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WHMIS Training FAQs

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General WHMIS Questions:


What is WHMIS?

WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) is a comprehensive system for providing information on hazardous products used in Canadian workplaces. WHMIS was first introduced in 1988 and was modified in February 2015 to incorporate the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), which is an internationally consistent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. The program is now called "WHMIS 2015" and aligns Canada's system with other countries that have adopted the GHS.



Who needs WHMIS training?

WHMIS training is legally required for everyone in Canada who works with or may come into contact with hazardous materials at work. This may include maintenance and janitorial staff, office personnel, teachers, co-op students, shop/science students, auto mechanics, restaurant workers, health clinic and lab staff, nurses, doctors and more.



Is WHMIS 2015 (GHS) current?

Yes. Despite its name, WHMIS 2015 is the most current standard in Canada.

December 1st, 2018 marked the final transition deadline for WHMIS 2015, meaning the old WHMIS 1988 symbols and MSDSs are now obsolete and may not be used.



Who is responsible for WHMIS training and WHMIS education?

Employers. The responsibility to ensure workers are trained and the manner in which training is conducted rests with the employer. YOW Canada's WHMIS training program is one method of training and, in most cases, some site-specific training is also required.



Does WHMIS training apply to your workplace?

If a product has WHMIS 2015 pictograms or labels, then WHMIS applies and employers have a legal responsibility to provide WHMIS training.

In some cases, “Consumer Products” with non-WHMIS symbols and labels are used in workplaces. If so, WHMIS training is still legally required to keep employees safe.



What are Consumer Products?

These products are generally for personal and household purposes and are often sold in hardware and grocery stores. These products are partially exempt from WHMIS, because suppliers do not need to label the product according to the regular WHMIS requirements and SDSs are not required as a condition of sale.

However, when Consumer Products are brought into a workplace environment, employee training IS still required and needs to be provided to all employees who use (or might come into contact with) these products.

The symbols displayed on Consumer Products are somewhat different than WHMIS pictograms, for example:



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 determines if your employees are still adequately trained and knowledgeable.

Employees should be able to properly answer the following four questions for each hazardous product they work with:

  • What are the hazards associated with the product?
  • How do I protect myself from those hazards?
  • What do I do in case of an emergency?
  • Where can I get further information about the product?

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

It's recommended that the training be done annually.



Can this training program be customized?

Yes! YOW Canada has introduced customization options allowing organizations to add some content, such as specific SDSs or storage/disposal instructions, logos, etc. For more information please visit: http://www.yowcanada.com/course_customization.asp .



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 a WHMIS 2015 (GHS) course, including site-specific training.



Can I take this course as an individual?

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



Can I take one of YOW's WHMIS 2015 (GHS) courses and then train my own workers?

YOW Canada's WHMIS 2015 (GHS) course is not intended or designed for trainers and we do not recommend that it be used to train a trainer. In order to reap the full benefits of this course we recommend that each trainee complete a WHMIS 2015 (GHS) course themselves. This also ensures that each employee receives a WHMIS 2015 (GHS) certificate.



Who signs my certificate?

The “employer” signature should be signed by the direct supervisor of the employee. The “employee” signature should be signed by the actual trainee. If you are self-employed you must sign as both the “employee” and the “employer”.



What types of WHMIS training does YOW Canada offer?

We offer WHMIS Online Training and WHMIS DVD (English) Training. We also offer additional training materials such as posters and pocket guides.

View our product menu.



Where can I find more information about GHS and WHMIS 2015?

Please visit Health Canada for more info:
Health Canada's WHMIS site



WHMIS Regulations


What needs to be included in a WHMIS training program?

WHMIS training must include both general and site-specific training. General training covers topics such as the regulations, hazard identification, pictograms, labels, SDSs, personal protective equipment, etc. YOW's online WHMIS course is considered general training.

Site-specific training is a follow-up to general training and addresses the hazardous products used in YOUR workplace, how to work safely with them, where SDSs and personal protective equipment are kept, etc. This may include additional training for specific work procedures, handling and storage and is often carried out by the employer.



What Acts or Regulations are applicable to WHMIS?

WHMIS legislation is incorporated into various Acts and Regulations:

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.

Provincial Regulation Contacts.



Do YOW's WHMIS courses meet regulatory requirements?

YOW Canada's WHMIS 2015 (GHS) courses meet general WHMIS training requirements set out by Health Canada and the Provincial/Territorial regulations. 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.



WHMIS 2015 (GHS) Online Training:


How does the WHMIS 2015 (GHS) online course work?

YOW Canada's WHMIS 2015 (GHS) online course works in a 3 step process:

Step 1 - Register:

Once the courses have been purchased all trainees must be registered for the course. Registration is done online through the Training Administration page. You can also contact YOW Canada by phone at 1-866-688-2845, email or by fax to have us register your trainees. Once registered, login and password information is emailed to the administrator. 

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 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 Certificate:

Once completed, the wallet and wall-mount certificates are emailed to the administrator. 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 this training bilingual?

Yes. Available in English or in French, YOW’s WHMIS 2015 (GHS) training program allows trainees to choose their preferred language when they log in.

Learn more about our WHMIS 2015 (GHS) French Online Course (SIMDUT 2015 (SGH)) .



How long does it take to complete the online course?

The average trainee can complete this WHMIS 2015 (GHS) online course in about 1.5 hour(s).



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.



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 Training Administrator. 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 training certificate?

The certificate will be automatically available for printing once you complete the course. It will also be emailed to the Training Administrator. If you are self-employed, the certificate is sent to your email address directly.



How long is my certificate valid for?

To ensure you are always in compliance, YOW Canada recommends that you complete WHMIS training on an annual basis. Although there is no expiry date, your 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.



I am the training administrator. How can I monitor my trainee's progress?

As an administrator, you have access to the Course Administration site where you can monitor and track each trainee's progress. You can see quiz scores, view certificates, activate accounts and more.

You will receive a copy of all training certificates by email as soon as the employee has completed the course.

You can also be able to re-register any employee's who's certificates have expired.



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:

  • Training is available 24/7, on any computer with an internet connection.
  • Trainees can log in and out to complete their training at their convenience anytime from anywhere, so scheduling is never a problem.
  • Complete tracking capabilities through a Training Administration site allow employers to manage the training.
  • Training certificates are emailed to the Training Administrator instantly upon completion of the course - no waiting.
  • Dynamic video, illustrations, photos, audio and text help to meet the needs of different types of learners.


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. to view a demo of this course.



What are the technical requirements for taking this online course?

  • A computer, tablet, or smartphone with an internet connection
    A High-speed internet connection is recommended.
  • A Web browser
    (Such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari). You should be using the latest version of your chosen web browser.


How do I Purchase a 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 DVD training work?

The WHMIS DVD Training Package consists of two parts: the WHMIS 2015 (GHS) DVD and WHMIS Training Packages for each trainee.

WHMIS DVD (42 minutes): A complete WHMIS course on DVD including audio, animation and illustration. Topics covered include: WHMIS 2015 (GHS) introduction, roles & responsibilities, hazard classes, categories, pictograms, labels, SDSs and more.

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

With each DVD, you receive an Instructor's Guide including instructions, the answer key, tracking sheet and a WHMIS Poster.

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

  • Employee Quiz
  • Example Supplier Label and SDS
  • WHMIS 2015 (GHS) Pocket Guide
  • WHMIS Certificates (wallet card & diploma style)

View the WHMIS Video Training outline page for more information or to purchase Video Training.



Questions About YOW Canada


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.

For more information about our company please visit the Contact Us page.