Naloxone Kit Requirement

Lifesaving Kits with Mandatory Policy Effective June 1st, 2023

Each year, there is an increasing number of deaths caused by opioid overdoses. The Ontario government has reported 2819 fatalities in 2021. The Naloxone kit will provide employers with the ability to reverse an opioid overdose allowing adequate time for the ambulance to arrive. This temporary solution will restore the individual’s breathing within 2-5 minutes. The program offers employers with free training sessions for up to two employees. Those who believe their employees are at-risk or may witness an opioid overdose can also obtain a Naloxone kit for free through the training program or their local pharmacies.

The requirement will come into effect in Spring 2023, and is required if employers have reason to believe that any of their employees may require this kit. This is extremely vague but if there is a suspicion of opioid abuse in the workplace, employers should inform themselves of the province’s new obligation through the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1.

The risks of opioid overdoses may be relevant in different workplaces therefore, the employer may want to consider:

  1. The risk of worker opioid overdose;
  2. The risk that the worker overdoses while in the workplace; and
  3. The risk that is posed by a worker.

The contents of the kits are reflective of different medical conditions, ensuring that all who may require usage of the Naloxone kit will be using the approved and licensed medical devices of Health Canada. Employers may want to update their policies to reflect the restrictions regarding access to the kit. They may consider clarifying the limited access as it is strictly for those who have been trained. For example, the “ought to be aware” element suggests that an employer may be required to be informed if there are circumstances that raise suspicion (i.e., employee acting strange, pills at the workplace, co-worker complaint). Furthermore, the “fitness for duty” policy can require that when the employee comes to work, their physical, mental and emotional state does not pose a risk to themselves or others.

The new requirement has specific maintenance standards that are outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, subsection 25.2 under Ontario Regulation 559/22,  including:

  • 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.