Trade Secret Canada: Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) Claim for Exemption
By: Sarah D’Mello, SENIOR PRODUCT SAFETY SPECIALIST, email
Health Canada provides a mechanism for trade secret protection on safety data sheets. There is a formal registration process that must be followed. “Trade secret law” falls under the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) in Canada, the composition of their product must be disclosed on their SDS in section 3 (if hazardous). Health Canada allows for Trade Secrets on SDS or protecting their “CBI – Confidential Business Information” if you APPLY for one. In Canada, if you would like to keep your chemical a Trade Secret on your SDS, you must do a Trade Secret claim through HMIRA.
Does disclosing this particular chemical on a Canadian SDS pose a risk to your company if it’s disclosed to your competition? If you don’t hide the CAS number, will your competition be able to replicate your product and sell to the Canadian workplaces?
Below you will find some information on what HMIRA is and what is required to claim Trade Secret on an SDS in Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions about Trade Secrets in Canada
What is a HMIRA Claim for Exemption?
It is an exemption from having to disclose confidential business information otherwise required by the Hazard Products Act/Regulations on a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) of a hazardous product used in the workplace. It is commonly referred to as a “Trade Secret Registrations”.
What can be exempted from disclosure on a Safety Data Sheet?
- chemical identity of a hazardous ingredient (name and or CAS#)
- concentration of a hazardous ingredient
- name of a toxicological study that identifies a trade-secret hazardous ingredient
- name of a hazardous product
- information that could be used to identify the supplier of a controlled product
Where can a HMIRA Registration be used?
On a Safety Data Sheets and/or Label for a specific hazardous product.
Where can it not be used?
Consumer Labels (CCCR), pesticides, fertilizer & cosmetics.
Many of our clients are caught off guard by this. If you are purchasing a chemical that you intend to put into your consumer product/pesticide/fertilizer or cosmetic, please ensure that all information is available on the supplier SDS and that they are not making a Trade Secret Claim.
Why do we have HMIRA Claim for Exemptions?
The Hazardous Materials Information Review Act & Regulations (HMIRA/HMIRR) provides a mechanism to protect the confidential business information (CBI) of chemical suppliers and employers while ensuring ensure accurate and complete health and safety information is available to workers.
Who can file for a HMIRA Claim for Exemptions?
One can register a Claim for Exemption for Chemical Identity such as chemical name and CAS#, Concentration of a hazardous agreement, Name of a toxicological study.
Who manages the HMIRA Claim for Exemption Program?
The program is managed by Health Canada, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau (WHMB).
How long does it take to get a HMIRA Claim for Exemption?
A HMIRA registry number will be assigned within 10 business days of submitting a complete application with payment.
It will take the Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau 1-3 years to fully review and finalize the application.
When can I start using the HMIRA Registry #?
As soon as you receive it. You may not send your SDS out claiming Trade Secret without this registry number.
How long does a HMIRA Registration last?
A HMIRA registry number expires after 3 years. If the formula changes or new information changes the SDS classification, a new registration must be applied for.
A new HMIRA Registry number is assigned with every renewal.
What is a Generic Chemical Identity?
Terms such as “trade secret”, “proprietary”, “confidential” “surfactant”, “solvent” are not permitted in place of a chemical identity on a Safety Data Sheet.
The Safety Data Sheet must use a Generic Chemical Identity (CGI). The objective is to mask part or all of the chemical name while at the same time retain identity of the general class or structure so that it can still be connected to hazard information disclosed on the Safety Data Sheet.
For assistance applying for trade secret protection, talk to Dell Tech’s Product Safety Team. We can also complete the necessary SDS authoring for your application.
Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the specialty chemical
industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.