In February 2015, Canada aligned the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The original system is referred to as WHMIS 1988. Updates to implement GHS will be referred to as WHMIS 2015. A multi-year transition plan has been announced.

What are the timelines for the transition period between WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015?

From now until May 31, 2017, suppliers (manufacturers and importers) can use WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 to classify and communicate the hazards of their products (recall that suppliers must use one system or the other). Beginning June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018, distributors can continue to sell, and suppliers importing for their own use can continue to import, hazardous products with labels and MSDS/SDS that are compliant with WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015.

WHMIS table

Requirements may vary – consult your local jurisdiction for their WHMIS requirements and transition timing.

More information on WHMIS 2015 is available on the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s website by visiting

It is important to note, each Province and Territory has a WHMIS authority that is responsible for implementation and enforcement of WHMIS. The Hazard Classification, Supplier Labels and MSDS/SDS are covered in the Federal WHMIS regulations. Employers must also meet provincial and territorial regulations on WHMIS implementation and training. For more information via Federal, Provincial or Territorial jurisdictions visit

Hybrid WHMIS 1988/2015 Course Available Through CAAR

Get the new “WHMIS 2015 Complete” training course that includes both the original WHMIS regulations (referred to as WHMIS 1988) and the new GHS WHMIS revisions (referred to as WHMIS 2015).

This hybrid course will fully train employees during the transition period, as employers may have hazardous products which are labelled according to WHMIS 1988, and some according to the new WHMIS 2015. The WHMIS 2015 Complete course will ensure employees are familiar with both systems until WHMIS 2015 is fully implemented.

WHMIS 2015 Complete consists of eight modules and provides a complete review of both the WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 modules. Module eight includes information on the Consumer Chemical hazard classes and information employees need to aware of when products labelled under the Consumer labelling system are brought into the workplace.

Visit our training page for more information and to view CAAR’s complete online training library.


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