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Employers Transitioning to WHMIS 2015

The deadline to become compliant with WHMIS 2015 is approaching.

Each federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdiction across Canada has agreed to target a final deadline for transition to WHMIS 2015 of December 1, 2018. However, specific dates may vary by jurisdiction so you should check your jurisdiction’s deadline on or by contacting your WHMIS regulator.

The last date on which a controlled product with a WHMIS 1988 Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)/label can be sold to your workplace is August 31, 2018. As of September 1, 2018, all hazardous products sold or imported for use in a workplace in Canada must be compliant with WHMIS 2015. If you have not begun transitioning to WHMIS 2015, this timeline may leave your workplace with only 3 months (September 1 to November 30, 2018) to transition your WHMIS 1988 products to WHMIS 2015 compliance.

There are no restrictions on when you may start to work toward compliance with WHMIS 2015. Be proactive and start today!

Some good practices to consider when preparing for this transition are:

  • Meet with workplace leadership to develop a transition plan with milestones and responsibilities
  • Establish and maintain an accurate list of all hazardous products in your workplace and whether they are WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 compliant
  • Understand how the hazard classification criteria of WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 differ. These differences mean that some products may have different hazard classifications under WHMIS 2015 compared to WHMIS 1988
  • Review training processes and materials to make sure they are WHMIS 2015 ready. Remember that as long as you have both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 products in your workplace, you will need to educate and train your employees on both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 requirements
  • Communicate with your suppliers to find out if upcoming shipments will contain Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and labels that are WHMIS 2015 compliant, and to request that they be provided as soon as they become available
  • Plan to use up or remove WHMIS 1988 stock, or relabel these products with WHMIS 2015-compliant labels, prior to the deadline date set by your jurisdiction. Products with WHMIS 2015 labels must have a WHMIS 2015 SDS, not a WHMIS 1988 MSDS
  • If you still have WHMIS 1988 products in your workplace as the transition deadline approaches, request WHMIS 2015 labels and SDSs from your suppliers. Confirm that the SDS and label provided applies to your WHMIS 1988 product. Some suppliers are taking the opportunity to rename and/or reformulate their products
  • Safely dispose of hazardous products that cannot be brought into compliance




Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau /
Bureau des matières dangereuses utilisées au travail
Consumer Product Safety Directorate /
Direction de la sécurité des produits de consommation
Health Canada / Santé Canada /

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