Written By Ben Sissons and Katelyn Weller
On December 12, 2022, the Ontario Legislature published Regulation 559/22: Naloxone Kits (Regulation) providing further details on the naloxone kit requirements introduced as part of the Working for Workers Act, 2022, (Bill 88), amending Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA). The new requirements take effect on June 1, 2023. More information on Bill 88 can be found in our blog, Ontario Passes New Legislation Which Includes an Electronic Monitoring Policy and a New Act for Digital Workers.
Under OHSA, effective June 1, 2023, all Ontario employers who know, or ought to know, that there is a risk of an opioid overdose in their workplace, are required to ensure that, at all times while there are workers in the workplace, a naloxone kit is made available in good condition. Guidance from the Ontario government suggests that employers will only be required to comply with the regulations where:
- there is a risk of a worker opioid overdose;
- there is a risk that the worker overdoses while in a workplace where they perform work for the employer; and
- the risk is posed by a worker who performs work for the employer.
Naloxone kits are to be left in the charge of a worker who works in the vicinity of the kit and who has received proper training, which must include training on recognizing an overdose, administering naloxone and any hazards related to the administration of naloxone.
As part of the Regulations, employers will be required to ensure that:
- every naloxone kit is used, stored and maintained in accordance with manufacturer's instructions;
- the contents of each naloxone kit are kept in a hard case;
- the contents of each naloxone kit are for a single use, and will be promptly replaced after such use;
- the contents of the naloxone kit have not expired; and
- the name and workplace location of the workers in charge of the naloxone kit is posted in a conspicuous place within the vicinity of the naloxone kit.
The required contents of the naloxone kit differ based on whether the employer elects to provide a nasal spray kit or an injectable naloxone kit, and are set forth in detail within the Regulation.
As a reminder, Bill 88 introduced steeper and broader penalties for contraventions of OHSA, effective July 1, 2022. As such, it is critical that employers provide naloxone kits where they have any knowledge of the potential for an opioid overdose in their workplace. Failure to do so may leave employers liable to enhanced penalties under OHSA.
If you have questions about your responsibilities as an employer under OHSA, or any other employment legislation please contact a member of the Bennett Jones Employment Services group.