As of June 1, 2023, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) will require that naloxone be available in some workplaces.
The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development has identified construction as a “high-risk” industry. It is up to the employer’s discretion to determine if they are required to have naloxone onsite. Not all employers have to comply with the OHSA requirements to provide naloxone in the workplace.
The requirements do not change how an employer may choose to manage worker impairment from drugs or alcohol that may pose a risk to workplace safety.
For more information on requirements, disclosure of information, location of kits, number of kits required, administering naloxone, and more, visit the MLITSD Naloxone in the workplace website.
Who is required to have a Naloxone kit?
Employers must provide a naloxone kit when an employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, of the following scenarios:
- There is a risk of a worker opioid overdose. For example:
- A worker opioid overdose may have already occurred in the workplace.
- A worker who uses opioids may voluntarily disclose this risk to their employer.
- An employer may observe opioid use among workers in their workplace or discover that opioid use is occurring in their workplace during a workplace investigation.
- An employer may find discarded opioid paraphernalia, such as used needles, in their workplace.
- The joint health and safety committee (JHSC), health and safety representative (HSR), a union representative, human resources (HR) staff, and/or someone else in the workplace may bring this risk to the employer’s attention.
- There is a risk that the worker overdoses while in a workplace where they perform work for the employer. The requirements do not apply if there is a risk of it happening outside of the workplace.
- The risk is posed by a worker who performs work for the employer. If the risk of an opioid overdose is presented by a worker of one employer on a work site shared by multiple employers, only the employer of the worker who is at risk would be required to provide a naloxone kit in that workplace.
If all of these scenarios are present, the employer must comply with the OHSA requirements to provide naloxone in the workplace.
If any one of these scenarios are not present, an employer does not need to comply with the OHSA requirements to provide naloxone in the workplace.
Free naloxone training and kits
For a limited time, starting December 2022, Ontario’s Workplace Naloxone Program will provide initial support to employers who are required to comply with the naloxone requirements in the Occupational Health and Safety Act by providing free naloxone training for up to two workers per workplace and/or one free nasal spray naloxone kit per workplace.
Employers can visit the following participating program providers for more information on how to access free naloxone training and kits:
Number of Kits Required
An employer who is required to provide a naloxone kit in their workplace must provide at least one naloxone kit in each workplace in which they are aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, of the risk of one of their workers having an opioid overdose.
The OHSA does not specifically require an employer to provide more than one naloxone kit in their workplace. However, the OHSA requires an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker (clause 25(2)(h) and subsection 25.2(5) of the OHSA).
Employers who are required to provide naloxone kits in their workplaces must ensure that the worker who is responsible for the naloxone kit has received training. The employer must ensure the training meets all the required elements. This includes training that allows the worker to:
- recognize an opioid overdose
- administer naloxone
- be acquainted with any hazards related to the administration of naloxone
Employers are not required to use a specific training provider to comply with the training requirements. An employer could either:
- provide the training itself
- use an external training provider
If you have any questions about the naloxone requirement or concerns related to your specific worksite, please contact Erich Schmidt, Manager, Innovation and Public Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.