Vol. 149, No. 3 — February 11, 2015
SOR/2015-15 January 30, 2015
ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN 2014 ACT, NO. 1
Order Fixing the Day for the Purposes of Section 143 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1
P.C. 2015-38 January 29, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour, pursuant to section 143 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 (see footnote a), makes the annexed Order Fixing the Day for the Purposes of Section 143 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1.
ORDER FIXING THE DAY FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECTION 143 OF THE ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN 2014 ACT, NO. 1
Day for purposes of section 143
1. The day for the purposes of section 143 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 (see footnote 1) is fixed as December 1, 2018.
COMING INTO FORCE
Coming into force
2. This Order comes into force on the first day on which sections 111, 139 and 140 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 (see footnote 2) are all in force, but if it is registered after that day, it comes into force on the day on which it is registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the orders.)
The Government of Canada is revising the classification and hazard communication requirements related to workplace hazardous chemicals; the updated system is known as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The adoption of the GHS will align the Canadian system with that of the United States (U.S.) and other key trading partners. However, as Canada transitions to the new system, federally regulated employers require adequate time to implement the GHS in their workplaces. Consequently, these Orders in Council (the orders) are required to implement the transitional approach outlined in the amendments made to the Canada Labour Code under the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No 1.
Canada’s workplace chemicals hazard communication system — the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) — has been in place since 1988. WHMIS is a comprehensive system for providing health and safety information to promote the safe use of hazardous chemicals used in Canadian workplaces.
WHMIS is implemented through interlocking federal, provincial and territorial legislation. At the federal level, the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) require the suppliers of hazardous chemicals intended for workplace use to classify these products and provide related hazard information through labels and material safety data sheets (MSDSs). Under this regime, Health Canada is responsible for establishing requirements for suppliers (i.e. manufacturers, importers and distributors) of hazardous materials under the HPA.
Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) occupational safety and health (OSH) agencies, including the federal Labour Program, are responsible for establishing requirements for workplace parties (i.e. employers and employees) under their respective legislation. These include the requirement for employers to ensure that workplace chemicals are labeled in accordance with Part II of the Canada Labour Code, that MSDSs for workplace chemicals are made available to employees and that employees receive proper education and training on proper storage, handling and use of workplace chemicals.
In response to the challenges faced by suppliers, employers and employees due to the lack of international alignment in the classification, labelling and provision of safety information for workplace hazardous chemicals, Canada, the U.S. and other countries worked together under the auspices of the United Nations over the past two decades to develop the GHS. The GHS was endorsed as a global standard by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003 for four hazard communication systems: the transportation of dangerous goods, consumer products, pest control products and workplace chemicals. The U.S., the European Union (EU), Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and others either have applied, or are in the process of applying, the GHS to their workplace hazardous chemicals hazard communication systems.
The Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) was announced in February 2011 by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States. It has as one of its key objectives the facilitation of trade between the two countries. In December 2011, one of 29 initiatives announced as part of the RCC Joint Action Plan was the coordinated implementation of the GHS for workplace hazardous chemicals. Specifically, Canada and the U.S. agreed to “align and synchronize implementation of common classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals within the mandate of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Health Canada.”
The Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 amended the HPA and the Canada Labour Code in order to align and synchronize implementation of common classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals. The changes being made to Canada’s workplace chemicals hazardous communication system are substantial. As a result, a transitional approach has been designed to gradually phase in the implementation of the GHS whereby, suppliers and employers are given time to adopt the new system.
These orders are intended to provide federally regulated employers with adequate time to implement the GHS in their workplaces after the new GHS requirements come into force.
These orders establish the transition approach for federally regulated employers. While the new GHS requirements are already in force, suppliers and federally regulated employers are able to transition gradually. On and after December 1, 2018, employers will have to comply with the new requirements. However, if on December 1, 2018, employers have products in their workplaces that meet the old requirements, they will have until May 31, 2019, to use those products. On and after June 1, 2019, all products within federally regulated workplaces must comply with the new requirements. For more information, please refer to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) in support of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) under Health Canada in the Canada Gazette, Part II.
The transition periods for employers not regulated by the federal government will be established by the provinces and territories.
The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to these orders. The initiative to implement the GHS does not include requirements for employers to demonstrate compliance with the Regulations, such as collecting, processing, reporting and retaining information or completing forms. As a result, the Regulations do not place an administrative burden on industry, and, therefore, the “One-for-One” Rule does not apply.
Small business lens
The small business lens does not apply to this proposal, since it simply clarifies the transition periods for the implementation of GHS for federally regulated employers; it does not impose costs on small business.
Canadian stakeholders (i.e. representatives of federal, provincial and territorial governments, suppliers, employers and workers) have been involved in the development of the GHS, under the auspices of the United Nations, for more than 20 years.
The Government of Canada, through Health Canada, has consulted widely with key partners and stakeholders who have expressed support for the proposed approach. Industry is particularly supportive of this work, and has been encouraging timely action along these lines.
Over the years, Health Canada has consulted at length with stakeholders on the GHS and its implementation for workplace hazardous chemicals. This has been done under the Intergovernmental WHMIS Coordinating Committee (IWCC) which is made up of representatives of federal, provincial and territorial OSH agencies, as well as with the WHMIS Current Issues Committee (CIC), which is made up of IWCC members as well as representatives from supplier, employer, and worker organizations. The Labour Program is a member of the IWCC and the CIC.
Provinces and territories are supportive of the implementation of the GHS and have been key partners in the development of the regulatory framework. Their primary concern is ensuring current worker protections are not reduced through regulatory alignment.
Employers and employees organizations support the implementation of the GHS and want to ensure that worker health and safety protections are maintained or expanded (and not reduced) through alignment with the U.S. These orders are intended to provide federally regulated employers with adequate time to implement the GHS in a manner which will enable employees to benefit from clearer and more consistent hazard communication information.
The Labour Program engaged stakeholders on November 12, 2014, to seek input on the dates to be set for the transitional provisions for the GHS. No comments were received.
These orders will provide employers with adequate time to transition to the GHS, rather than compelling their compliance with new requirements immediately upon coming into force.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
As described in the RIAS submitted with the HPR by Health Canada, the transition to the GHS in Canada is taking place in phases, giving key partners and stakeholders sufficient time to make the necessary regulatory and system adjustments.
Health Canada will continue to designate qualified federal OSH inspectors as HPA inspectors. The Labour Program, as part of the IWCC and the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation — Occupational Safety and Health Committee, is supporting Health Canada in the development of training materials, and is undertaking training sessions for federal OSH inspectors to promote a common understanding of the HPR.
Policy committees and workplace committees are the primary mechanisms through which employers and employees work together to solve job-related health and safety problems. In addition, the Labour Program’s compliance policy outlines the proactive and reactive activities used by delegated officials to ensure compliance with the Canada Labour Code and its regulations. Delegated officials also assist the industry in establishing and implementing policy committees and workplace committees, and related programs.
Occupational Health and Safety Policy Unit
Program Development and Guidance Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
Place du Portage, Phase II, 10th Floor
165 Hôtel-de-Ville Street