skip to main content

Today, Health Canada published a number of highly-anticipated amendments to the Canadian Hazardous Product Regulations (HPR) in Canada Gazette II that will make it easier for hazardous product suppliers to protect confidential business information (CBI) when disclosing ingredients on safety data sheets (SDSs) for the hazardous products they manufacture and sell.

Prescribed concentration ranges, as established under the WHMIS 1988 Controlled Products Regulations (CPR), were originally intended to provide hazardous product suppliers with added flexibility when disclosing ingredient concentrations of products whose actual ingredient concentrations/concentration ranges varied from batch-to-batch.

However, Health Canada recognized that many suppliers had been using these prescribed concentration ranges as a mechanism to protect their CBI / trade secret information, effectively bypassing the formal CBI claim application process required by the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA).

In 2015, the HPR replaced the CPR and eliminated the use of prescribed concentration ranges for CBI or trade secret protections. The absence of these ranges proved to be such a significant point of concern that Health Canada delayed the long-awaited transition to GHS and WHMIS 2015 — moving the Phase 1 manufacturer and importer deadline out by one year (now June 1, 2018) and the Phase 2 distributor deadline out by 3 months (now September 1, 2018).

More about Prescribed Concentration Ranges

When the WHMIS 2015 HPR came into force, hazardous product suppliers who wished to withhold actual concentration ranges of ingredients in their products as trade secrets were no longer permitted to use prescribed concentration ranges as they had in the past, and were forced to go through a formal HMIRA CBI claim application process in order to receive exemption from the disclosure requirements. This placed unforeseen administrative and financial burdens on hazardous product suppliers, as well as and Health Canada representatives, and the need to amend the HPR to alleviate these burdens ultimately led to the GHS deadline delays.

The new HPR amendments re-introduce the use of prescribed concentration ranges, meaning suppliers are no longer required to disclose the actual concentration ranges of trade secret ingredients on hazardous product SDSs. As a result, suppliers have the ability to protect confidential business information (CBI) without having to go through a lengthy and costly CBI application process.

Use of Prescribed Concentration Ranges

The following are the prescribed concentration ranges under the newly amended HPR:

0.1 – 1.0%

0.5 – 1.5%

1.0 – 5.0%

3.0 – 7.0%

5.0 – 10.0%

7.0 – 13.0%

10.0 – 30.0%

15.0 – 40.0%

30.0 – 60.0%

45.0 – 70.0%

60.0 – 80.0%

65.0 – 85.0%

80.0 – 100.0%

A supplier may select any one of these prescribed ranges to include on a product SDS, provided that the exact concentration or actual concentration range of the hazardous ingredient falls within one of these ranges. It is important for suppliers to note that only one range may be selected if the exact concentration or actual concentration range falls within one of the above prescribed ranges.

In situations where a hazardous ingredient’s actual concentration range doesn’t fall within any single prescribed range, the supplier can combine up to two consecutive prescribed ranges, so long as the maximum concentration within the ingredient’s actual concentration range is below 30%.

Additional Considerations

The hazard classification requirements and criteria contained in the HPR have not been affected by the new amendments. Specifically, the HPR still requires that if ingredients in a hazardous product are present in a range of concentrations, the hazard classification and all other information contained in the SDS must reflect the most hazardous concentration of that ingredient.

Suppliers need to keep this in mind if they choose to use a prescribed concentration range on the hazardous product SDS, as hazard classification is often determined by the concentration of a given ingredient within a product. Failure to classify product hazards based upon the most hazardous actual concentration could result in improper classification, which then results in inaccurate information on the product SDS — leaving you out of compliance, vulnerable to enforcement actions from Health Canada, and putting workers’ health and safety at risk.

Suppliers must also be sure that when opting to use one of the prescribed ranges as a means of protecting trade secrets or other CBI, there must be a statement added to the SDS immediately following the prescribed ranges that identifies the prescribed concentration range as a trade secret.

Lastly, the newly amended HPR allows the use of specific, approved prescribed ranges as they appear in the text of the regulations (see above). They may not be altered.

VelocityEHS Can Help!

WHMIS 2015 compliance deadlines are approaching fast! Requirements for suppliers are coming into force June 1, 2018 and deadlines for distributors and employers are scheduled for later this year. If you’re a Canadian hazardous product supplier and need a fast, easy and cost-effective way to ensure your SDSs are in compliance with the HPR and WHMIS 2015, count on the expert SDS Authoring and Regulatory Consulting Services teams at VelocityEHS to help.

Whether its product hazard classification, authoring and translating WHMIS 2015-compliant SDSs, managing CBI claims or simply helping you navigate your requirements under the newly amended HPR, VelocityEHS has the in-house resources and experience to help you stay in compliance and maintain a safe workplace.

To learn more about MSDSonline solutions, including our cloud-based, mobile-enabled HQ and HQ RegXR SDS / chemical inventory management accounts from VelocityEHS, request a demo or give us a call at 1.888.362.2007.