Canadian SDS to use Prescribed Concentration Ranges—Again?

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canadian sds regulations

The Backstory

As many of you know, Canada once required that ingredient concentrations be declared using specified ranges, under the now-defunct Canadian Controlled Products Regulations (CPR); these prescribed ranges were required to be used anytime a product’s concentration of an ingredient varied, or if the manufacturer/importer wished to obfuscate the exact concentration, to protect its confidentiality. These specified ranges are no longer required under the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), which repeal and replace the CPR, and becomes compulsory for manufacturers and importers on June 1, 2018.

What’s Changing

In the spirit of continuous improvement, Health Canada—the Canadian authority responsible for promulgating the HPR—is now considering reinstituting these specified concentration ranges once again, this time as an alternative to the current Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) claims that are necessary to protect Confidential Business Information (CBI) in Canada; under the current scheme, manufacturers or importers wishing to protect CBI on a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) must submit their claim of confidentiality to Health Canada, along with a fee of $1,800 CAD, in order to legally omit certain information about their product. The proposed changes to the HPR would allow manufacturers to use concentration ranges on their SDS without having to file an HMIRA claim. If adopted, the potential savings to industry would be substantial. The proposed amendments to the HPR are open for public comment until November 20, 2017.

Implications

As with any change, there’s an “upside” and a “downside,” depending on your perspective. In this case, the benefit is that manufacturers and importers would potentially be able to save thousands of dollars in costs, by being able to protect confidentiality without having to pay for an HMIRA claim. On the other hand, current SDSs would need to be revised, in order to update the concentrations listed in Section 2, to those required by the proposed in the amendment. Enterprises placing products on the market in Canada are wise to begin exploring automated, software-driven solutions so that these changes can be made as seamlessly as possible.