WHMIS 2015


WHMIS 2015 for Workers


WHMIS 2015 is here – Canada’s requirements for workplace chemicals will be updated as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is incorporated into WHMIS. A multi-year transition period is in effect where both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 systems may be used.

GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. GHS is a system that defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and communicates health and safety information on labels and material safety data sheets (called Safety Data Sheets, or SDSs, in GHS). The goal is that the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world. An international team of hazard communication experts developed GHS.

Countries around the world have either already adopted GHS or are in the process of adopting it into their hazard classification and communication requirements for workplace and other products.

GHS style labels and safety data sheets (SDS) are already being seen in Saskatchewan workplaces because the United States and other countries have already adopted GHS into their hazard classification and communication laws for workplaces.

Housekeeping amendments were made to Part III of The Saskatchewan Employment Act to allow for the appropriate references to federal legislation and regulations. These amendments were given Royal Assent on November 19, 2015 and will come into force on January 1, 2016.The public consultation period has ended for the proposed amendments to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulations found in The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996.

Following the coming into force of the provincial law there is a three year transition period.  This phase-in approach would start at the top of the supply chain with manufacturers and importers, working downwards to distributors, and eventually requiring full compliance with WHMIS 2015 at the workplace level.

Phase One – Manufacturers and importers will be able to comply with either the 1988 or the 2015 WHMIS requirements from the date that the Hazardous Products Act and Hazardous Products Regulations came into force until May 31, 2018.

Phase Two – Labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) from WHMIS 1988 are gradually phased out, starting at the top of the supply chain (manufacturers and importers), working through to distributors. The transition period for distributors will end on August 31, 2018.

Phase Three – Full compliance with WHMIS 2015 at the workplace level is required on December 1, 2018.


This free e-course provides a basic introduction to the expected changes to WHMIS after the adoption of GHS, creating WHMIS 2015. Participants will learn about the impacts of these changes for chemical suppliers and employers. Suppliers and employers will gain an appreciation for how they can start to prepare for WHMIS after GHS so that they can ensure as smooth a transition as possible.