Or: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, … “it means just what I choose it to mean …”
Lewis Carrol “Through the Looking Glass” in Bartleby’s “A Dictionary of Quotations”:
Health Canada provided an FAQ presentation at a recent CIC (Current Issues Committee) meeting that may provide a useful lead in to the more detailed Guidance document published in December 2016.
The latter, “Technical Guidance on the Requirements of the Hazardous Products Act & Hazardous Products Regulations – WHMIS 2015 Supplier Requirements”, provides (at 540 pages) a detailed review of the content of the law and various aspects of guidance/interpretation. This document is available for download at:
The length of the document may be daunting to the casual user, so the FAQ presentation attempts to present Health Canada’s position on items that are of current concern.
The CIC is a multi-representative committee that meets several times a year to review, as it’s name implies, issues that can be improved to increase the effectiveness of WHMIS in helping to protect workers. Currently there are representatives from various government levels (Federal/Provincial/Territorial), Health & Safety organizations (e.g. CCOHS), industry organizations (e.g. RDC, CIAC, etc.) and Labour (CLC, Unifor, etc.).
One of the current issues being addressed is Continue Reading…
Changes in Special Provision 23
One aspect of the International Harmonization amendment (SOR/2017-137) of the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) that did not receive a lot of attention is the change in Special Provision 23. This special provision (SP) deals with the assignment of markings on containers and descriptions on shipping documents for entries related to goods which exhibit inhalation toxicity. Although the basic concept for classification remains the same- i.e. gases in Class 2.3 and Class 6.1 with associated inhalation toxicity. The majority of the latter are in PG I, but there are several PG II entries invoking SP23).
Marking – Keep It Simple?
A significant difference is the change in wording applied to means of containment (MoC). Following the transition period, markings required under SP23 must read “inhalation hazard” for all entries except UN 1005 (anhydrous ammonia). This eliminates the previous options of either “toxic by inhalation” or “toxic-inhalation hazard” (TBI or TIH).
UN1005 retains the previous wording “Anhydrous Ammonia, Inhalation Hazard” when the option of using the ammonia placard (rather than Class 2.3) is chosen. However small MoC of UN1005 will use the standard Class 2.3 label and “inhalation hazard” wording.
The new SP23 simplifies things somewhat by referencing Continue Reading…
News From the Provinces
Alberta Labour Announces Comprehensive OHS Review – Invites Comments by October 16
Taking Alberta workplaces a little closer to heaven:
The province of Alberta is inviting stakeholders to get involved in a comprehensive review of its occupational health and safety (OHS) system. Although there have been some amendments (e.g. to the OHS Act in 2012, with an update to the OHS Regulation in 2013), the system was established in 1976. The operating OHS Code, containing details (such as WHMIS requirements) has not been updated since 2009.
[Note: Alberta Labour has also posted an update to their WHMIS 2015 transition policy following the extension of Health Canada’s deadline to 2018 for suppliers:
In addition to general regulatory updates, the review will also look at improving the fundamental aspects of the system under the key themes of responsibility, worker engagement and prevention.
This topic will examine potential enhancements to the internal responsibility system that may include tools such as prescribed joint health and safety committees or other programs, and enforcement options.
Worker engagement is dependant on protected rights- i.e. the right to: know about hazards; freely participate in OHS decisions or to refuse unsafe work, without fear of reprisal. Education and training of workers can Continue Reading…
It’s Here, It’s Here! Feast Your Eyes on TDG International Harmonization 2017
(with apologies to “Genie” – aka the late Jim Backus …)
As predicted in last week’s blog on adoption of 2016 editions of CGSB standards, and reviewed in the Canada Gazette I (CG I) blog referenced therein, today’s Canada Gazette II (CG II) formalizes a variety of changes to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR).
The amendment, despite the “International Harmonization” working title is officially referenced as SOR/2017-137 and essentially follows the CG I proposal reviewed in earlier blogs. However, as expected, there have been some changes.
See our earlier articles on the CG I proposal:
An observation on the contents of this amendment – it appears that a rumoured dropping of italicized “guidance” text has begun in SOR/2017-137. The TDGR have been somewhat unique in this approach, but the word is that it is not in keeping with justice department philosophy that guidance material should be separate from the mandatory regulatory text – e.g. in an FAQ or other separate guidance document. This amendment incorporates several instances into the regulatory text and removes several others. Fortunately, the very useful Continue Reading…
IBC and Bio/Infectious Substances
Transport Canada (TC) published information on some significant changes to the latest editions of standards for design/manufacture/use of packaging for bio/infectious substances and Intermediate bulk containers (IBC); CGSB-43.125-2016 and CGSB-43.146-2016 respectively.
The notices are presumably to give advance warning of changes to ambulatory (“dynamic”) references as indicated in the CG (Canada Gazette) I “International Harmonization Amendment” to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) expected, according to usually reliable sources, to be formalized by publication in the July 12 edition of CGII.
See also the author’s earlier Blog on the CGI proposal »
These will replace the currently references, in TDGR Part 1.3.1, to the 2002 and 1999 editions respectively. TDGR 5.16 will also be amended as the information appears in the 2016 edition of CGSB-43.125.
Transport Canada qualifies their information, cautioning the regulated community to carefully read the standards themselves to ensure they are aware of all changes as some may not be covered in the TC summaries. Although not mentioned directly in this TC material, rumour (again the “usually reliable sources”) has it that there will be a 6-month transition to comply with new editions of revised standards that have ambulatory references in the July 12 amendment.
The summaries Continue Reading…
Transport Canada, in what has become a series of proposed amendments, has issued a consultation White Paper on updates to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations (TDGR) Part 12 Air.
This part references the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions (TI) along with TDG-specific supplemental requirements and exemptions. Some ICAO references date back to 2002 and changes to the TI have made some TDG provisions redundant or in need of updating. Also, there are some clarifications proposed to better align with the Canadian Aviation Regulations under the Aeronautics Act.
In the interest of clarification, Transport Canada hopes to increase the “one window” approach, wherein material is incorporated into the Part 12 TDGR rather than simply referencing an external document. This self-contained approach will still have to consider that changes to external documents might make references a more practical approach in some areas. The objective is also to harmonize this proposal with the “dynamic” (aka “ambulatory”) approach taken with the TDG International Harmonization Amendment.
TP14850 Update Consultation – May 2017 Draft
The Clock is Ticking – 3 Recent TDG Proposals
TDG Update: Proposed Harmonization/
Geography Counts – Limited Access Exemptions
A potential improvement to Part 12 includes adding a definition of “Limited Access”. The proposed Continue Reading…
A New Awareness Vehicle
Transport Canada has added a new item to the various informative offerings on the TDG home page. A link was added to an “Enforcement Action Summaries” listing to supplement existing guidance pages on topic-specific publications, orders, equivalency certificates, safety awareness material, etc.
This new page is intended to give the regulated community a better understanding of the types of offences that could subject them to penalties or orders to take corrective action. The objective is to provide an incentive to “deter wrongdoing” by demonstrating consequences to those who might choose to ignore the regulations; or, on a more positive note, provide an illustration of the advantages of understanding the regulations before an enforcement situation is encountered.
“I Fought the Law …” – or Ignorance is (Usually) No Excuse
Sections 22(3) and 40 of the TDG Act do provide for a defense of having taken “all reasonable measures” to comply with the Act. “Reasonable measures” would normally include acquiring and maintaining knowledge of the applicable regulations.
Although current enforcement activities are unlikely to result in the incarceration experienced by the misguided soul in Bobby Fuller’s 1966 classic hit, the TDG Act does provide for a range of consequences.
These consequences are represented in the Continue Reading…
The Cat Came Back – WHMIS 1988 Lives!
More Than Just a Date
As reported in Karrie Monette-Ishmael’s May 19 Blog, an order-in-council resulted in an extension to the Supplier deadlines for compliance with the GHS-based Hazardous Products Act/Regulation (WHMIS 2015). Canada Gazette II (CGII), published on May 31, provided some insight into the delay in the supplementary Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) associated with the extension.
The transition extension itself (from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018 for manufacturers/importers; and from June 1, 2018 to September 1, 2018 for distributors) was cut and dried. However, the details in the RIAS are a reminder that despite the harmonization focus, there are still some unresolved issues in implementing the new hazard communication system.
Confidential business information (CBI) in the context of WHMIS has always focussed on masking the disclosure of ingredients on the M(SDS). Officially, Canadian suppliers were expected to rely on the somewhat costly and administratively burdensome Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) process to obtain exemptions from disclosing CBI. Practically the provisions in the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR or WHMIS 1988) were used by most suppliers as a simpler alternate to protect CBI.
Although this was the practise almost from the start of WHMIS Continue Reading…
Transport Canada’s Standard TP14850, “Small Containers for Transport of Dangerous Goods, Classes 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8, and 9”
Transport Canada is well into the process of producing the 3rd Edition of TP14850. The current 2nd Edition (2010) has been in effect since it replaced the CGSB 43.150-97 standard in 2014. Changes to TP14850 are required to reflect current harmonization with the UN Recommendations, changes in the TDG regulations, improvements to ensure the integrity of standardized packaging, addition/clarification of Part 14 special cases, and simplify use of the standard.
Comments are welcomed until May 31, 2017.
An initial draft update was prepared for discussion in January 2016 and a committee of 30-40 stakeholders has been reviewing, discussing and proposing modifications between the initial draft and the May 2017 draft version of the 3rd Edition (by way of disclosure, the author of this Blog is one of the stakeholder representatives). The May 2017 draft follows these reviews and feedback from an initial 2016 public consultation.
Manufacturer’s Periodic Re-Test Obligation
A new requirement (Clause 7.1.7) requires the registered manufacturer to periodically, at least every 5 years, repeat performance tests on a representative sample. Typically, registration certificates are issued for 5 year periods.
One thing to note is that although Continue Reading…
A key difference that distributors of imported hazardous products are struggling with is the treatment of products that require re-labelling with Canadian-compliant labels.
WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 both require a “supplier” (seller) to ensure that products have compliant labels- i.e. as outlined in the respective “controlled” or “hazardous” products regulations. Manufacturers and Distributors, as suppliers are usually comfortable in complying when they are preparing/consolidating shipments of products initially labelled in compliance with the Canadian regulations for GHS-based required wording, pictograms, etc.
However, when receiving imports other mandatory features such as bilingual English/French text, a Canadian Supplier name/address and “non-GHS” classifications may not always be present.
Do It Here or Do It There?
Ideally the foreign supplier will have the instruction and capability to address Canadian label requirements when fulfilling the order from a Canadian customer- be it the end user or a distributor.
If the foreign supplier is unable to reliably provide WHMIS-compliant labels, the Canadian importer may supply the labels for application before shipment.
Practically this may not always be possible depending on the sophistication of the foreign supplier, the volume ordered or the uniqueness of the product. The Canadian distributor may bring non-compliant product to their facility/agent and re-label the product before delivery Continue Reading…