What You Need to Know About the New WHMIS Regulations in 2023
There are new WHMIS regulations in 2023. To see how they affect your WHMIS program and WHMIS training, a bit of background is helpful.
How WHMIS Works
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s national hazard communication standard for workplace hazardous products. The critical elements of the WHMIS system are:
1) Hazard classification
2) Cautionary labelling of containers
3) The provision of safety data sheets, and
4) Worker education and WHMIS training programs.
See ‘7 Crucial Things You Need to Know About WHMIS’ for more information.
WHMIS is harmonized with the “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals” (GHS). The GHS is updated every two years and published as what is commonly known as the purple book. Legislation is much harder to change, and every so often, the Federal Government issues updates to keep up with the changes to the GHS.
What Has Changed with WHMIS?
New WHMIS regulations were passed in 2023. On January 4, 2023, Health Canada published amendments to the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) in the Canada Gazette, Part II, to align with the 7th revised edition and certain provisions of the 8th revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
The regulatory amendments provide a 3-year transition period, ending on December 14, 2025.
The 3-year transition period gives suppliers, employers, and workers time to adjust to the WHMIS changes and helps ensure consistency across Canada through coordination and alignment between federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions.
Key Changes to The WHMIS Regulation In 2023
Key changes resulting from the amendments include:
• Improved clarity and precision for certain provisions
• New information elements required on safety data sheets (SDS)
• Adoption of a new physical hazard class (Chemicals Under Pressure)
• Adoption of a new hazard category for non-flammable aerosols and new subcategories for flammable gases
What Do I Have to Do as an Employer or Worker to Meet the New WHMIS Requirements?
Safety data sheets and labels for some chemicals will change slightly. Companies that use hazardous chemicals should ensure they get the latest safety data sheets from their suppliers before the deadline of December 2025 to have an up-to-date SDS.
Suppose you produce chemicals or formulate chemical mixtures for sale. In that case, you must examine the amendments to the Hazardous Products Regulations and make the appropriate changes in classification, labels and safety data sheets.
Will WHMIS Training requirements Change?
The changes are at a level of detail above what most companies and workers need to know. Although the Federal document identifies that workers may require an extra 20 minutes of training, we don’t see the need to change the current training program. The current program meets all the provincial requirements for worker education. However, as WHMIS training requirements are set at the provincial level, we must wait and see what each province does.
Our current WHMIS training program meets all the provincial requirements for worker education. We will update the training well before the deadline at aixsafety.com if changes are required. Stay tuned.
See Below for More Information on the Changes to Whmis in 2023
Amendments to the Hazardous Products Regulations
Regulations Amending the Hazardous Products Regulations (GHS, Seventh Revised Edition): SOR/2022-272
Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS Rev. 9, 2021)