The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) welcomes the federal government’s move to amend the Hazardous Products Act, as announced in the 2014-2015 federal budget. This is the first step that Canada needs to take to bring its system for classifying and labelling workplace chemicals in line with similar regulatory changes being made in the United States.

The United Nations has created internationally consistent criteria for communicating about workplace hazardous materials, known as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Canada and the U.S. agreed to align their respective systems with the GHS by June 1, 2015, as part of their Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Action Plan. However, to do this, Canada needs to amend its Hazardous Products Act, and change its Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulations. CIAC expects the federal government to change the WHMIS regulations as part of amending the Hazardous Products Act; this will allow companies to better manage the regulatory changes in Canada and the U.S., and provide them with enough time to comply with the Canadian regulations before they come into effect next year.

“CIAC is pleased that the federal government has worked collaboratively with the chemistry industry to advance this issue,” says Richard Paton, CIAC’s President and CEO.

“Ultimately, this will facilitate trade with our largest trading partner, reduce compliance and training costs for Canadian companies, and create safer work environments for our employees.”

CIAC will continue to work with the federal government on this issue, and hopes that the new WHMIS regulations will be introduced as quickly as possible.

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada is the voice of Canada’s $49-billion chemistry sector. CIAC represents the interests of Canada’s leading chemistry companies – from petrochemical, inorganic and specialty chemical producers, to bio-based manufacturers and chemistry-related technology and R&D companies. Canada’s chemistry industry employs 84,000 Canadians directly, and supports another 420,000 jobs in the Canadian economy.