Health Canada Proposes WHMIS 2.0 Timeframe

Update to the Canadian Standard

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is due for its greatest shakeup ever, as the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is introduced to replace the current rules for classification and labelling, in a process sometimes called “WHMIS 2.0”. This will mark the greatest change ever to the venerable WHMIS system, first introduced in 1988, and will be a giant step forward for international harmonization.

The current WHMIS standard is uniquely Canadian, using a classification and labelling system different from those used by other countries. The GHS standard will bring Canada’s hazard communication system in line with the rest of the world. Harmonization should result in significant savings for Canadian manufacturers and distributors, while making sure that workers still receive the information they need to stay safe.

But time is running out for Canada – the European Union (EU) and United States have already implemented their systems, which are due to become mandatory June 1 next year. Health Canada, the federal department that administers WHMIS through the current Controlled Product Regulations (CPR), has little time left to introduce the GHS and have it in place by next year.

The Importance of WHMIS 2.0

Why is this important? WHMIS was developed by Canadians, without considering how hazard communication works in other countries. It uses a unique classification scheme, as well as a labelling system different from both the Continue Reading…

Canadian Government Tables Legislation to Introduce GHS

Is the Ball Finally Rolling?

On March 28, 2014, the Government of Canada tabled new legislation intended, among other things, to start the introduction of the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This legislation, included in Bill C-31, proposes amendments to the Hazardous Products Act which will, eventually, allow Health Canada to replace the Controlled Product Regulations (CPR) with a new regulation, the Hazardous Products Regulation (HPR). The CPR, and the HPR intended to replace it, create the main federal part of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). The HPR has come to be known as “WHMIS 2.0”, as it replaces the well-known WHMIS labels, symbols and Material Safety Data Sheets for a new, internationally harmonized, style.

As part of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan 2014, Bill C-31 proposes significant amendments to the Hazardous Products Act, including:

  • Expanded definitions of terms such as sell, supplier and hazardous waste
  • New definitions for “Safety data sheet” (SDS) and “hazardous product”, as used by the GHS, to replace the current definitions for “Material Safety Data Sheets” (MSDS) and “controlled product”
  • Specific requirements for products containing asbestos
  • Prohibitions against labels or SDSs that contain false or misleading information
  • Increased record-keeping requirements, such as keeping documentation on goods obtained from other suppliers, as well as goods sold to Canadian workplaces
  • Significant amendments to section 13 and 14, the main sections dealing with supplier obligations Continue Reading…
Transport Canada Unveils Proposed Amendment to Safety Standards

On November 16, Transport Canada published proposed changes to certain safety standards in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations. These changes can be found in Canada Gazette I, and may be accessed online at http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2013/2013-11-16/html/reg5-eng.html.

It may appear at first that these are merely technical changes and updates. Transport Canada says that the main reason for the amendment is that some of the standards need their references updated to the most current version, and some of them need to be introduced for the first time. However, if the amendment is finalized in Gazette II, some of the implications are significant for Canadian shippers and carriers.

The principle points behind this amendment are:

  1. Several new standards must be introduced in order to enhance compliance with the UN Recommendations in their current form. This means including standards for packagings such as cylinders (which currently have a TC (Transport Canada) specification), and UN-specification portable tanks. This will ensure that Canadians are using the most harmonized, as  well as the most modern, packaging standards.
  2. A number of the existing standards referenced in TDG are not referenced in the most current version. For example, the current regulation has a reference for CSA Standard B339-08, “Cylinders, spheres, and tubes for the transportation of dangerous goods”, last amended in February 2005. The amendment will update this reference to the version published in March 2008.
  3. Currently, there is a standard for Continue Reading…
Health Canada Gives an Overview to GHS Development

Health Canada has released an overview of proposed amendments that will introduce the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) into Canada. These amendments are intended to align the Workplace Hazardous Materials System (WHMIS) with the United States version of the GHS, known as Hazcom 2012 in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The announcement can be found on Health Canada’s website, at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/consult/_2013/ghs-sgh/amendments-modifications-eng.php.

In this overview, considered a “prepublication” (that is, not officially published in the Canada Gazette at this point), Health Canada lays out the major areas in that will change. Note that these changes may require amendments to a number of regulations, such as the Controlled Product Regulations (CPR), the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations (CCCR), the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act and Regulations (HMIRA and HMIRR), and the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR).

The current Controlled Products Regulations will be replaced with a new regulation called the Hazardous Products Regulations, or HPR. These will continue to cover workplace chemicals; presumably, GHS will not be extended to consumer products until the CCCR are amended as appropriate.

The major areas where changes will occur are:

  1. Classification of hazardous products;
  2. Labelling of hazardous products;
  3. Preparation of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), previously known as Material Safety Data Sheets;
  4. Exemptions (full or partial) from the regulations.

1. Classification
In general, it appears Health Canada is attempting to keep the classification system consistent with OSHA. However, there are a Continue Reading…

TDG – What’s Coming

So, what’s going to be coming in TDG in the next year?

Well, let’s start with an Equivalency Certificate for limited quantities.  Members of the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association have an Equivalency Certificate (http://www.tc.gc.ca/tdg/permits/htm/10832-eng.htm) for the use of the new limited quantity mark. If Transport Canada is not going to have this in a very near future amendment, then why don’t they issue the Equivalency Certificate to all shippers?

Amendments 8, 9 & 10 have come into force this year. Amendment 11 was sent to the Minister on October 20 and it deals with correcting errors in Amendment 6. The next step for Amendment 11 is a consultation phase.

Amendment 12, which was reviewed last June, is a large amendment with emphasis on placarding and introduces the overpack. The comment review was completed in June and it may go direct to Gazette II.

Amendment 13 will deal with the standards and Part 5 Means of Containment. This proposal has been at Justice since June and its next stop should be Gazette I.

Amendment Q will be an update of Schedule 1 and 2. Amendment 12 was to take us to the 17th Edition of the UN Recommendations on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods, so why would a separate amendment be needed for the Schedules? Interesting that Schedule 3 is not listed in this proposal – typo? The next step Continue Reading…

Transport Canada Issues Amendment 10 to TDG

Transport Canada has recently issued Amendment 10, an update to Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. The text of this amendment can be found at http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2011/2011-10-12/html/sor-dors210-eng.html.

This Amendment deals specifically with Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs), and compensation for situations where the government has invoked a plan in the event of a terrorist action. Costs that are eligible for compensation include:

  • the salaries and other compensation for employees and contractors;
  • the cost for tools and equipment used, including rental of equipment where necessary,
  • cost of replacing supplies, single-use equipment and other consumables,
  • travel expenses for personnel, including meals and accommodation,
  • expenses related to injury or death of employees or contractors, and
  • costs incident to cleanup after an incident, including handling and disposal costs for dangerous goods and contaminated materials.

In the event of a terrorist incident involving dangerous goods in transport, the Minister of Transport can invoke an ERAP, even if the ERAP is held by someone other than the consignor of the goods. The amendment is required to ensure that this does not place an undue economic burden on the owner of the invoked ERAP.

Other aspects of ERAPs, such as the quantities that trigger the requirement, have not been changed in this amendment. If you have questions about how Amendment 10 will affect ERAPs, please contact ICC The Compliance Center Inc at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

See our TDG resources >>

Government of Canada

Canada Gazette, Part II, EXTRA Vol.143, No. 3 is the proclamation proroguing Parliament to March 3, 2010. As a result of this proclamation, the Government of Canada virtually comes to a standstill: Parliament does not meet, committees are suspended, etc. In other words, TDG Amendment 8 is delayed yet again.

I often get the impression the international community is beginning to look at Canada as a banana republic. Schedule 1 of the TDG Regulations is at the 11th Edition of the UN Recommendations and everyone else is working on the 15th Edition. And we are not making any headway.

If you received a shipment marked UN3471 and looked it up in Schedule 1 of the TDG Regulations, you will notice that it is not listed. Do you know where to go to see if it is a valid UN number?

So, Prime Minister—once Parliament resumes on March 3, what are your plans to get the government working? Are you going to direct the Minister of Transport, John Baird, to get the lead out and publish Amendment 8? Will Minister Baird direct Marie-France Dagenais to expedite amendments to fix Amendment 6 and bring Canada into line with the international community, i.e. 15th Edition of the UN Recommendations? Why is this so hard?

Prime Minister—New Year’s resolution for you: I’m sure you have heard of Mike Holmes’ slogan, "Make It Right"; how Continue Reading…