fulfil HPR requirements
  • Distributors need to meet HPR requirements
  • Employers need to meet CPR or HPR requirements

A label or SDS that is compliant with the United States Hazard Communication Standard (2012) may not be sufficient for compliance in Canada. The supplier must be compliant with the Canadian requirements, whether the CPR or the HPR.

For more information on the transitional period, please consult appropriate FPT OHS regulatorto confirm requirements.

Keep your workers informed with WHMIS 2015 Posters.


WHMIS Transition
WHMIS 2015
FAQs: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System 2015