Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022, received Royal Assent on April 11, 2022. The Bill made amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”)to require an employer to provide and maintain naloxone kits. It also made important changes to OHSA with respect to offences under the legislation.
Bill 88 amended the OHSA to require that where an employer becomes aware or ought reasonably to be aware that there may be a risk of a worker having an opioid overdose at a workplace where that worker performs work for the employer, the employer must provide a naloxone kit in the workplace and maintain it in good condition.
Regulations may also prescribe other circumstances in which an employer must provide and maintain a naloxone kit, as well as other requirements in relation to the obligation itself. However, no such regulations are in place at the time of writing.
Employers are also required to provide training in relation to the naloxone kits. The legislation requires the training to include the following, though other requirements may be prescribed by regulation:
- Recognizing an opioid overdose;
- Administering naloxone; and
- Acquainting the worker with any hazards related to the administration of naloxone.
Anytime there are workers in the workplace, the employer will be required to ensure that the naloxone kit is in the charge of a worker who works in the vicinity of the kit and who has received the training noted above.
The legislation also has a privacy component, stating that “no employer shall disclose to any person more personal information than is reasonably necessary to comply with this section.”
These provisions will come into force upon proclamation.
Amendments to Offences Under the OHSA
Bill 88 amended the OHSA to increase maximum fines for convictions from $100,000 to $1,500,000 for directors or officers of corporations, and to $500,000 for other individuals. It also extends the limitation period for instituting an OHSA prosecution from one year to two years.
Additionally, the amendment adds a list of aggravating factors to be considered in determining an appropriate penalty in the event of a contravention of, or failure to comply with, the legislation. The list of aggravating factors is as follows:
- The offence resulted in the death, serious injury or illness of one or more workers;
- The defendant committed the offence recklessly;
- The defendant disregarded an order of an inspector;
- The defendant was previously convicted of an offence under the OHSA or another Act;
- The defendant has a record of prior non-compliance with the OHSA or its regulations;
- The defendant lacks remorse;
- There is an element of moral blameworthiness to the defendant’s conduct;
- In committing the offence, the defendant was motivated by a desire to increase revenue or decrease costs;
- After the commission of the offence, the defendant:
- Attempted to conceal the commission of the offence from the Ministry or other public authorities; or
- Failed to co-operate with the Ministry or other public authorities; and
- Any other circumstance that is prescribed as an aggravating factor.
These amendments come into force on July 1, 2022.
What Does This Mean for Municipal Employers?
Municipal employers should familiarize themselves with the incoming requirements and changes. We will continue to monitor the status of the proclamation of the naloxone kit provisions to advise employers about when they will be in force.