Modernization of the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA): Updates from Health Canada

 In Product Safety

By: Kirsten Alcock, Manager of Product Safety, email

In a presentation given by Health Canada to the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC) last month, we were advised that last year HMIRA published a record number of decisions on Confidential Business Information (CBI) claims. A total of 241 claims were made in one year.  They are currently working to further streamline the process for CBI claims and we are hoping to hear more soon on this topic.

There have been some changes that have happened over the years so let’s briefly touch on those. The modernization of the HMIRA came info force on March 18, 2020. Amendments included:

  • Streamlining the process for reviewing claims for exemption
  • Adding the flexibility in how they communicate decisions to applicants
  • Allowing for the suspension and cancellation of Trade Secret exemptions
  • Harmonizing provisions of the Act that allow for the disclosure of CBI

It is their hope that there will be many benefits to the modernization such as a more predictable and streamlined application process and faster decisions from them.  The process currently can take years so we are hoping that with these changes, the process will go faster.

For those of you that are not familiar with the Trade Secret application process in Canada, it is a requirement on a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) when you want to mask the chemical name, CAS, and weight percentage of a hazardous ingredient. Please note that if you are just trying to keep the weight percentage confidential, we are permitted to use certain ranges which can be found in the Hazardous Products Regulations. Most clients would prefer to mask the chemical name and CAS.

When you would like to claim Trade Secret in Canada, you must apply for a HMIRA Registry Number. A HMIRA Registry Number is then issued by Health Canada and, once granted, it must appear on the SDS in order to be sold to the Canadian industrial market. The HMIRA registration must be renewed every three years and a new HMIRA Registry number will then be issued.

Health Canada requires a full, complete registration package in order to review your claim for exemption. A full submission includes but is not limited to, the product formula, SDSs associated with your claim, measures taken to protect information, the claim for exemption form, and payment authorization.

The fee structure varies depending on whether the submission is an original claim or a refilled claim. When more than 15 claims are filed at the same time, the fees can be reduced. The HMIRA also offers small business fees for smaller companies wishing to claim.

If you are interested in making a claim in Canada, we can help.


  • Develop Generic Chemical Identity (GCI) for the ingredient
  • Prepare and submit a complete registration package to HMIRA on your behalf
  • Provide guidance on the payment authorization and fee structure
  • Prepare the SDS for the product submission

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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