British Columbia WHMIS Certificate

There is a combination of federal, provincial and territorial legislation when talking about WHMIS Training in Canada. Canadian employers have a responsibility to educate their employees on the federal components. These are Hazardous Products Act and the Controlled Products Regulations.

The national consistency is an important part of the Canadian WHMIS program. All WHMIS symbols, classifications of hazards, and labelling are the same for BC WHMIS, as they are for the rest of the Canadian provinces and territories.

Every province and territory also has their own local legislation and regulation for the implementation and enforcement of WHMIS. In BC this is covered in the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, Part 5.

Do I need to educate and train my employees on WHMIS is we are located in BC?

Yes, employers are required to educate their workers on WHMIS, where controlled products are present in the workplace. This includes education on what WHMIS is, the classifications of hazards, labelling and how to read a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and is often referred to as "Generic WHMIS" because it would be the same training materials for any workplace regardless of the products used in the workplace and regardless of the types of hazards from these products. The employer has a second part to this responsibility and that is to provide more product specific or site specific training on the products and hazards that are applicable to the work that employee is performing and the products they would handle or be in contact with.

How often do I need to train my workers on WHMIS?

This can vary depending on what province or territory you are from. If you are an employer located in British Columbia and have controlled products in the workplace or workers exposed to controlled products, then you MUST have a WHMIS program in place. The employees must then review their WHMIS program annually or whenever there is a change in conditions or a change in hazard information.

Do my employees need to have a WHMIS Certificate when working in BC?

In British Columbia, there is not currently a WHMIS Law that requires employers to issue a certificate to their employees. However, it is beneficial for you as the employer and your employees to have a WHMIS Certificate or WHMIS Card as a reminder that they are up to date on there WHMIS education, which will in turn keep them safe in the workplace. They can be issued by the person or organization which provides the WHMIS education, training and testing.

More and more, WHMIS certificates are being issued even though it is not manditory. This is because workers from a company can be "off site" visiting or working at other organizations work sites and may be asked if they have WHMIS Certification. If this was to happen, your employee has proof that they have taken "Generic WHMIS education and training" and this provides piece of mind to the other organization.

A WHMIS certificate usually would include the person’s name, company employed by, a testing or training date and a test score if applicable. Most importantly is information on who issued the WHMIS certificate as a way for to assess the credibility of the training or verify the course completion details.

When you have questions about local WHMIS requirements you can contact the jurisdiction that regulates WHMIS for BC. More information is available at this link on the WorkSafe BC site, www.worksafebc.com