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Canada - GHS Status

GHS Status

Canada has recently (January 2023) started the transition to the Seventh revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS7). The transition will take place over the next three years to allow manufacturers and importers to implement the updates. Before transitioning to the GHS7, Canada used the fifth revised edition of the GHS to classify hazardous chemicals. The main relevant legislation for GHS in Canada is the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) which was released in 2015 by the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR).


Local Adaptation of GHS

The following GHS hazard categories are exempt from classification under the Canadian WHMIS:

  • Explosives, all categories
  • Desensitized Explosives, all categories
  • Acute Toxicity, Category 5
  • Skin Corrosion/Irritation, Category 3
  • Aspiration Hazard, Category 2
  • Acute Hazard to the Aquatic Environment, all categories
  • Chronic Hazard to the Aquatic Environment, all categories
  • Hazardous to the Ozone Layer, Category 1


GHS Labelling Requirement

Based on the WHIMS, substances used in workplaces which are classified as hazardous substances are required to have labels. A hazardous substance is correctly labelled if the label includes the following information in both English and French:

  • The product identifier
  • The name, Canadian address, telephone number of either the manufacturer or importer
  • Any hazard pictogram(s)
  • Signal word to alerts regarding the degree or level of hazard of the substance
  • Any hazard statement(s)
  • Precautionary statement(s), to reduce any effect in case of emergency exposure or handling of a hazardous product
  • Additional information based on the classification of the substance

In case of any new information or evidence indicating a new activity for the substance the label should be updated within 180 days. If the substance is being transported with packaging in several layers, the outer layer does not require any labelling if the inner label is visible. However, it should also be noted that there should be a label on the outer part of the shipment according to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Depending on the volume of the substance different requirements apply, including:

  • Bulk shipments: A label is not required for products sold without packaging.
  • Volume of 100 ml or less:  Precautionary or hazard statements are not required on the label.
  • Volume of 3 ml or less: The label can be removed during the use if the label interferes with normal use of the product.

Safety Data Sheet 

Manufactures and suppliers of hazardous substances are required under the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) to provide updated information regarding the substance in the form of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The format and content of the SDS are set by the HPR. A Canadian SDS must:

  • Be in both English and French
  • Contain the 16 standard sections
  • Be updated every 3 years
  • State the name and contact information of the Canadian manufacturer or importer
  • Contain an emergency number for information in case of accident or emergency situation
  • Contain pictogram (no specific format or size is given)


GHS in Work-Environment 

The implementation of GHS in the work-environment is the responsibility of Canada's national hazard communication standard, i.e. the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). The WHMIS regulations have been implemented in all jurisdictions in Canada. Furthermore, the WHMIS provides regulation and information on hazardous substances intended for use, handling, or storage in Canadian workplaces. Since 2018 all suppliers of hazardous substances to workplaces, and employers which use hazardous substances in their workplaces, are required to be in compliance with WHMIS 2015.

GHS in Transportation 

In Canada, the national transport of dangerous goods is regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act of 1992 (TDG Act), which sets the ground for the transport of dangerous substances in Canada.  Moreover, the Canadian government is planning to update and align the Canadian regulation with international trade in 2023. This update would focus on improving and reducing Canada’s technical standards and regulations, bringing it to the newest UN update.


GHS implementation status

Focal points:

Department of Health: Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch (HECSB), Consumer and Hazardous Products Safety Directorate (CHPSD), Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau

Department of Transport: Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directorate Department of Health: HECSB, CHPSD, Consumer Product Safety Program Department of Health: Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Main relevant legislation:

Hazardous Products Act and associated Hazardous Products Regulations

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 and associated Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR)

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and associated Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001

Pest Control Products Act and associated regulations

Transport of dangerous goods


For international transport of dangerous goods see “Implementation through international legal instruments, recommendations, codes and guidelines”.

In Canada, national transport of dangerous goods is regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 (TDG Act), the TDGR made under the TDG Act and standards incorporated by reference into the TDGR. The TDGR are updated periodically in accordance with the provisions of the UN Recommendations and the international modal regulations, which are incorporated by reference. The TDGR incorporate by reference the UN Recommendations, the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMDG Code for requirements.

The Canadian Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulations were amended in 2016 in accordance with the 19th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations. The amendments (International harmonization update 2016) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on 12 July 2017. They entered into force 12 months after their publication in the Canada Gazette.

A consolidated updated version of the regulations is available from the Canadian Justice Laws website.

Further information about transport of dangerous goods in Canada is available on Transport Canada website.



The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s national hazard communication standard. WHMIS is a comprehensive system for providing health and safety information on hazardous products intended for use, handling, or storage in Canadian workplaces.

Canada adopted the GHS for workplace hazardous products through amendments to the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the publication of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) on February 11, 2015. Since the adoption of the GHS and HPR in 2015, WHMIS is referred to as WHMIS 2015, to distinguish it from Canada’s previous WHMIS 1988, which was not based on the GHS.

By December 1, 2018, all suppliers of workplace hazardous products, and employers with such products in their workplaces, were required to be in compliance with WHMIS 2015.

The HPR are aligned with the 5th revised edition of the GHS, except for the Flammable Gases hazard class and Aerosols hazard class, which are aligned with the 3rd revised edition of the GHS. The building blocks excluded are: the Explosives hazard class, all Environmental hazard classes, Acute Toxicity Category 5, Skin Corrosion/Irritation Category 3 and Aspiration Hazard Category 2.

Health Canada is proposing revisions to bring the HPR into alignment with the 7th revised edition of the GHS. It is intended to maintain the existing scope of adoption, plus include the following new categories or subcategories: Flammable Gases 1A/1B, Chemically Unstable Gases and 

Aerosols Category 3. Canada’s Pyrophoric Gases hazard class will be repealed from the HPR as these gases will now be classified as a Pyrophoric Gas under Flammable Gases 1A.

The Hazardous Materials Information Review Act and the Hazardous Materials Information Review Regulations provide a mechanism to protect confidential business information (CBI) in Canada.

Further information is available in the Technical Guidance on the Requirements of the Hazardous Products Act and the Hazardous Products Regulations – WHMIS 2015 Supplier Requirements.