Government of Canada increases protection for workers handling hazardous materials

The government of Canada has announced new occupational health and safety regulations under the Canada Labour Code that will better protect federally regulated workers who use, handle and store hazardous products in the workplace.
These changes are part of the government’s implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). It aligns Canada’s system, in co-ordination with the provinces and territories, with that of the United States and other key trade partners such as the European Union, Australia, China, Japan and South Korea, who have either adopted, or are currently in the process of adopting the GHS. The co-ordinated implementation of the GHS for workplace hazardous chemicals will facilitate trade between Canada and its trading partners, reduce the compliance cost associated with trans-border shipments of products, and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian suppliers of workplace chemicals.

“Every employee has the right to a safe workplace. These new amendments will better protect workers from hazardous products and improve their overall safety,” said Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour MaryAnn Mihychuk. “At the same time, these regulations provide improved, harmonized and consistent hazard information that will help businesses reduce their costs and make compliance easier in Canada and abroad.”

Applying an international standard to the classification and labelling of workplace chemicals means hazard information will become consistent between a majority of international suppliers and federally regulated workplaces, which will provide clear information on how to safely use, handle and store hazardous materials in the workplace.

Thee amendments are in the five OHS regulations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code: the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; the Aviation Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; the On Board Trains Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; and the Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations.