Canada’s WHMIS 2015 Deadline for Federally Regulated Employers is Almost Here!

After nearly four years, Canada’s implementation of GHS and WHMIS 2015 is approaching completion. The final deadline for federally regulated workplaces in Canada is June 1, 2019, after which those workplaces must be in full compliance with WHMIS 2015 requirements.

WHMIS 2015 is currently in force for Canadian hazardous product suppliers (including manufacturers, importers and distributors), with deadlines for manufacturers and importers occurring June 1 of last year, and for distributors on September 1, 2018.

The large majority of non-federally regulated workplaces were required to be in compliance with WHMIS 2015 by December 1, 2018. The only exception being for employers in the province of Nova Scotia, which at the time of this article has yet to publish its amended occupational health and safety (OH&S) regulations.

Federally vs. Non-Federally Regulated Workplaces

Compared to non-federally regulated workplaces who are subject to their respective provincial and territorial occupational health and safety (OH&S) regulations, federally regulated workplaces are subject to OH&S regulations established within the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR) under the Canada Labour Code. Examples of federally regulated workplaces generally include:

  • Banks
  • Marine shipping, ferry and port services
  • Air transportation (airports and airlines)
  • Railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders
  • Canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders)
  • Telephone, telegraph and cable systems
  • Radio and television broadcasting
  • Grain elevators, feed and seed mills
  • Uranium mining and processing
  • Businesses dealing with the protection of fisheries as a natural resource
  • Many first nation activities
  • Most federal crown corporations
  • Private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act

Federally regulated workplaces were also expected to be in compliance with WHMIS 2015 requirements following the December 1, 2018 deadline, but with one very notable exception.

This exception relates to the use of WHMIS 1988 material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and labels on older hazardous products present in federally regulated workplaces. The Labour Program of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) which administers the Canada Labour Code, acknowledged that even after the December 1, 2018 employer compliance deadline, it would be possible for hazardous products bearing older WHMIS 1988 labels and MSDSs to still be present in workplaces.

To provide additional time to transition their workplaces to the new requirements and phase-out these older products from use in workplaces, the ESDC stated that, “the use of labels and SDSs under the old [WHMIS 1988] system, in respect of any hazardous products that are in the workplace on December 1, 2018, is permitted under the proposed regulatory amendments until May 31, 2019.” Following this deadline, all products within federally regulated workplaces are required to have WHMIS 2015 labels and SDSs. This will mark the end of the transition to WHMIS 2015 for federally regulated workplaces.


VelocityEHS Can Help!

If you have questions about the new WHMIS 2015 requirements, or if you’re concerned about bringing your workplace into compliance, VelocityEHS offers a variety of free resources to help you better understand your obligations and get your workplace up to speed. Check out our on-demand webinar “WHMIS 2015 Deadlines Have Passed: Are You in Compliance?” for a detailed look at WHMIS 2015 requirements and best practices you can implement today to strengthen your WHMIS 2015 program.

While you’re there, be sure to check out our award-winning MSDSonline SDS / Chemical Management Solutions, and learn how VelocityEHS can help you simplify and streamline a wide range of WHMIS 2015 compliance requirements.