Timelines for GHS adoption


Canada embraces GHS in a phased transitional plan

The Hazardous Products Regulations published in Canada Gazette (Part II) on February 11, 2015, confirmed Canada’s official adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and was the first step of a 4-year transitional plan.

Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), the national hazard communication standard in place since 1988, now incorporates GHS elements. The resulting WHMIS 2015 includes new standardized:

  • Classification criteria
  • Label requirements
  • Safety data sheet (SDS) requirements (formerly material safety data sheet)

Multi-year transition period 

A phased transition period is in effect where both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 may be used.

Phases Deadline for implementation Manufacturers and importers Distributors Employees
Phase I June 1, 2018
GHS mandatory
GHS optional
GHS optional
Phase II September 1, 2018
GHS mandatory GHS mandatory GHS optional
Phase III December 1, 2018
GHS mandatory GHS mandatory GHS mandatory

Main differences between WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015

Under WHMIS 2015, “controlled products” are called “hazardous products” and there are:

  • New rules for classifying hazardous workplace chemicals;
  • Two main hazard classes – physical hazards and health hazards;
  • New label requirements, including pictograms instead of symbols that correspond to hazard classes; the hatched border is no longer required;
  • A different format for safety data sheets; a Canadian supplier identifier must be listed on the SDS and label unless the product is imported for own use.

For more information on WHMIS, please click here or contact your ExxonMobil sales representative.

Page glossary

  • Classification
  • Effect
  • GHS
  • Hazard
  • Safety
  • Safety Data Sheet
  • SDS