Helping Small Businesses Adopt WHMIS 2015

November 30, 2015 – Hamilton, ON – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

As Canadian organizations continue to adopt the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) by way of the newly updated Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), also known as WHMIS 2015, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau of Health Canada, have made free tools available to help small businesses in Canada navigate the transition to WHMIS 2015.

While WHMIS 2015 includes new harmonized criteria and requirements, the roles and responsibilities for suppliers, employers and workers have not changed. Workers have a right to know about the hazards that may come with the products they use, and employers must ensure that there is workplace-specific training in place that reviews the hazardous products in their workplace and safe work procedures. Suppliers and distributors are still obligated to:

  • Communicate the hazard through SDS and labels;
  • Update labels and SDS when new data becomes available; and
  • Provide confidential business information to a health professional in the event of an emergency.

What has changed for suppliers and distributors are the obligations to retain the appropriate level of documentation, names and criteria for the hazard classes, how labels look and what is required on the safety data sheets.

A number of resources such as free e-courses and a national WHMIS web portal have been made available on the CCOHS website in partnership with Health Canada to help small businesses keep their organizations educated about WHIMS 2015. 


  • WHMIS After GHS: An Introduction
    This e-course provides a basic overview of the expected changes to WHMIS after GHS. Participants will learn about the expected impacts of these changes for chemical suppliers and employers. Suppliers and employers will gain an appreciation for how they can start to prepare for WHMIS after GHS so that they can ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
  • WHMIS 2015 for Workers
    This free e-course provides worker education on the new WHMIS system, along with an exam and a certificate for those who complete it successfully.  Participants will learn about the WHMIS 2015 system and how it is used in workplaces.

Web Portal

  • Canada’s National WHMIS Portal
    This portal provides Canadian businesses with a single point of access to the most current information about WHMIS 2015 from all of the jurisdictions across Canada. The website also contains helpful tools and resources for workers, employers, suppliers and trainers.

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