Everything you need to Know about Health Canada Inspections of SDS


Health Canada conducts audits of Safety Data Sheets to ensure compliance with the Hazardous Products Regulations and the Hazardous Products Act. The HPR provides classification, labeling, and SDS requirements for hazardous products sold in Canada.

Health Canada inspectors will find common defects or reasons for non-compliance in each inspection criteria. These criteria include:

Health Canada will report to the company if they identify any deficiencies. The report will outline the weaknesses and a timeline on how to correct them. You may be subject to fines, penalties, or legal action if you do not correct the deficiencies within a reasonable time frame. These observations show the importance of making sure that SDS is accurate, current, easily accessible, and comply with the HPR requirements. Companies should make sure that SDS are reviewed and updated regularly and that employees are trained in how to read and understand the information on the SDS.

Common Observations from Hazardous Product Act Inspections and Hazardous Products Regulations Inspections

Section 1, Emergency Phone Number, HPR Schedule 1, Paragraph 1.e

Safety Data Sheets must include an emergency telephone number. Anyone who wants to report an urgent situation or get information on a dangerous product can use this phone number.

Common observations made during an inspection to determine compliance with HPR regarding emergency numbers on SDS include:

  1. Missing Phone Number.
  2. Incorrect phone number The SDS has an incorrect or outdated phone number.
  3. Incomplete number of phone: A phone number on the SDS may be incomplete or lacking necessary information such as area code and international dialing codes.
  4. Incorrect formatting of phone numbers: This phone number is not formatted properly, making it difficult to dial or read in an emergency.
  5. Inability to access the document: Workers who need to contact the emergency number are not able to easily find the SDS, or it is not displayed in a prominent location near the product.

Note: It’s important that companies ensure the emergency number on SDS are accurate, complete, and easily accessible by workers. This will ensure that emergencies are dealt with quickly and effectively, minimizing any risk to workers or the surrounding environment.

Section 2, Paragraph 2 (b), of a SDS — Incorrect or missing pictograms

According to HPR Schedule 1, paragraph 2(b), a pictogram must be displayed on the SDS for products that are classified as hazardous.

The SDS won’t comply with HPR if an HPR audit finds the SDS missing the required pictogram or the pictogram is incorrect. The responsible party must take immediate action to rectify the error and update SDS. This could include reviewing the product’s class and adding the missing picture (if needed), updating the hazards and precautions in the SDS and reissuing it to users.

Section 3, Concentration Ranges, Subsection 4.4.1(4)

The SDS must disclose the exact concentration of any hazardous ingredients. There are situations in which the exact concentration of a substance may be kept as proprietary business information.

The HPR Sections 4.4.1(4) & 4.5(4) provide the necessary requirements to indicate that the exact concentration of a hazardous substance is being held as CBI. These subsections specify that the SDS must contain a statement indicating that the exact concentration is being withheld by the manufacturer as CBI.

  1. Confidential business information (CBI) is used to withhold the concentration of an ingredient.
  2. Why the concentration has been withheld? (e.g., proprietary information, trade secrets).
  3. If possible, give a range of concentrations for the ingredient.

Please be aware that any decision to not disclose the exact concentration of a dangerous ingredient as CBI is subject to the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act and its regulations. The requirements also include proving that the information is confidential and that disclosure of it could harm the competitive position of the company.

Section 9 — Chemical and physical properties — Schedule 1, paragraph 9

The Hazardous Products Regulations in Canada, Schedule 1, Paragraph 9, requires that SDSs for hazardous products contain information about their physical and chemical properties. This information is vital for the safe handling, storage, and management of hazardous products as well as emergency response and spill control.

Section 9 — Odors — Paragraph 9(b), Schedule 1

This requirement applies to products with a distinct odor which can be used as an early warning system for exposure to hazardous substances.

SDSs must contain a short description of the product’s characteristic smell. The description must be detailed enough for individuals to identify the odor and to take protective measures against exposure.

Section 9 — Limits of flammability and explosiveness — Schedule 1, paragraph 9(j).

The HPR Schedule 1 Paragraph 9 (J) refers to the Upper Explosive Limits (UEL) or Lower Explosive Limits (LEL), both of which are important in determining whether a product can be classified as flammable. The UEL is defined as the maximum concentration of gas or vapor that will ignite in the air, while the LEL refers to the minimum concentration.

The following information must be included on the SDS when the flammable pictogram appears:

  1. If known, the UEL and LEL for the product.
  2. SDS must include a statement if the UEL or LEL values cannot be determined.

The information provided is vital for helping people understand the potential hazards of flammability associated with the product and to take the appropriate precautions when handling, storing, and using it.

Section 10 — Stability and Reactivity — Paragraph 10, Schedule 1

The SDS should include information on the potential for the product to react with other substances, such as air or water. Included in this information is:

  1. When exposed to certain conditions and substances, the product’s ability to undergo hazardous chemical reactions (such as decomposition, polymerization, or violent reactions).
  2. Any reactions known or expected to occur when the product is released in the environment.
  3. There are specific precautions to be taken in order to minimize or prevent reactions. For example, avoiding heat, light, or moisture.

This information can be found on the SDS to help users understand the hazards that may arise from the product’s reactivity. It can also inform them about safe handling, storage and transportation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *