As we wrote about previously, on April 11, 2022, the Ontario government passed the Working for Workers Act, 2022, which included changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHSA“). One of these changes was to require that certain employers have naloxone kits in the workplace.
Specifically, where an employer is aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that there may be a risk of a worker having an opioid overdose, they must provide, and maintain in good condition, a naloxone kit in the workplace. Employers are also required to ensure that whenever workers are present in the workplace, a worker working in the vicinity of the naloxone kit is designated to be in charge of the kit. The worker must have received training on:
- recognizing an opioid overdose,
- administered naloxone, and
- the hazards related to the administration of naloxone.
When the Working for Workers Act, 2022 was passed, it was not clear when this new requirement under the OHSA would come into effect. We now have an answer, as well as some further details on what employers will need to do to comply with this change.
Ontario Regulation 559/22: Naloxone Kits
On December 8, 2022, the Ontario government confirmed that this requirement will come into force on June 1, 2023. Shortly afterwards, on December 12, 2022, the government published Regulation 559/22: Naloxone Kits (the “Regulation“) under the OHSA. The Regulation prescribes the following with respect to the provision and maintenance of naloxone kits:
- Every naloxone kit shall be used, stored, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- The contents of each naloxone kit must be kept in a hard case.
- The contents of each naloxone kit must be for a single use and promptly replaced after such use.
- The contents of each naloxone kit must not have expired.
- The names and workplace locations of the workers who are in charge of the naloxone kit in the workplace and who have received the training referred to in subsection 25.2 (3) of the Act shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the vicinity of the kit where their names and workplace locations are most likely to come to the attention of other workers.
The Regulation also outlines the content requirements for both nasal spray and injectable naloxone kits.
Preparing for June 1, 2023
As we get closer to June next year, employers will want to assess the risk of an opioid overdose in the workplace and put measures in place to repeat this assessment on a regular basis going forward. We also recommend that employers update their health and safety policy to acknowledge this new requirement once it comes into effect.