WHMIS in Canada is a combination of federal, provincial, and territorial legislation. The federal components are the Hazardous Products Act and the Controlled Products Regulations. When people talk about employers having a requirement to educate their workers on WHMIS, they are talking about educating them on the information from the federal act and regulations.

WHMIS symbols, classifications of hazards, and labelling for WHMIS are the same for all provinces and territories making the WHMIS course materials standard across Canada for the information workers need to know from the WHMIS legislation. This national consistency is an important part of the Canadian WHMIS program.

In all provinces and territories, there is also local legislation and regulation for the implementation and enforcement of WHMIS. For provincial or territory specific information please click on the specific province or territory link in the righthand column.

As an employer in Canada, do I need to educate and train my employees on WHMIS?

The simple answer to this question is Yes, it is a requirement for employers 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 frequently do I need to train my workers on WHMIS in Canada?

This is the question that can have a different answer from province to province and territory. It is the regulatory authority in each province or territory that sets the answer to this question. Please check the regulations for each province for more information regarding this. See links to the right for each province and territory to find out frequency of WHMIS training for local jurisdictions.

Do I need to have a WHMIS Certificate for my employees?

Currently, National or Provincial laws do not require employers to issue a certificate to their employees. A WHMIS Certificate or WHMIS Card can be issued by the person or organization which provides WHMIS education, training and testing.

Although WHMIS laws do not require that a WHMIS certificate is issued, it is becoming more common that when workers from one organization are on another organization's work site, that a WHMIS Certificate be used as proof that the worker is WHMIS Certified. Having a WHMIS Card or Certificate is a common way to provide documentation that speaks to the training they have had.

A WHMIS certificate typically includes 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.

For more information and links to each specific province or territory visit their specific page links: