Canada - Hazardous Materials

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is designed to provide information from the supplier of controlled products intended for use in the workplace to the users of those materials in the workplace. The term “supplier” includes the manufacturer, the distributor and the importer.

WHMIS is implemented by federal and provincial legislation. The federal Hazardous Products Act imposes responsibilities on the supplier to provide specific hazard warning labels with symbols and MSDSs for materials meeting the hazard classification criteria. Those that meet the hazard criteria are known as “controlled products.” These responsibilities are imposed as a condition of sale in, or importation into, Canada. The hazard criteria and specific requirements for hazard warning labels and MSDSs are established in the Controlled Product Regulations.

Employers must ensure that all containers of controlled products in the workplace are properly labeled, that MSDSs for these controlled products are readily available to workers, and that workers are trained to understand and use the information. In the case of nickel, these provisions apply not only to primary nickel products and to nickel compounds but to processed forms as well, such as plate and sheet. The aforementioned duties on employers are set out in occupational health and safety legislation enacted by the provinces and the territories and by the federal government for federal employees. More information can be found at:

Trade secret provisions are included in the Controlled Product Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act.