Material Safety Data Sheet User's Guide​

3. Material safety data sheet (MSDS)

A material safety data sheet is a document that provides information on a controlled product, namely its toxic effects, the protective measures for avoiding overexposure or chemical hazards, and the procedures to follow in an emergency. A controlled product is a hazardous material meeting the hazard criteria defined in the Controlled Products Regulations. The information provided on the MSDS completes the information that is found on the label of a controlled product. The supplier sends the MSDS to the employer when the product is sold. It must be available in French and in English, be kept on the premises by the employer in a location known by the workers, and be easily and rapidly accessible to those who are likely to come in contact with the product.


The material safety data sheet must contain nine categories of information. They can be presented under the following headings or under equivalent headings :

  • Product information
  • Information on the preparation of the MSDS
  • Hazardous ingredients
  • Physical data
  • Fire and explosion hazards
  • Reactivity data
  • Toxicological properties
  • Preventive measures
  • First aid measures.

The internationally harmonized material safety data sheet, consisting of 16 categories of information, is accepted in Canada insofar as it contains the information required by WHMIS and that it mentions that the product has been classified in accordance with the hazard criteria listed in the  Controlled Products Regulations.