Nexreg Compliance Inc.
Health Canada extends milestones
The last few months have seen a flurry of activity in the regulatory
world as companies clambered to meet the June 1,
2017 deadline for compliance with the Canadian Workplace
Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) 2015 regulation.
Those who may have been late to the party will be relieved to
learn that an extension to the deadline has been announced.
New Deadlines for WHMIS 2015 Compliance
On Feb. 11, 2015, the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR)
came into force as Canada’s approach to implement the Globally
Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of
chemicals in Canada without reducing the level of protection for
workers. The Controlled Products Regulations (CPR), also known
as WHMIS 1988, was repealed to make way for the new and
improved WHMIS 2015.
On May 31, 2017, Health Canada announced the extension
of the first two transition milestones for WHMIS 2015 in the
Canada Gazette. The deadline for manufacturers and importers of
hazardous products to be compliant with WHMIS 2015 has been
extended from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018. The deadline for
distributors has been extended from June 1, 2018 to Sept. 1, 2018.
The final deadline of Dec. 1, 2018 for compliance by employers
has not been affected.
Companies have the option of complying with either the CPR
or the HPR until the new deadlines have passed. Since the final
deadline for compliance is firm, this delay results in shortened
transition periods for distributors and employers. Health Canada
has committed to support employers through this transition by
providing guidance on best practices that can be employed to
prepare for the transition.
Industry wants WHMIS to uphold level of
protection for Confidential Business Information
Under WHMIS 1988, prescribed concentration ranges have
been set out to cover instances where hazardous ingredients in
mixtures are present in a range of concentrations, for example
due to batch variability. Health Canada intended for the exact
percentage of hazardous components to be disclosed, except
in cases where the ingredient is not always present in the same
concentration. However, many interpreted the regulation to mean
that these prescribed ranges may be used for any ingredient. As
a result, companies protected the concentrations of their Confidential
Business Information (CBI) ingredients by disclosing the
prescribed concentration ranges set out in the CPR instead of the
true percent of each hazardous component.
The generic concentration ranges were not retained under
WHMIS 2015; The HPR requires the true concentrations or concentration
ranges of hazardous ingredients to be disclosed on the
safety data sheets (SDS). To protect the concentrations of hazardous
ingredients as CBI under the new regulation, a Hazardous
Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) claim must be filed
to Health Canada. HMIRA claims cost as much as CAD$1,800
per submission; time and energy is also spent to compile the
required documentation. This process can become costly for those
businesses with numerous products containing CBI ingredients.
Companies that previously protected their formula by using
generic concentration ranges will now be hit with these additional
regulatory costs to keep their CBI protected.
Representatives from industry have voiced concerns about
these changes. Those subject to WHMIS regulation hold that
they should be permitted to protect the true concentrations
of ingredients as CBI without undergoing the costly HMIRA
application process. Additionally, these changes result in an
increased burden on Health Canada to process additional
HMIRA claims under the new regulation. It has been estimated
that thousands of new claims, costing millions of dollars, would
need to be filed under HMIRA to grant the same level of CBI
protection that was permitted under WHMIS 1988. HMIRA
requirements for protection of CBI puts companies selling to
Canada at a disadvantage compared to the U.S., where suppliers
may self-declare confidential information without an associated
fee or application to the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety
The deadline extension was given due to insufficient time prior
to the first transition deadline to fully consider this issue. More
time is needed to reach a consensus on a possible amendment to
the HPR that would satisfy the concerns of regulated parties.
22 SPRAY September 2017
Those who may have been late
to the party will be relieved to learn
that an extension to the WHMIS
deadline has been announced...