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The SCSA is in the process of updating its training courses and resources to reflect the changes to the original Workplace Hazardous Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) requirements in Canada that will incorporate the Globally Harmonized System of Classifying and Labelling Workplace Chemicals (GHS) – an internationally agreed-upon hazard communication system developed by the United Nations.

WHMIS is a system of combined federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations that first became law in 1988. The main components of WHMIS are hazard identification and product classification, labelling, safety data sheets, and worker education and training. The GHS defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and communicates health and safety information on labels and material safety data sheets – referred to as Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).Originally named WHMIS 1988, the system will be referred to as WHMIS 2015 once GHS is incorporated.

Anyone currently certified with the SCSA WHMIS Train-the-Trainer course (all certifications are valid for three years) will continue to maintain their certification until the date of expiry. Once implemented, the new SCSA WHMIS 2015 Train-the-Trainer training course will be offered for those wishing to newly certify or recertify.

Transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015

Both the amended Hazardous Products Act and the new regulations are currently in force, meaning that suppliers may begin to use and follow the new requirements for labels and SDSs for hazardous products sold, distributed, or imported into Canada. Saskatchewan workplaces and other countries have already adopted GHS in into their hazard classification, labeling and communication laws for workplaces. While the new system contains new international hazard classifications and labelling requirements, the responsibilities for workers, supervisors and suppliers will remain the same.

Saskatchewan requirements for employers and workers can be found in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 Part XXII. While legislative changes are underway to include provisions for the transition period from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015, employees will be permitted to use WHMIS controlled products under the following conditions:

When an employer receives products with only WHMIS 1988 labels and MSDSs, employees may use the produces if they have received training in the requirements of WHIMIS 1988
When an employer receives products with both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 labels as well as MSDSs and SDSs, employees may use the products if they have received training in either WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015

A multi-year transition plan to update provincial, federal and territorial occupational health and safety WHMIS regulations will take place from now until May 31, 2017. Until this time, suppliers will be permitted to use either WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 to classify and label product hazards. Beginning June 1, 2017 and ending in May 31, 2018, both distributors and suppliers importing products for their own use are also permitted to continue using either WHMMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015.

Implementation Timeline (WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015)