Does the Law require Safety Data Sheets in Canada?


Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are crucial in ensuring workplace safety and compliance with regulatory standards. In Canada, businesses that handle hazardous chemicals are subject to specific legal requirements regarding the creation, distribution, and accessibility of SDS.

Understanding these legal obligations is essential for businesses to maintain a safe working environment and avoid potential penalties for non-compliance.

Legal Framework

In Canada, the regulatory framework governing SDS is primarily established under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). WHMIS is a comprehensive system designed to ensure the safe production, handling, use, and disposal of hazardous materials in the workplace. Under WHMIS, suppliers of dangerous products are legally obligated to provide SDS to downstream users, such as employers and workers who may be exposed to these products during work activities.

Key Requirements

Several key requirements outline the legal obligations regarding SDS in Canada:

  1. Provision of SDS: Suppliers of hazardous products must provide purchasers with an SDS at the time of sale or delivery. The SDS must be accurate, up-to-date, and available in English and French to ensure accessibility for all users.
  2. Accessibility: Employers who use hazardous products in the workplace are required to ensure that SDS are readily accessible to workers. This includes maintaining SDS in a central location, such as a designated SDS binder or electronic database, and making them available upon request.
  3. Updating SDS: The SDS must be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect any changes in the chemical composition, hazards, or safe handling procedures associated with the product. Suppliers are responsible for providing purchasers with updated SDSs in a timely manner.
  4. Retention Period: Employers must retain SDS for hazardous products used in the workplace for a specified period, typically for as long as the product is present and 30 years after its last use.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with the legal requirements regarding SDS in Canada can have serious consequences for businesses. Non-compliance may result in enforcement actions, fines, or penalties imposed by regulatory authorities.

Additionally, inadequate SDS can compromise worker safety and increase the risk of accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses, leading to the organization’s potential legal liabilities and reputational damage.


In conclusion, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are legally required in Canada under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to ensure the safe handling and use of hazardous products.

Businesses that handle hazardous chemicals must comply with specific legal requirements regarding the provision, accessibility, updating, and retention of SDS to protect workers’ health and safety.

By understanding and adhering to these legal obligations, businesses can maintain compliance with regulatory standards and promote a safe working environment for all employees.

Contact us at Global Hazmat. We can provide comprehensive guidance and support in navigating the complexities of SDS management and ensuring regulatory compliance.