Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS 2015) based on the Globally Harmonized System

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Course Summary

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally agreed upon system for standardizing the classification of chemicals through labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Canada has adopted the GHS criteria and will be implementing it through the WHMIS system. Our course is designed to teach instructors about the changes to WHMIS and how to effectively deliver this session based on the changes outlined in the GHS.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Define the Globally Harmonized System
  • Identify the key differences brought forward by GHS
  • Recognize pictograms for GHS hazard categories
  • Identify the hazards associated with each category
  • Find specific information about hazards and precautions using the SDS

Target Audience

Workers, Supervisors, and JHSC members.

Legislative Reference

Occupational Health and Safety Act s. 42 (3)
Ont. Reg. 851 – Regulation for Industrial Establishments s. 130
Ont. Reg. 860 – Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) s. 6(1)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the GHS?

    The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally agreed upon system for standardizing the classification of chemicals through labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

    The GHS is not a regulation however Canada has adopted the GHS criteria and implementing them through their WHMIS system.


  • What is WHMIS?
    The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System is a Canada-wide system designed to give employers and workers information about hazardous materials used in the workplace.

  • How has the GHS impacted WHMIS?
    Hazard criteria, classification processes, label elements and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) requirements within WHMIS have been modified to be consistent with the harmonized elements of the GHS.

  • How is the GHS improve the WHMIS sytem?
    The new system is a consistent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information which will increase worker and consumer safety, reduce costs, ease regulatory compliance as well as facilitate trade between countries.

  • What are the transition timelines for compliance to WHMIS 2015?
    The implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) (WHMIS 2015) will take place over a three-stage transition period that is synchronized nationally across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions.

    Implementation of the WHMIS 2015 will take place over a three-stage transition period.

    Phase 1 – By no later than May 31, 2017

    • Suppliers (including Manufacturers, Importers, and Distributors) of Hazardous Products will be required to be WHMIS 2015 compliant.

    Phase 2 – By no later than May 31, 2018

    • All suppliers and employers must be in full compliance of WHMIS 2015.
    • All new employees without an existing WHMIS certificate must be trained on WHMIS 2015 no later than May 31, 2018.
    • All existing employees who currently have a valid WHMIS certificate must be trained on WHMIS 2015 no later than December 1, 2018.

    Phase 3 – By no later than December 1, 2018

    • All suppliers, employers, and employees MUST be in full compliance with WHMIS 2015.
  • What is the scope of GHS?
    The GHS covers all hazardous chemicals most of which have been adopted into WHMIS 2015. The target audience for the GHS includes employers, suppliers, workers, transport workers, emergency responders and consumers.

  • Which products from the GHS are not covered under WHMIS 2015?
    WHMIS 2015 does not include:

    • Explosives as defined in the Explosives Act.
    • Cosmetic, device, drug or food as defined in the Food and Drugs Act.
    • Pest control products as defined in the Pest Control Products Act.
    • Consumer products as defined in the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.
    • Wood or products made of wood.
    • Nuclear substances within the meaning of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, that are radioactive.
    • Hazardous waste being a hazardous product that is sold for recycling or recovery and is intended for disposal.
    • Tobacco and tobacco products as defined in the Tobacco Act.
    • Manufactured articles.
  • Have employer, supplier and worker roles and responsibilities changed under WHMIS 2015?
    The current roles and responsibilities for employers, suppliers and workers have not changed under WHMIS 2015.

Continuing Education Credits

HRPA has approved this course for CPD hours. Please contact us at 800.815.9980 to find out more.

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