Guidance for employers during transition to WHMIS 2015

Amendments to the federal Hazardous Products Act and Hazardous Products Regulations requirements for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS) are now in effect. The amendments, referred to as WHMIS 2015, reflect the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). 

To ensure consistency of WHMIS across Canada, provincial and territorial jurisdictions responsible for occupational health and safety legislation have agreed to implement the necessary changes to their respective legislation as soon as practical. Where provincial or territorial jurisdictions are unable to bring the required legislative amendments into force on February 11, 2015, the transition to WHMIS 2015 will be implemented through temporary measures until the necessary amendments are put in place. 

Transition will take effect in three phases:

  • Phase One – Suppliers and employers will be able to comply with either the 1988 or the 2015 requirements (February 11, 2015 to June 2018)
  • Phase Two and Three – Labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) from WHMIS 1988 are gradually phased out, starting at the top of the supply chain (manufacturers and importers), working through to distributors and eventual full compliance with WHMIS 2015 at the workplace level (June 2018 to December 2018). 

This transitional approach is guided by five principles and any temporary measures necessary in provincial or territorial jurisdictions will be applied to ensure employee health and safety. The five principles are:

  • Primacy of occupational health and safety – Protecting employees from the adverse effects from exposure to hazardous materials.
  • Collaboration – The federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions and Health Canada work collaboratively during the transition period.
  • Consistency – Jurisdictions will make every effort to ensure consistency across Canada, both in the wording of amended legislation and its implementation during the transition period.
  • Clarity – Health Canada will provide jurisdictions with clear and timely information on the new requirements and WHMIS jurisdictions will clearly communicate the common transition approach to stakeholders.
  • Flexibility – A transitional approach will allow suppliers and employers a broader timeframe to adjust and comply with the WHMIS 2015 requirements.

In New Brunswick 

New Brunswick's new WHMIS regulation came into effect on April 1, 2016.

Information to help with the transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHIMS 2015 is available for suppliers, distributors, employers and employees through and Additional information and resources will be added throughout the transition period. 

Questions on this and other topics can be submitted to Compliance and Regulatory Review at 

For media inquiries, contact the Communications Department at 506 632-2223 or



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