GHS in Canada – What is the status?

 In Product Safety, WHMIS

By: Kirsten Alcock, Manager of Product Safety, email

Last week at the Virtual Fall meeting for the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC),  representatives from OSHA updated us on what is going on with the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) within the United States. But what about Canada? What is our status of implementation? Unfortunately, representatives from Health Canada were unavailable to attend the virtual meeting to give us an update but below is what we know at this point in time.

The Regulations Amending the Hazardous Product Regulations to follow the Seventh Revised Edition were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I last year on December 19, 2020. Like the US, Canada plans on adopting the seventh revised edition of the GHS which would provide increased worker health and safety benefits as well as greater worker protection. Several issues had been presented to Health Canada since the Hazardous Products Regulations came into force back in February 2015. It is the hope of Health Canada and OSHA that the changes proposed will provide greater clarity and maintain alignment between our two countries.

Canada and the US are committed to “working together to coordinate the adoption of future updates of the GHS to facilitate common approaches and synchronized implementation”.

The amendments to the 7th edition include and are not limited to:

  • Modifications to definitions.
  • Adoption of new hazard categories for non-flammable aerosols and new subcategories for Flammable Gases.
  • New test procedures for Oxidizing Solids will also be available for those of you who currently sell these types of products.
  • Changes to Schedule 1, which refers to SDS requirements, will be amended. Section 9 in particular will receive an overhaul and new subtitles are required.

Health Canada had advised that there would be a two-year transition period. Suppliers would have two years to bring product classifications, safety data sheets, and labels into compliance with the proposed amendments.

It is important to note that Canada WILL NOT be changing our Trade Secret registration requirements. This will continue to be a difference between the US and Canada.

We are also not changing our bilingual language requirements.  If you are selling your workplace products to Canada, please ensure that you provide English and French documentation.

For here for more detailed information on the exact changes, they plan on implementing.

We hope to see the final regulations published in the Canada Gazette soon. At this point in time, I haven’t heard or read anything from Health Canada indicating when this will be.  It is very likely that we will see this occur at the same time OSHA publishes its final regulations.

I will endeavor to keep you all updated as news becomes available. For now, stay the course with the current Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR).

Dell Tech
Kirsten Alcock, B.Sc. (Hons) 
Manager, Product Safety Group

Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty

industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.

Contact us today for more information.


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