GHS Is Changing. Are you ready?

 In Product Safety, SDS: Safety Data Sheets

By: Kirsten Alcock, Manager of Product Safety, email

Safe Work Australia announced on Friday, June 5th that Australia will be adopting Revision 7 of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).  They had been working towards adopting the GHS Revision 7 for workplace hazardous chemicals under the model WHS Laws since 2019.


Australia currently uses Revision 3 and there are many changes between these two revisions as we’ve seen here in Canada when dealing with cross-border shipments as the US too is on Version 3. In Australia, there will be a two year transitional period, beginning 1 January 2021 for manufacturers, importers, and businesses across all states and territories. All suppliers and end users will need to start using labels under GHS revision 7 guidelines two years from this date. The original start date was supposed to be July 1, 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Safe Work Australia pushed back the start date by 6 months as many companies are still coping with issues resulting from this pandemic.


I recently confirmed with our regulatory leaders here in Canada, that Health Canada plans on moving forward with Version 7 as well in the near future. Under the Canada – United States Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Forward Plan, Canada and the United States (U.S.) are “committed to working together to coordinate the adoption of updates to the GHS to ensure that the Canadian and the U.S. requirements for hazard classification and communication for workplace hazardous products remain aligned to the greatest extent possible, without reducing the level of safety or protection to workers”. In order to continue to ensure alignment between the two countries, respective hazard classification and communication requirements for workplace hazardous products in Canada and the U.S., Health Canada is currently in the process of amending the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) to incorporate updates made to the GHS in its 6th and 7th revised editions.


Health Canada’s Forward Regulatory Plan for 2019 – 2021 provided information on regulatory initiatives that Health Canada aims to propose or finalize within the next 2 years. I was further advised that, “ as announced on the Forward Regulatory Plan Update web page, the Plan is in the process of being updated. The updated version will be posted on Health Canada’s website during fall 2020”.


The Forward Regulatory Plan states that the HPR amendments will be pre-published in Canada Gazette, Part I in the fall/winter 2019 – 20. As confirmed by the Health Canada representative, this information is currently out of date and will be updated to indicate that the pre-publication in Canada Gazette, Part I is anticipated for fall/winter 2020 – 21. This is the earliest the proposal will be published. The pre-publication will be followed by a public comment period in which industry should provide comments on the proposed changes. This is your time to have a say.


With Canada, US and Australia moving towards the same GHS Revision, this could lead to more and easier trade between the countries.

In the meanwhile, if you have any questions related to current WHMIS regulations here in Canada or OSHA regulations pertaining to SDS authoring, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help you bring your products into compliance. We are the leading experts in Canadian and US Globally Harmonized System (GHS) requirements and have been in this industry for more than 40 years. We have the experience you need and the individuals you can trust to get the SDS and labels into compliance.


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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