Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

What is WHMIS?

The Workplace hazardous materials information system has been in use in Canada since 1988. WHMIS is Canada's national hazard communication standard. The key elements of the system are cautionary labelling of containers of WHMIS "controlled products", the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and worker education and training programs.

WHMIS is enforced through federal and provincial laws. These legislations require Canadian suppliers (including importers and distributors) to supply material safety data sheets and labels for all controlled products sold or distributed to be used in a workplace in Canada.

The Health and Welfare ministry in Canada is responsible for the administration of the Hazardous Products act and the Controlled products regulations in partnership with the various provincial and territorial health and safety agencies. In Quebec, the Commission de la santé et sécurité au travail (CSST) is the regulatory agency.

WHMIS is not a regulation itself rather it is a system that allows us to put into application the different requirements of the various regulations that apply to hazardous products such as the Hazardous Products Act (HPA), Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) and the Canadian Labour Code (CLC).

The philosophy behind WHMIS is simple: it is the employee's right to know what hazards he/she is exposed to when using hazardous products but at the same time, allow the supplier to keep certain information confidential.

WHMIS objectives are:

Who must be trained?

All Canadian workers (shop workers, welders, restaurant personnel, janitorial staff etc.) who could be exposed (directly or indirectly) to hazardous materials (solvents, aerosols, acids, cleaning agents etc.) must be trained.

Note: Our WHMIS courses have been verified by the CSST.