The Opioid Crisis: How The Ontario Government Plans To Protect Workers and Save Lives

Jun 28

Starseed Medicinal Sponsored Blog Post

The Working for Workers Act, 2022 was introduced by the Ontario government in February 2022. If the proposed act is passed, companies that fail to follow laws of workplace health and safety will face the highest fines in Canada. The legislation will also require workplaces that are at risk of a worker opioid overdose to carry naloxone kits.
“These are brothers, sisters, mothers and daughters, and we need to do everything in our power to save lives. That is why our government is bringing life-saving naloxone kits to high-risk settings such as construction sites, bars and nightclubs,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, 7,362 people died from opioid-related causes. In 2020, in Ontario alone, nearly 2,500 opioid-related deaths occurred. Out of all the victims who were employed, 30 percent were construction workers, which is by far the most of any industry impacted.
In many studies, construction workers have high death rates from opioid overdose in comparison to workers in other occupations.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA), if a worker is severely injured or dies on the job due to the lack of a safe work environment, businesses could face fines of up to $1.5 million if convicted. Charges are also rising to up to $500,000 for other individuals.
Among these changes, includes tackling the labour shortage by ensuring out-of-province workers can register in their profession or trade within 30 days. This will enable these workers to find jobs faster. View the Working for Workers Act, 2022 to learn more about proposed changes.
These actions are part of provinces’ objective to attract highly-qualified workers from across Canada and around the world, by making Ontario the best place to work, live, and raise a family.

Sources

"Ontario Mandating Naloxone Kits in High-Risk Workplaces." Queen's Printer of Ontario 2012-2022, Labour, Training and Skills Development, 01 Mar 2022.

Raza, Ali "Ontario builders' group launches campaign to prevent opioid deaths among construction workers." CBC News, 31 May 2021.

Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses. Opioid- and Stimulant-related Harms in Canada. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada; June 2022.

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