WHMIS 2015 Health Canada Resource Documents

By September 10, 2019 September 15th, 2019 WHMIS 2015

Health Canada recently issued a series of 6 new or updated guidance documents to assist stakeholders in maintaining compliance with various aspects of the Hazardous Products Act/Regulation (“WHMIS 2015”) and assist importers/exporters in comparing the Canadian requirements to those of the US 29CFR OSHA (“HCS 2012”). These documents are reviewed briefly below with the link to the Health Canada site where the full document is available.

  2. a) Joint HC & OSHA Guidance

This 15-page document compares key features between WHMIS 2015 and HCS 2012 from the perspective of jurisdiction and responsibilities. A summary table is included that highlights the areas of: authority (Federal v. Provincial/Territorial or State); and responsibilities (Supplier v. Employer v. Worker) in each country.

The document was published July 31, 2019 and is available in PDF/HTML at:


  1. b) Guidance on the Use of Concentration Ranges

Following the April 2018 amendment to re-introduce use of concentration ranges for confidentiality purposes, this 20-page document has been issued to provide guidance on how to apply the HPR s. 4.4 and 4.5. This document replaces the information in the Dec. 2016 Technical Guidance document.  A table in the document provides a comparison of this aspect between WHMIS 1988, WHMIS 2015 (pre-April 2018 amendment), WHMIS 2015 as amended in 2018 and the US HCS 2012.

The document was published August 2, 2019 and is available in PDF/HTML at:


  1. c) Guidance on Preparation & Maintenance of “True Copies” of Labels

This topic stems from the WHMIS 2015 new (HPA s. 14) requirement for suppliers to retain documentation including a “true copy” of labels. Confusion has been noted over what constitutes a true copy which this document aims to clarify.

Basic expectations are that any form of a true copy will legibly and clearly convey the actual content, colour(s) and represent the size of the original. Six options are presented as being acceptable if they convey the basic expectations:

– an actual label: either one that would be applied to a container, has been removed from a container; or an empty labelled container

– an electronic mock-up used to print original labels

– a real photo or paper photocopy, in colour, of the actual label

– an electronic digital or pdf colour photo of the actual label

The HTML version of this document, published May 17, 2019, is available at:


  1. Updated Publications:
  2. a) Errata/Amendments/Clarification to Technical Guidance Document

The original December 2016 Technical Guidance document required an update to address the 2018 amendment to prescribed concentration ranges; clarify classification of carcinogens according to IARC & NTP; correct errors in the transition timeline table and HPR s. 8..3.11(2) Table on eye irritant ingredients; and information on HMIRA fee changes.

The July 2019 HTML document is available at:


  1. b) Supplier Documentation Requirements

The WHMIS 2015 HPA mandates retention of true copies of SDS and labels in addition to sales data, by Canadian suppliers. The October 2017 document was updated May 17, 2019 to reference the guidance on true copies of labels (see 1. c) above).

The updated HTML document is available at:


  1. c) Submitting HMIRA Exemption Claim

The downloadable PDF forms for submitting claims for exemption and payment authorization, published July 15, 2019 are available at:



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Karrie Ishmael

Karrie Ishmael

Karrie started with the company in 1988 and has worked in a variety of capacities including customer service, sales, management, and marketing. In her current role as Regulatory Manager, she manages and supports ICC's efforts in supplying value-added services including training and SDS services to our clients. She is knowledgeable in a variety of regulations. She actively participates in a multitude of associations including DGAC, COSTHA and is the former chair of SCHC’s OSHA Alliance Committee.