Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System or WHMIS

is a program most of us are familiar with. First coming into effect in 1988, WHMIS is Canada’s National Standard for workplace hazardous products communication.
WHMIS underwent a revision in 2015 with the incorporation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
GHA aligned WHMIS with similar programs on a global standard, to assist employees who move across borders for their work tasks.  


WHMIS is legislated both federally and provincially in Canada.
Federal legislation, such as the Hazardous Products Act & Regulation is incorporated into the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Code, which provides the requirements employers must meet to protect the health and safety of their staff.  

Key changes to the Hazardous Products Regulations: 

  • Adoption of a new physical hazard class: Chemicals Under Pressure.  
  • Change of a hazard class name from Flammable Aerosols to Aerosols, and the adoption of a new category: Aerosols – Category 3 (non-flammable aerosol products).  
  • Modification of classification criteria for certain hazard classes, including flammable gases, pyrophoric gases, and water-activated toxicants.  
  • Provisions for health hazard classes to include both categories and subcategories, to address mixtures.  
  • Correction of classification criteria for Reproductive Toxicity – Category 2.  
  • New and modified information elements required on Safety Data Sheets (SDS).  

Changes to the Hazardous Products regulation does not affect Part 29 of the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Code, but employers in Alberta still need to meet the changes.

This means ensuring employees receive updated training to the new information, and Safety Data Sheets, if applicable, are also updated.  

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