Naloxone and opioids in the workplace: How Ontario workplaces can prepare

Narcan nasal spray naloxone

Effective June 1, 2023, employers in Ontario will be required to make a naloxone kit available where there is a risk of a worker experiencing an overdose from fentanyl, oxycodone, or other opioids at the workplace. 

What is naloxone? 

Naloxone is a life-saving drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids. In Ontario, a kit contains several items but most importantly, two doses of naloxone nasal spray. 

By June 1, 2023 workplaces will need to assess how likely it is that a worker may experience an opioid overdose in the workplace. 

If there is a significant risk of an overdose occurring at the workplace, the employer must:

  1. make a naloxone kit readily available
  2. maintain it
  3. assign someone to oversee it on every shift
  4. provide that person with training on how to recognize the signs of overdose and how to administer naloxone
  5. keep information confidential. For example, if a worker were to disclose they suffer from an opioid use disorder or have been prescribed it.

How do you know if there is a risk?

An employee may tell you they have an opioid addiction or that they have been prescribed it. There could also be other workplace risk factors that contribute to the risk of an overdose (in general) such as:

  • an opioid overdose has already occurred in the workplace in the past
  • someone in the workplace has observed opioid use among workers
  • there is evidence of opioid use, such as paraphernalia, in the workplace
  • The Joint Health & Safety Committee, Health & Safety Representative, Human Resources staff or anyone else brings the risk to the employer’s attention.

If you have naloxone in your workplace it’s time to update your OHS program and procedures. 

The legislation has a few main requirements for naloxone – making it available, assigning responsibilities, maintenance, training, and administering it. Companies who have a naloxone kit available in their workplace need to document several important points such as:

  • where will naloxone kits be located?
  • who will be assigned to have control over naloxone in the workplace and where will you post their names?
  • how will the workplace ensure there is always a designated worker available to administer naloxone?
  • what type of training will be required?
  • how will kits be inspected?
  • what procedures will be followed if naloxone must be administered to a worker experiencing an overdose?

There are many more factors to be considered in order to ensure your workplace complies with the requirements of the Act and regulation if it chooses to make naloxone available. 


Need help ensuring your business is ready for the new workplace naloxone requirements? 

WorkBright™ specializes in helping workplaces assess risks that lead to injuries and illnesses, and can help you navigate the complex world of health and safety legislation.

Contact us to find out how.


Section 25.2 – Naloxone Kits, Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Regulation 559 – Naloxone Kits

Naloxone policy and procedure for Ontario workplaces