TORONTO – New legislation will require workplaces that are at risk of a worker opioid overdose, such as construction sites, to have naloxone kits, medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and allow time for medical help to arrive.
The Ontario government introduced legislation today (March 1) in the Working for Workers Act, 2022, that, if passed, would introduce the highest fines in Canada for companies that fail to follow workplace health and safety laws.
Between March 2020 and January 2021 about 2,500 people died from opioid-related causes, states a release, adding of the victims who were employed, 30 per cent were construction workers, by far the most of any industry impacted.
Requiring businesses in high-risk settings to have naloxone kits on hand will help reduce the stigma around opioid abuse, raise awareness about the risks of accidental overdoses and potentially save hundreds of lives a year, the release adds.
Also included in Working for Workers Two are changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to increase the maximum fines for businesses that fail to protect their workers.
“While Ontario’s workers have been there to support us before and during this horrible pandemic, it’s just as important that we are there to support them,” said Michael Tibollo, associate minister of mental health and addictions, in a statement. “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.”
The Daily Commercial News will have more on this story.