Act

Proposed Amendments to Occupational Health and Safety Act and R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 860, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

Regulation Number(s):
R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 860
Bill or Act:
Occupational Health and Safety Act
Summary of Decision:
The Ontario government has amended the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the WHMIS Regulation (R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 860) made under the OHSA to adopt new, international standards that are part of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The amendments to the OHSA and WHMIS Regulation affect various requirements governing labels and safety data sheets for hazardous workplace chemicals. Also affected are definitions, terminology and provisions that protect confidential business information related to hazardous workplace chemicals. The changes reflect amendments to the federal Hazardous Products Act and new Hazardous Products Regulations, which came into force February 11, 2015.

The new requirements in the OHSA and WHMIS Regulation come into effect July 1, 2016. To give workplace parties time to adjust to the new requirements, there will be a transition period to gradually phase out the old requirements:

Employers have until May 31, 2018 to continue to receive and use hazardous products with either the old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets or the new ones.

Employers have from June 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018 to bring any hazardous products still in the workplace with the old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets into compliance with the new requirements.

By December 1, 2018, the transition to the new WHMIS labels and safety data sheets must be complete.

During the transition, employers must ensure workers are trained on both the old and new labels and safety data sheets for as long as both are present in the workplace.


Further Information:
Proposal Number:
14-MOL006
Posting Date:
October 31, 2014
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry of Labour is proposing to amend selected provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that set out duties related to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), and to amend certain requirements in the WHMIS Regulation made under the OHSA.

WHMIS is a Canada-wide system to ensure employers and workers have consistent health and safety information about hazardous workplace chemicals, provided through labels, material safety data sheets and worker training. It has been in place across Canada since 1988 and is implemented through complementary federal and provincial/territorial legislation.

The amendments the Ministry of Labour is proposing are part of a broader national and international initiative to implement a world-wide system of classifying and providing information about hazardous workplace chemicals, known as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

A number of jurisdictions are already in the process of implementing the GHS, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, China, Japan and South Korea.

In Canada, the federal government has taken steps to implement the GHS. On June 19, 2014, it passed amendments to the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) to harmonize existing WHMIS requirements with GHS standards. On August 9, 2014, it published proposed new Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), in Canada Gazette, Part I, to replace the existing Controlled Products Regulations. The final HPR are expected to be published in Canada Gazette, Part II in late 2014. All provinces and territories must amend their WHMIS requirements to reflect the changes to federal WHMIS legislation and regulations. In Ontario, this means that administrative and technical amendments to both the OHSA and WHMIS Regulation are required.

At this time, the MOL is consulting on proposed amendments to the OHSA and WHMIS Regulation, based on the amended HPA and proposed, new HPR. MOL's proposed amendments may change to reflect the final HPR but these changes are not expected to be significant.

The public is invited to provide written comments, beginning on November 3, 2014 and ending on December 19, 2014. Written submissions received during the consultation period will be considered in the final preparation of the proposed amendments.

The MOL is proposing that new requirements would come into force on June 1, 2015. Consistent with the approach of the federal government, it is anticipated that Ontario's proposed amendments would provide for a lengthy transition period - until June 2017 - for full implementation of the GHS.

Please see the attachment for details on the proposed amendments.

Notice to Consultation Participants

Personal information collected during this consultation is under the authority of Section 70 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and is in compliance with section 38 (2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Please note that your comments, submissions, identity and organizational affiliation will become part of the public record and may be released during or following the consultation process.
Contact Address:
WHMIS/GHS Project
Health and Safety Policy Branch
Ministry of Labour
400 University Avenue, 12th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1T7
Fax: 416-326-7650
Effective Date:
July 1, 2016
Decision:
Approved