Regulatory Compliance

Objective: adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business.

GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. GHS is a system that defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and communicates health and safety information on labels and safety data sheets). The goal is that the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world. An international team of hazard communication experts developed GHS.

Currently many different countries have different systems for classification and labelling of chemical products. In addition, several different systems can exist even within the same country. This situation has been expensive for governments to regulate and enforce, costly for companies who have to comply with many different systems, and confusing for workers who need to understand the hazards of a chemical in order to work safely. GHS promises to deliver several distinct benefits. Among them are:

  • Promoting regulatory efficiency.
  • Facilitating trade. Easing compliance.
  • Reducing costs.
  • Providing improved, consistent hazard information.
  • Encouraging the safe transport, handling and use of chemicals.
  • Promoting better emergency response to chemical incidents.
  • Reducing the need for animal testing.

The GHS system covers all hazardous chemicals and may be adopted to cover chemicals in the workplace, transport, consumer products, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. The target audiences for GHS include workers,transport workers, emergency responders and consumers.

Regulatory Update

November 17, 2023.
Potential Presence of Prohibited Toxic Substances in Cleaning Products

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is contacting companies that manufacture, distribute or sell cleaning products. Certain cleaning products are known to contain a class of substance called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

Some subgroups of PFAS were previously found to be toxic to the environment and are prohibited in Canada. ECCC is providing the following information so that you can ensure that you are in compliance with the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (the Regulations). READ MORE

November 6, 2023.
VOC Concentration Limits for Certain Product(s) Regulations

The Canadian Government has released a reminder that regulatory limits for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) for the manufacture and import of products in Canada listed in schedules 1 and 2 of the Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations (the Regulations). The regulatory limits will come into effect on January 1, 2024, for all product categories, except disinfectants, whose limits come into effect on January 1, 2025.

The purpose of the Regulations is to prohibit the import and manufacture of products in Canada that exceed prescribed VOC concentration limits for approximately 130 product categories and subcategories. Products include:

  • personal care;
  • automotive and household maintenance products;
  • adhesives, adhesive removers, sealants and caulks; and
  • other miscellaneous products. 

These products, used in household, institutional, commercial and industrial settings, contribute to Canadian VOC emissions.  Products that exceed the regulatory limits will require permits for their manufacture and import after the limits come into effect.  

Additional information on the regulations and alternative compliance options can be found HERE

January 10, 2022.
Canada Publishes Final VOC Regulations for Certain Products

On January 5, the Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II: Vol. 156, No. 1 - January 5, 2022. The regulations apply to manufacturers and importers, and establish concentration limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in approximately 130 product categories and subcategories. READ MORE

April 4, 2018.
Cleaning Service Providers: Transitioning to WHMIS 2015, by Bill Balek

Building service contractors and in-house providers of cleaning services have until December. 1, 2018 to come into full compliance with the Canadian Workplace Hazardous Material Information System as revised by GHS (“WHMIS 2015”). However, please note that specific dates may vary by jurisdiction so you should check your jurisdiction’s deadline on or by contacting your WHMIS regulator.

The last date on which a controlled product with a WHMIS 1988 Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)/label can be sold to your workplace is August 31, 2018. As of September 1, 2018, all hazardous products sold or imported for use in a workplace in Canada must be compliant with WHMIS 2015.

If you have not begun transitioning to WHMIS 2015, this timeline may leave your workplace with only 3 months (September 1 to November 30, 2018) to transition your WHMIS 1988 products to WHMIS 2015 compliance.

Some good practices to consider when preparing for this transition are:

  • Meet with workplace leadership to develop a transition plan with milestones and responsibilities. Establish and maintain an accurate list of all hazardous products in your workplace and whether they are WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 compliant
  • Understand how the hazard classification criteria of WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 differ. These differences mean that some products may have different hazard classifications under WHMIS 2015 compared to WHMIS 1988
  • Review training processes and materials to make sure they are WHMIS 2015 ready. Remember that as long as you have both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 products in your workplace, you will need to educate and train your employees on both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 requirements
  • Communicate with your suppliers to find out if upcoming shipments will contain Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and labels that are WHMIS 2015 compliant, and to request that they be provided as soon as they become available
  • Plan to use up or remove WHMIS 1988 stock, or relabel these products with WHMIS 2015-compliant labels, prior to the deadline date set by your jurisdiction. Products with WHMIS 2015 labels must have a WHMIS 2015 SDS, not a WHMIS 1988 MSDS
  • If you still have WHMIS 1988 products in your workplace as the transition deadline approaches, request WHMIS 2015 labels and SDSs from your suppliers. Confirm that the SDS and label provided applies to your WHMIS 1988 product. Some suppliers are taking the opportunity to rename and/or reformulate their products
  • Safely dispose of hazardous products that cannot be brought into compliance

Additional Information. For more information on WHMIS 2015 visit

In addition, a variety of courses are available to help you prepare at

2017 April-May ISSA Canada Regulatory Report

Canada Gazette of April 1, 2017 published a mandatory Section 71 data call-in for hexavalent chromium salts which must be submitted by June 28, 2017. The list of chemicals involved is found at:

It is not expected that these are used by ISSA Canada members, but if the reporting criteria are met filing is required by law.
Canada Gazette I of April 29, 2017 found that EDTA and 3 of its salts, Tetrasodium EDTA, ferric monosodium EDTA and ferric ammonium EDTA did not meet the CEPA toxicity requirements and no further action would be taken. Some of these are used by membership so this is good news.

Canada Gazette I of May 27 2017 proposed the addition of Cobalt and 50 of its soluble salts to Schedule I. These chemicals are listed at:

These compounds would likely find minimal use by ISSA Canada membership.

The big news on the regulatory front is the delay of the requirement of new GHS format MSDS by manufacturers and importers. The original target of June1/17 has been extended to June1/18. The reason for the delay is that the new Hazardous Products Regulations require the disclosure of the concentrations of toxic materials as opposed to ranges that were permitted under the old WHMIS format. It was argued that this was confidential business information. Currently a special HIMRA request and fee is required to avoid this disclosure. The time to submit and rule on these requests was felt to be too short and a delay was issued while options are being explored. Details:


December 2, 2016 - WHMIS

To provide guidance to suppliers of hazardous products destined for Canadian workplaces and in support of the 2016-17 Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Workplace Chemicals work plan, Health Canada committed to release Technical Guidance on the Requirements of the HPA and the HPR in two phases.  Phase 1 was released on June 29, 2016 and focussed on classification principles, hazard communication and Confidential Business Information (CBI).  We are pleased to inform you that the Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau has now released the full Technical Guidance on the Requirements of the HPA and the HPR – WHMIS 2015 Supplier Requirements as our second phase release. This release comprises Phase 1 content as well as Phase 2 content (focussed on physical hazard and health hazard classification) in a consolidated Guidance document.
The development of the Technical Guidance has been informed by considering comments received from stakeholders as part of the publication of the proposed HPR in the Canada Gazette, Part I, comments received on guidance priorities, as well as inquiries received through the WHMIS email account.

Health Canada’s website at has been updated to reflect the availability of the Technical Guidance. A PDF copy of the guidance can be requested via this link:

Health Canada always welcomes input from stakeholders.  Any feedback we receive will be taken into consideration in the development of future iterations of the guidance. Specific questions or comments regarding this guidance can be directed to Health Canada at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For information on employer WHMIS requirements set out by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) occupational health and safety agencies, contact the agency in your jurisdiction. Specific WHMIS requirements for any jurisdiction can also be found at This site is Canada’s portal to WHMIS information for all WHMIS stakeholders, including suppliers, employers, workers and trainers.

Please feel free to forward this email within your organizations.

Thank you,

Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau /
Bureau des matières dangereuses utilisées au travail
Consumer Product Safety Directorate /
Direction de la sécurité des produits de consommation
Health Canada / Santé Canada /


2016 March, April CSSA Regulatory Report


2015 September - October CSSA Regulatory Report

Canada Gazette I of Oct. 17/15 evaluated 5 compounds and found them to be toxic or potentially toxic under CEPA. As a result the minister issued conditions under which these compounds may be used.

The compounds are:

  • CAS # 72968-35-5
  • CAS# 141504-3-2
  • CAS# 19224-26-1
  • CAS# 1200806-67-2

2015 August CSSA Regulatory Report

A section 71 data call-in for microbeads used in personal care products was issued in the August 1/15 Canada Gazette. 
Environment Canada also announced a proposed addition of microbeads to Schedule I of CEPA. While this is primarily aimed at consumer products some industrial abrasive or cleaners may also incorporate these materials.


Mandatory Surveys - Section 71 Notices

Mandatory surveys issued under section 71 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) gather information needed to support risk assessment and, if necessary, risk management activities.

Complete details are found: HERE


2015 June CSSA regulatory Report.

Canada Gazette I of June 6/15 reported the revision of the reporting requirements of Part 8 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. Reporting requirements are outlined for any release, anticipated release, loss or theft of dangerous goods in Classes 3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 8, and 9.

A follow-up report will be required 30 days after the incident.

Details are found: HERE

Can Clean 2015 Seminar. The New WHMIS – Implementing the Globally Harmonized System.

Suppliers and distributors of hazardous chemicals, chemical purchasers, supervisors in charge of workplace safety, managers involved in workplace safety, and Joint Health and Safety Committee representatives will benefit from this program.

The session will touch on the origins of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) from purple book to WHMIS, and the time frame for implementation. The new classification scheme and symbols for GHS will be illustrated, as well as the significant differences between GHS and the old WHMIS system. Form more information, please click HERE

Canada moves to Adopt Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling Hazardous Substances The Canada Gazette of August 9/14 announced Canada’s official adoption of GHS by putting forward the proposed Hazardous product Regulations. read more.... .

April 2014 CSSA Regulatory Report

  • A CEPA Schedule 71 data call-in was announced in the Canada Gazette of April 19, 2014. This is for various hydrofluorocarbons which are identified in the text. Those who manufactured or imported more than 100 kg are required by law to report their usage by August 19/14. Data to be provided and filing documents are found HERE
  • In Gazette II of April 23/14, amendments were made to the 2-Butoxyethanol regulations to clarify some sections. The major amendment involved the labeling of products that were to be diluted prior to use. Dilution instructions are to be provided in both languages to ensure that on dilution, the concentration of 2-butoxyethanol does not exceed the limits for the specific product type. The exact text of these changes is found HERE