There is just under a year to the final changeover date for WHMIS2015, and you are probably a bit confused, right? Wondering what the timeline is for your business to be compliant and change over all your signage and labels?  Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right spot. We set out on a journey to compile and make sense of all the relevant dates and government requirements.


You’ve most likely heard a lot about WHMIS in Canada (WHMIS 2015) and its intention to unify with the Globally Harmonized System for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS) to create standard labeling across Europe, United States, and Canada – essentially be a single overarching international system.


The amended Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) legislation that was put forward by Health Canada in February 2015 has created alignment with GHS. However, there’s a transition period of about three years before the OHS code requirements will be fully enforced on a federal level. We now have a year left of that three year period. Nevertheless, it makes perfect sense to take action now and order products that are compliant, so you don’t have to order everything again to update them in the near future. You also have to switch over all your old WHMIS symbols, you can’t keep these outdated labels and signs. Now is the time to transition!


Here Are the High-level Federal Changes Regarding WHMIS 2015:

  1. Naming change of “Controlled Products” to “Hazardous Products”
  2. New and revised hazard classes
  3. New classification criteria
  4. New supplier labels (see below)
  5. New pictograms (see below)
  6. New 16-section product safety data sheets (SDSs)
  7. Requirement changes: SDSs don’t have to be updated every three years


Deadlines for Updating Your Signage to WHMIS 2015

  1. A.   Oilfield Manufacturers & Importers:

From June 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018

  1. B.   Oilfield Distributors:

From September 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018

  1. C.   Oilfield Employers:

On December 1, 2018


*These were pulled from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website. However, understand that requirements could vary. Reach out to your local jurisdiction for further details.

The transition period is to allow for time to switch everything with the old layouts already in existence over. By December 2018 everything must be in place for the new system. This date encompasses manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers. These Changes won’t affect well site, pipeline or TDG regulations, it ONLY affects WHMIS controlled products.


Employer Requirements

Employers are responsible for protecting the health, safety, and well-being of their workers. Therefore, they must assure that all staff are adequately educated on both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 if they’re utilizing both systems in the workplace. The transition period provides ample time for employers to fulfill this legal obligation and to update their workplace safety program. Learn more about employer requirements below!

Remember you need new labels, safety data sheets, plus updated worker education and training.



Looking for further information on the WHMIS 2015 Transition?

  • Check out Canada’s National WHMIS Portal (
  • Connect with IDENT’s oilfield signage experts for WHMIS compliant ordering assistance. We’re up to speed on British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan compliance and requirements. Call 1-800-661-1919
  • Changes to WHMIS Legislation in Alberta (