Ontario looking to make naloxone kits mandatory at bars

The Ontario government has introduced legislation that would require high-risk workplaces to have life-saving naloxone kits on site.

Those workplaces deemed high risk for opioid overdoses would include bars and nightclubs, as well as construction sites.

A government release says that between March 2020 and January 2021, around 2,500 people died from opioid-related causes. The government also said that bars and nightclubs are seeing increased use of opioids as recreational drugs can sometimes be laced with fentanyl or carfentanil.

Naloxone kits are used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and have been credited with saving precious time in the case of emergency situations before medical personnel arrive.

“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 government said.

The government also said it would have the “highest fines in Canada” for companies that fail to follow workplace safety laws. The legislation bill, if passed, would be part of the Working for Workers Act, 2022.

The proposed increased fines for convictions would be $1.5 million for directors or officers of corporations (up from $100,000) and up to $500,000 for other individuals under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.