Highlights of the Proposed GHS in Canada

September 24, 2014

The proposed appeared in the Gazette on August 9th, 2014, with an aim to implement the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) in Canada by July 1st, 2015.

The implementation of the GHS hazard classification criteria, and hazcom elements ( and ), has been proposed according to the fifth revision of the GHS published by the United Nations in 2013. The proposed regulations are, to the maximum extent possible, in alignment with the US OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012).

Highlights of the proposed Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) include:

General
1) the repeal of the existing CPR (Controlled Products Regulations), and the IDL (Ingredient Disclosure List);
2) additional hazard classes for Physical Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (PHNOC), Health Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (HHNOC), as well as Pyrophoric Gases, Simple Asphyxiants, and Combustible Dusts in order to alighn the HPR with the HCS 2012;
3) Biohardous Infection Materials will exist as a separate health hazard class in order to maintain the current level ofworker protection in Canada (and will retain its current biohazard symbol inside a black circle);
4) an exemption for chemicals that are not biologically available. These chemicals would not need to be classified in any health hazard classes;
5) the requirement to label kits (different products sold together in one package);
6) the flexibility to combine hazard statements or precautionary statements, with the option to omit inapplicable precautionary statements (however, the omission of non-applicable hazard statements will not be permitted, as they are under the HCS 2012);

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
1) no requirement to disclose ingredients for which the toxicological properties are not known to the supplier (as previously required by the HPA (Hazardous Products Act);
2) no requirement to revise an SDS every three years in the absence of new information;
3) the requirement to reflect new information on an SDS within 90 days after the information becomes available;
4) more flexibility on ingredient disclosure in terms of disclosing concentration ranges. In other words, the WHMIS ranges of the past, will no longer be required.
5) the continuuing requirement to provide an SDS in both English and French. These may be on a single bilingual SDS, or on two separate English and French SDS.

Labels
1) rules of precedence to prevent the duplication of statements on the label;
2) the supplemental label element warning requiring the disclosure of the percentage of ingredients with unknown acute toxicity (in line with the HCS 2012);
3) the requirement to reflect new information on a label within 180 days after the information becomes available;
4) no provision for a hatched border around label contenet, and neither a requirement for a statement to the effect that an MSDS is available. In other words, the WHMIS hatched border has been dropped.
5) the requirement to have a label on all mixtures containing carcinogenic ingredients at 0.1% or more (while the HCS makes it optional for mixtures containing a Category 2 carcinogen between 0.1% and 1%);
6) the requirement for a label on all products that are classified as PHNOC or HHNOC (while the HCS 2012 does not);
7) the continuuing requirement to provide a bilingual label (in both English & French).

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