Toronto, ON — Close to 3,000 people died from opioid-related causes in 2021, and of those, 30 per cent were employed in the construction sector, according to the Ontario government.
“Our new Workplace Naloxone Program, as part of our Narcotic Transition Services, will save lives,” said Michael Tibollo, associate minister of mental health and addictions. “Everyone in Ontario deserves access to these kits, and this innovative program will bring a new level of safety to our province’s workplaces.”
In total, 2,819 people died from opioid-related causes in 2021. Ontario will be providing free naloxone kits to workplaces where there is a risk of staff witnessing or experiencing an opioid overdose. The kits and training come as part of Ontario’s Workplace Naloxone Program.
“Ontario, like the rest of Canada, is in the middle of an opioid epidemic made worse by a toxic supply of recreational street drugs. That’s why our government is the first in North America to require naloxone kits be accessible in at-risk workplaces by June 1, 2023, to raise awareness for those struggling with addiction, reduce stigma and save lives,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development.
In early March 2022, legislation was passed in the Working for Workers Act 2022, implementing fines for companies that fail to follow workplace health and safety laws. This included legislation regarding naloxone kits being required in workplaces.
For up to two years, Ontario will provide free nasal spray naloxone kits to businesses at risk of opioid overdoses and free training needed to equip staff with the tools to respond to an opioid overdose.
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose, restore breathing within two to five minutes, and allow time for medical help to arrive.