June 1, 2015
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is changing. Since 1988, WHMIS has been Canada’s hazard communication system for workplace chemicals. It is a national system implemented through interlocking federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations.
WHMIS is changing to adopt new international standards for classifying hazardous chemicals and providing information on labels and safety data sheets. These new international standards are part of the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and are being phased in across Canada between February 2015 and December 2018. The GHS standards have been endorsed by the United Nations. They are also being implemented in many other countries including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and members of the European Union.
The transition to WHMIS 2015 will take place in three phases. The first phase began on February 11, 2015 when the amended federal Hazardous Products Act and new Hazardous Products Regulations came into force. The final phase will end on December 1, 2018. During this period, WHMIS 1988 will be slowly phased out as outlined below.
Phase 1 began on February 11, 2015 and will end on May 31, 2017. During Phase 1:
As of June 1, 2017, chemical manufacturers and importers must sell hazardous products with labels and safety data sheets that comply with only the new WHMIS 2015 requirements.
Phase 2 begins on June 1, 2017 and ends on May 31, 2018. During Phase 2:
As of June 1, 2018, distributors must sell hazardous products that comply with WHMIS 2015 requirements only. The transition to WHMIS 2015 will be complete for all suppliers.
Phase 3 begins on June 1, 2018 and ends on November 30, 2018. Employers will have these final six months of the transition to bring their existing inventories of hazardous products into compliance with WHMIS 2015. By December 1, 2018, the transition to WHMIS 2015 must be complete for all parties. There should be no hazardous products in the workplace with old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets.
During the transition, employers must ensure that workers are trained on:
The type and amount of training will depend on whether a product is new to the workplace and/or newly classified as a hazardous product.
As of April 1, 2015, employers must ensure that certain workers complete a working at heights training program that has been approved by the Chief Prevention Officer and delivered by an approved training provider before they can work at heights.
The training requirement is for workers on construction projects who use any of the following methods of fall protection:
There is a two-year transition period for workers who, prior to April 1, 2015, met the fall protection training requirements set out in subsection 26.2(1) of the Construction Projects Regulation. These workers will have until April 1, 2017 to complete an approved working at heights training program.
This training requirements is in the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation, and is in addition to training requirements under the Construction Regulation.
May 20, 2015
Employers are required to post the most recent version (6.0) of the Employment Standards Poster published by the Minister of Labour in the workplace where it is likely to come to the attention of employees. The poster must be displayed in English. If the majority language of a workplace is a language other than English, and the ministry has published a version of the poster in that language the employer is required to post a copy of the translation next to the English version of the poster.
Changes in the law that came into force on May 20, 2015 also require employers to provide employees who are covered under the ESA with a copy of the most recent version of the Employment Standards Poster.
If an employee requests a copy of the poster in a language other than English and the ministry has published a version of the poster in that language, the employer must provide the translated version in addition to the English copy.
Please click here to download the English version of the poster
Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training (O. Reg. 297/13) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
November 15, 2013
A new regulation entitled Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training (O. Reg. 297/13) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) has been made and will come into force on July 1, 2014. The regulation requires the completion of mandatory basic occupational health and safety awareness training, and specifically:
Sets out the minimum content of both the worker and supervisor awareness training programs including instruction on:
the rights and/or duties of workers, supervisors and employers under the OHSA,
the role of joint health and safety committees and health and safety representatives, and
common workplace hazards and occupational illnesses;
Requires that employers ensure that workers complete the training program as soon as practicable and supervisors complete the training within one week of performing work as a supervisor; and
Requires employers to maintain a record of training, and provide workers and supervisors with proof of completion, on request, for up to six months after the worker or supervisor stops performing work for that employer.
The regulation also contains the following “exemptions”:
Workers and supervisors who have previously completed an awareness training program, either with their current employer or a previous employer, do not have to retake the training if they have proof of completion and the current employer can verify the program that was completed covers the same content set out in the regulation; and
Current supervisors who have completed a supervisor awareness training program before the regulation comes into force do not also have to complete the worker awareness training program.
The new regulation also includes existing provisions previously found in O. Reg. 780/94 (Training Programs), which has been revoked.
Consequential amendments have also been made to O. Reg. 414/05 (Farming Operations) in order to make the mandatory awareness training requirements in the new regulation also apply to farming operations.
For more information on the new regulation, please visit e-Laws.
To help stakeholders comply with the new requirements, the Ministry of Labour has developed awareness training programs and materials for both workers and supervisors, which are free, publicly available online and in many languages.
Click here to download a copy of the free workers awareness training
Click here to download a copy of the free supervisory awareness training