By Anthony Capkun
April 7, 2022 – The Ontario government has introduced legislation that, if passed, will require workplaces that are at risk of a worker opioid overdose to have naloxone kits available.
According to the province, roughly 2500 people died from opioid-related causes between March 2020 and January 2021. Of the victims who were employed, 30% were construction workers—“by far the most of any industry impacted”.
“Everyone in our province knows someone who has been impacted by the opioid epidemic,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “That is why our government is bringing life-saving naloxone kits to high-risk settings such as construction sites […]”
SEE ALSO Where to get a free naloxone kit (Province of Ontario).
DOWNLOAD the PDF Naloxone-Save-A-Life (Government of Canada).
Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and allow time for medical help to arrive. Requiring businesses in high-risk settings to have naloxone kits on-hand will help reduce the stigma around opioid abuse, says the province, raise awareness about the risks of accidental overdoses, and potentially save hundreds of lives a year.
“By ensuring access to life-saving naloxone kits where and when our workers need them, our government is helping to protect more Ontarians struggling with addiction from preventable deaths and taking decisive action to address the challenges of the opioid crisis,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health & Addictions.
The Working for Workers Act, 2022 (a.k.a. Working for Workers Act 2) would also introduce the highest fines in Canada for companies that fail to follow workplace health & safety laws.
Officers and directors of businesses that do not provide a safe work environment that leads to a worker being severely injured or dying on the job could face fines of up to $1.5 million under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OSHA) if convicted. Charges for other individuals are rising up to $500,000.