Canada GHS

Hazardous Products Regulations

Health Canada Updates the HPR with GHS (WHMIS 2015)

Health Canada updated the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) to align WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) with GHS. This implementation is commonly referred to as WHMIS 2015. GHS is part of an overall global program to harmonize product warnings and labeling across regions throughout the world. The advantages of adopting GHS are that product warnings will be more consistent with common identification, nomenclature, and warnings.

In Canada, GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are required for all products manufactured or distributed by Zep Inc. The labeling of all industrial and institutional products must also be in a GHS format. The labeling of retail products, hand soaps, hand sanitizers, and pesticides are regulated by other Canadian agencies or regulations such as the Consumer Chemicals and Container Regulations (CCCR), the Pest management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), or the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR). They have unique labeling requirements and do not utilize GHS statements. Although the labeling for these products are not GHS, the SDS for these products need to be in a GHS format, since the SDS are the primary documents used to provide hazard information to employees in the workplace (WHMIS regulates safety in the workplace), they must be also available to workers in English and in Canadian French.

GHS in the Workplace - All impacted Zep Inc products will be converted to the new standards by the June 1, 2018 manufacturer’s deadline required by Health Canada. Our customers may have already started to see hazardous products that follow WHMIS 2015 requirements. During the transition period, hazardous product labeling can follow either WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 requirements. To ensure worker protection, employers must educate and train workers about WHMIS 2015 as new labels and SDSs appear in their workplaces.

The legislation places the obligation for education and training with the employer, and it outlines the minimum requirements for education and training. It is important that Zep be a knowledgeable touchpoint for our customers through this transition. Although Zep cannot facilitate formal training to our customers to comply with the new WHMIS standards, we can be a resource to guide you to the resources and third party training options that can consider to train your staff and operate under these new rules.

What are the main differences between WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015?

Under WHMIS 2015, “controlled products” are called “hazardous products” and there are:

  • new rules for classifying hazardous workplace chemicals;
  • two main hazard classes – physical hazards and health hazards
  • new label requirements, including pictograms instead of symbols that correspond to hazard classes; and,
  • a different format for safety data sheets

The key responsibilities of suppliers, employers and workers are the same under WHMIS 2015.

Illustrated below are the new hazards pictograms to be used under the HPR.

In 2015, the United States completed the conversion to the GHS and now with Canada’s adoption of GHS hazard communication nomenclature and convention, the warnings for the same product will be considerably more harmonized between the 2 countries than prior to this adoption.

Internet Resources – For more information on GHS in Canada click on the links below.


Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website


Health Canada’s website