Canada Publishes Draft Regulations Towards Implementing GHS

Posted on: August 15, 2014

By Tammy J. Murphy

In June 2013, a Notice for a pre-publication process was started for the proposed regulatory amendments needed for Canada to implement the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). In March 2014, Legislation was “tabled” to move forward with the legislative process for developing the regulatory framework for implementing GHS. And, in August 2014, in a continuation of moving towards this goal, proposed regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. An implementation date of June 1, 2015 (or sooner) has been proposed with a transition period associated with this date.

Multiple proposed regulations were published, including amendments to the Hazardous Materials Information Review Regulations (HMIRR) and the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act Appeal Board Procedures Regulations (HMIRAA) as well as amendments to the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) (NSNR (Chemicals & Polymers)) and the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations (ECLR). These amendments primarily deal with the updating of terminology and references. Dependent on the amendment(s), there is either a 30-day or 60-day public comment period from the date of publication.

In addition to these amendments, the proposed regulations include, under the Hazardous Products Act (HPA), the introduction of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) which would repeal and replace the current Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) and would repeal the Ingredient Disclosure List (IDL). Implementation of GHS, incorporating the 5th Revision of the United Nations’ “Purple Book,” would occur via the HPR.

Per Health Canada, there are 5 main areas in which the proposed HPR would differ from the current CPR:

1) Classification of workplace hazardous chemicals

2) Physical hazard classifications

3) Health hazard classifications

4) Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and Labelling

5) Exemptions

Some of the highlights from the proposed HPR include, but are not limited to:

  • The exclusion of some “building blocks”
  • The inclusion of additional “building blocks”

o Physical hazards such as combustible dusts, pyrophoric gases, physical hazards not otherwise classified

o Health hazards such as simple asphyxiants, health hazards not otherwise classified

o Biohazardous infectious material to maintain the current level of protection under the CPR and would add a 9 heading appendix to the SDS

  • “Prescribed classifications” for certain substances
  • For labels, eliminating the hatched border and statement referencing the availability of a SDS
  • Requiring a 16-section SDS with sections 12-15 considered optional
  • For SDSs, eliminating the current mandatory 3 year review period, the IDL and the mandatory concentration ranges

Although the goal is to align as much as possible with the US Hazard Communication Standard 2012, there will be differences. And, the proposed legislation will not decrease the level of current safety measures in place under the HPA and CPR for workers; the proposed HPR should enhance the protection for these workers.

There is a 30-day, from date of publication, public comment period for the proposed HPR.

Additional amendments are anticipated for the Food & Drugs Regulations, the Consumer Chemicals & Containers Regulations, 2001 and the Safety of Human Cells, Tissues and Organs for Transplantation Regulations.

NOTE: Until all of the required legislative process is completed and a final implementation date is announced, all current legislation (Acts and/or Regulations) remain/will remain in effect.

For the full text of the proposed regulations and amendments, please refer to the appropriate edition of the Canada Gazette.


Canada Gazette, June 29, 2013 Notice:

Canada Gazette, August 9, 2014 Proposed Legislation:


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