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.