Please Note: Our WHMIS course has been updated. To view the updated course FAQs click here.

WHMIS Training FAQs  (Frequently Asked Questions)

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What is WHMIS?
WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. WHMIS was designed to ensure the safety of employers and employees while at the workplace. In particular, the system was designed to keep workers and employers informed of the dangers and hazards associated with the chemicals and substances that they may come into contact with while on the job.

The key elements of WHMIS and WHMIS training are labeling of containers, the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and worker education/training programs.

What Acts or Regulations are applicable to WHMIS?
WHMIS legislation is incorporated into various Acts and Regulations:

Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/ 86-304), Part X, Hazardous Substances    navigate to Part 10 (Part X)
Hazardous Products Act (HPA)
Controlled Products Regulations
Hazardous Materials Information Review Act

WHMIS is a national program and the basic requirements are the same across Canada. However, individual provinces and territories may have also introduced minor changes while integrating WHMIS with their occupational health and safety regulatory regime.
Click here to see the provincial contacts for WHMIS.

Who needs WHMIS training?
WHMIS training is legally required for all employees who are exposed or likely to be exposed to a hazardous material or controlled product at the workplace.

Who is responsible for WHMIS training and WHMIS education?
The onus is on the employer to ensure that his or her staff is properly trained. The responsibility to ensure workers are trained and the manner in which training is conducted rests with the employer.  YOW Canada’s WHMIS courses are one method of training and, in most cases, additional site-specific training is required. 

Does WHMIS training apply to your workplace?
If a product has the usual WHMIS symbols or labels, WHMIS applies and employers have a legal responsibility to deliver WHMIS training.  However, people are often confused when analyzing their cleaning products because they discover hazard symbols that are not typical WHMIS symbols.  For example:

Because these Consumer Products are generally used for personal, family and household purposes, they are partially exempt from WHMIS.  This means the supplier does not need to label the product according to the regular WHMIS symbols/labels, nor is a MSDS required as a condition of sale.  However, keep in mind: When Consumer Products are brought into a workplace environment, WHMIS training IS a legal requirement and needs to be delivered to all employees who use (or might come into contact with) these products.

How often do I need WHMIS training?
Every company must review their WHMIS program at least annually or more frequently if required by a change in work conditions or available hazard information. Reviewing your program ensures that your employees are still adequately trained and knowledgeable.

To determine if your employees are adequately trained, they should be able to properly answer the following four questions:

1) Where can I get hazard information?
2) What are the hazards of the controlled product?
3) How am I protected from those hazards?
4) What do I do in case of an emergency?

If you find that your employees are not sufficiently trained, they should be retrained.

It's recommended that the training be done annually.  This link may help you decide how often you require training: HRSDC Operations Program Directive on WHMIS: Part 10 - Training.

What needs to be included in a WHMIS training program?
WHMIS training must include both general and site-specific training. General training covers such things as the regulations, labels, MSDSs, controlled products, symbols etc. YOW's WHMIS Online Course is a general course.

Site-specific training covers things like how to work safely with the controlled products used in YOUR workplace, where you keep the personal protective equipment and MSDSs and training for specific work procedures.

How is compliance to WHMIS monitored?
Compliance activities relating to WHMIS supplier labeling and MSDS requirements are conducted by Health Canada and the provincial, territorial and federal agencies responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS).

The Minister of Health Canada designates individuals nominated by these OHS agencies as inspectors and analysts for the purposes of conducting the inspection program in support of the WHMIS requirements of the HPA. The OHS agencies also conduct the compliance program for the WHMIS employer requirements established under their respective legislation.

Click here to view the
Health Canada's WHMIS site.

If I change employers/jobs, do I have to retrain?
The onus is on the employer to ensure that his or her staff is properly trained for the job. Because you can never be too sure of previous training, it's recommended that new employees take a WHMIS course, including site-specific training. The responsibility to ensure that all workers are properly trained for the workplace, and the manner in which training is conducted, rests with the employer.

Can I take this course as an individual?
Absolutely! If you are taking this course as an individual, simply enter your name down in the area for "Company Name".

I am self-employed.  Who signs my certificate?
If you are self-employed, that means you are the employer. You would sign your own certificate.

What does the "YOW" in YOW Canada stand for?
YOW Canada’s offices are located in Ottawa, Ontario and Y-O-W are the international call letters for the Ottawa Airport. Plus, we think it’s a catchy name that’s easy to remember.

What types of WHMIS training does YOW Canada offer?
We offer WHMIS Online Training and WHMIS Video Training. Our online course is also available in French. We also provide additional training materials such as posters and pocket guides. Click to view our product menu.

Do YOW's WHMIS courses meet regulatory requirements?
YOW Canada’s WHMIS courses meet general WHMIS training requirements set out by Health Canada and HRSDC. The responsibility to ensure workers are trained, and the manner in which training is conducted, always rests with the employer, and, in most cases, additional site-specific training is required.

This course was developed in accordance with federal legislation and based on “Model [WHMIS] OSH Regulations” prepared by the Occupational Health and Safety Committee of the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation.  It focuses on requirements set out under the Canada Occupational Health & Safety Act, the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) and meets general WHMIS training requirements.

Can I take one of YOW's WHMIS courses and then train my own workers in WHMIS?
YOW Canada’s WHMIS courses are not intended or designed for trainers and we do not recommend that they be used to train a trainer. In order to reap the full benefits of these courses, we recommend that each trainee complete a WHMIS course themselves. This also ensures that each employee receives a WHMIS certificate.

How do I PURCHASE a WHMIS course?
Purchases can be done online, by phone at 1-866-688-2845 or by fax. You may pre-purchase courses to be used at a later date. There are no expiry dates for pre-purchased courses.

What other courses does YOW Canada offer?
Please visit our product menu for all of our course offerings.

WHMIS Video Training:

How does the WHMIS video training work?
The WHMIS Video Training Package consists of two parts: a WHMIS Video and WHMIS Training Packages for each trainee:

WHMIS Video 2006 (42 minutes): A complete WHMIS course on DVD including audio, animation and illustration. Topics covered include: WHMIS introduction, roles & responsibilities, symbols, classes, labels, controlled products, MSDSs and more.

Trainees follow the video using reference materials included in their Training Package (see below). Trainees complete a quiz after every chapter. After successful completion, a WHMIS certificate (supplied) can be signed and issued.

With each video, you receive an Instructor's Package including answer key, tracking sheet and a WHMIS Poster.

WHMIS Training Packages: Each employee who requires training must have their own Training Package. Trainees follow along the video using the reference materials included in the Training Package.

Each package includes:
Example Label and MSDS
Pocket Guide
WHMIS Certificate (wallet & wall-mount)

You can get more information or purchase a WHMIS Video Training Package by clicking here.

WHMIS Online Training:

How does the WHMIS online course work?
YOW Canada’s WHMIS online course works in a 3 step process:

Step 1: Register - All trainees must be registered for the course.  Registration can be done online, by phone at 1-866-688-2845 or by fax.  Once registered, login and password information is emailed to the supervisor.

Step 2: Take the Course - Trainees can log in at any time to start their training and can log in and out as many times as necessary to complete their WHMIS training. The course is about 1.5 hours in length. It includes audio, video, animation and interactive exercises. It makes training fun and educational!

Step 3: Print your WHMIS Certificate - Once completed, WHMIS wallet and wall-mount certificates are emailed to the supervisor.  The certificates are printable and accompanied by a Performance Record that displays how the trainee performed throughout the course (scores for each chapter etc.). 

Is the course available in French?
Yes, our WHMIS online course is available in French. Once a trainee logs into the course, he will choose which language he wants to take the training in. Learn more about our WHMIS in French Online Course (SIMDUT).

How long does it take to complete the online course?
The average trainee can complete this WHMIS online course in 1 to 1.5 hours. If you have a dial-up internet connection, it will take longer to download the course.

What will I receive when I have completed my training?
Once you complete the course, a pdf document will be available for you to download and print. This document is also emailed to the Account Supervisor.  This document will include your Performance Record and certificate.  The certificate includes your name, your employer's name and the date you certified.

How will I receive my WHMIS training certificate?
The WHMIS certificate will be automatically available for printing once you complete the course. It will also be emailed to the Account Supervisor. If you are self-employed, the certificate is sent to your email address directly.

How long is my certificate valid for?
YOW Canada recommends that you complete WHMIS training on an annual basis. The certificate will have a "Next Recommended Training Date" of one year past your certification date.

Can I take this course as a refresher?
Yes, this course was designed to suit the needs of both first time trainees and refresher training.

Can I log into the course more than once?
Yes, you can log in and out of the course as many times as necessary in order to complete your training.  When you log back into the course, you will be brought back to your last visited page. You have up to 1 year to complete your course.

Do I have to complete the course in one session?
No, you may log in and out as many times as necessary to complete your course. Your work will be saved.

I am the supervisor. How can I monitor my employee's progress?
As a supervisor, you have access to a Course Administration site where you can monitor and track each employee's progress. You can see quiz scores, view certificates, activate accounts and more. You can also re-register any employee's who's certificates have expired. You also receive a copy of all training certificates by email as soon as the employee has completed the course.

Why should I choose online training versus classroom training?
Online training with YOW Canada is fast, easy and effective. Some of the benefits of online training include:

Available 24/7, on any computer with an internet connection.
Complete tracking capabilities through Course Administration to ensure employees have certified and to monitor their progress.
No need to remove multiple employees from their work to train simultaneously.
Employers can rest assured that each employee has received the same subject matter.
Save on traveling costs.
Certificates are emailed immediately following successful completion of the course.

YOW Canada’s online training is dynamic and includes audio, video, animation and interactive exercises. It makes training fun and educational!

I have dial-up internet. Can I still take the course?
Yes. The course is available for dial-up users.  Please be aware, however, that it may take more time to download. If you'd like to see a demo to test the speed, please click here to view a demo of this course.

What are the technical requirements for taking this WHMIS online course?

Windows 98 OS or newer / MAC OS 7 or newer
Internet Explorer 5, Firefox (PC or MAC), Netscape 6.0 or newer, Safari (MAC)
500 MB RAM
Pentium II 500 MHZ processor
1024 x 768 dpi screen resolution or higher
56k internet connection or higher (high-speed recommended)
Macromedia Flash Player version 6.0 or higher
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