Harm Reduction in the Workplace

The Ontario Naloxone Program

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's Ontario Naloxone Program provides free naloxone kits and training to eligible community organizations to distribute to clients who are at-risk of an opioid overdose, as well as their friends and family. For more information about the program and to learn if your organization is eligible, please visit https://www.wechu.org/ontario-naloxone-program-onp

Providing Naloxone in the Workplace [1,2]

The Ministry of Labour, Training, & Skills Development Naloxone Program has established additional requirements for employers that will take effect on June 1, 2023. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA), high-risk workplace employers are to provide a naloxone kit when they become aware/reasonably aware of the following:

  • A worker is at risk of an opioid overdose where they perform work for their employer, and/or
  • Prescribed circumstances exist:
    • The joint health and safety committee, health and safety representative, a union representative, human resources staff, and/or someone else in the workplace notifies the employer of a risk.
    • An employer finds discarded needles at the workplace.

If the above criteria are met, employers are to:

  • Provide and maintain a naloxone kit in the workplace.
    • Maintenance includes:
      • Storing according to manufacturer's instructions.
      • Keeping contents in a hard case.
      • Replacing contents after each use (single use only).
      • Ensuring the contents are not expired.
      • Posting the names and workplace locations of trained staff to administer.
  • Ensure a worker trained worker is always present in the workplace to oversee the naloxone.
    • Training includes knowing signs of an overdose, how to administer naloxone, and hazards related to administrating naloxone.
  • Please note: Employers are not to disclose additional personal information then what is necessary for the purposes of this section of the Act.

Workplace Substance Use and Harm Reduction Training

Pozitive Pathways Community Services provides educational services and training for workplaces on substance use and harm reduction approaches. Training is offered both through Zoom and in-person and evening and weekend times can be accommodated. Pozitive Pathways require a submission request with the expected presentation date at a minimum of two-weeks prior. Presentations topics include, but are not limited to, HIV, AIDS, STIs, Hepatitis C, harm reduction and substance use, mothering and substance use, naloxone training, 2SLGBTQ+, as well as other programs and services offered by Pozitive Pathways. The link to request a presentation can be found here: https://www.pozitivepathways.com/request-a-presentation/

Template Harm Reduction Policies for Workplaces

Workplace Harm Reduction Policy

Substance Use in the Workplace


[1] Government of Ontario. (2023). Naloxone in the workplace. Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/page/naloxone-workplace#how-employers

[2] Government of Ontario. (2022). Occupational health and safety act. Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90o01#BK49