Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

With the expected implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in Canada, WHMIS will change. Canadian employers and the suppliers of chemical products will need to prepare to comply with the revised WHMIS rules.

The intent of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace chemicals is to help facilitate international trade by eliminating multiple systems of hazard classification and labelling that can be costly and time-consuming. The GHS will also enhance the protection of human health by providing workers with standardized and consistent information on workplace chemical hazards.

Specifically, the GHS is meant to:

For Suppliers

  • Facilitate international trade
  • Increase alignment across countries on labels and safety data sheets
  • Reduce need for testing across classification systems

For Employers

  • Create safer work environments
  • Reduce costs from compliance
  • Reduce training costs (over time)

For Workers

  • Improve safety
  • Provide greater hazard awareness

Where can I get more information?

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), in partnership with Health Canada, has developed and released two free on-line training courses to help workplaces prepare for WHMIS After GHS.

These free courses provide an introduction to the expected changes to WHMIS after GHS. Participants will learn about the expected impacts of these changes for workers, employers, and chemical suppliers.

WHMIS After GHS: An Introduction (30 minutes)

WHMIS After GHS: How Suppliers Can Prepare (60 minutes)

Both courses are offered in English and French, and are free of charge but registration is required in order to keep users aware of changes to the courses.

Health Canada also offers an email news service to announce information about WHMIS.