Compliance Alert: Ready or Not, Here Come the WHMIS Inspectors


Starting October 1, federal OHS inspectors will be visiting workplaces across the country to check for compliance with the new GHS/WHMIS2015 requirements.

What’s Going On

GHS (short for Globally Harmonized System) changes are designed to bring Canada’s WHMIS laws into line with UN standards. The idea is that all industrial countries should have the same basic chemical safety laws so that it’s easier to do global business. The WMIS2015 changes affect 3 groups along a “controlled product’s” life cycle:

  • The companies that manufacture it;
  • The companies that import or distribute it; and
  • The companies that buy and use it downstream, i.e., employers—which is probably you, if you’re reading this ezine.

The deadline for employers to comply with the new requirements is December 1, 2018. But the federal inspectors will still be targeting employers.

The 3 Things Inspectors Will Be Looking for

The latest round of inspections, which will continue through December 31, is more about assistance than gotcha. But employers can still get fined if they don’t have the goods the feds are looking for, namely documentation showing that:

  1. You’ve provided adequate WHMIS2015 training to your workers (get CODiE award winning WHMIS2015 online training, reporting, and certification for $15 from SafetyNow);
  2. Your WHMIS labels meet either current WHMIS2015 label requirements or GHS standards; and
  3. You have either a WHMIS-compliant MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) or GHS/WHMIS2015-compliant SDS (Safety Data Sheet—they’ve dropped the “M”) for each controlled product used, processed or stored at your workplace.

Once December 1, 2018 rolls around, the old fangled WHMIS label and MSDS will no longer be acceptable and only GHS/WHMIS2015 labels and SDSs will do.