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Canada Moves Closer to GHS

​By Andrew Brown

Canada continues its progress toward GHS implementation. Amira Sultan, Senior Regulatory & Risk Management Supervisor, Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau at Health Canada, talked about the implementation’s current status. 

In general, Health Canada is taking an approach similar to OSHA. It will release guidance documents and adjust them as needed. The agency is currently working on technical guidance to help manufacturers and importers to comply. The guidance document is targeted for release this year. 

The U.S. and Canada have a process for working out differences in their requirements. The Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) strives to implement a collaborative relationship to implement GHS. The RCC meets with an understanding that both countries’ regulatory processes will be respected and worker safety will not be reduced. “With implementation of the GHS in place in both countries, the workplace hazard communication regulations in Canada and the U.S. are now aligned,” said Sultan.

Deadline and FAQs

After May 31, 2017, manufacturers and importers are required to use the WHMIS 2015 label. Distributors and employers have more time to comply.  

Sultan reviewed some frequently asked questions the agency receives. In response to whether the initial supplier identifier must be identified, the answer is yes. An exception is that if the importer is using the chemical in its own workplace, it can leave the foreign supplier on the data sheet.

In response to a question about whether suppliers can email a link to an SDS, the answer is no. You must send a hard copy or an electronic document directly. In other words, you could send an email with the SDS attached electronically, with the English and French versions separate. You could also send a USB drive or CD. However, you cannot provide the purchaser with a link where they have to download it.

Related Items

GHS Implementation in North America and Beyond: 2016 Status Update (On Demand session)

GHS Implementation: The First Wave after the Tsunami – The Work is Just Beginning (On Demand session)

GHS in North America: OSHA, Health Canada and Global Update (On Demand session)​


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