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WHMIS has aligned with the worldwide hazard communication system known as GHS – the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. Aligning with GHS provides many benefits, including:

  • Hazard classification criteria are more comprehensive which improves ability to indicate severity of hazards.
  • New hazard classes are included.
  • Physical hazard criteria are consistent with the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG regulations).
  • Standardized language (hazard and precautionary statements).
  • Standardized SDS format and more comprehensive requirements.
  • A multi-year transition plan has been announced. From now until May 31, 2018, suppliers (manufacturers and importers) can use WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 to classify and communicate the hazards of their products (recall that suppliers must use one system or the other). From June 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018, distributors can continue to sell, and those importing for their own use can continue to use, hazardous products with labels and (M)SDSs that are compliant with WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015.


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