To keep people healthy, we inspect all places that supply, prepare, sell and/or distribute food to the public. Our inspections ensure that businesses comply with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 562 .
We also investigate suspected food-borne illness and food-related complaints.
Food Safety Certification
Protect your business and the public by encouraging your staff to be Food Safety Certified. Sign up for our Food Safety Training Course.
Opening a Business?
If you’re opening a food business (including a restaurant, canteen, grocery store, hotdog cart, catering vehicles and farmers’ market), you must contact us first.
Follow these steps if you’re planning to open a food business:
- Contact your local municipality for information on zoning, construction, septic system and business license requirements.
- Talk with us before starting construction or renovation. Our Start Smart Package outlines the steps you need to follow to obtain Public Health approval for your proposed food premises.
- Complete and submit the Notice of Intent to Operate a Food Premises Form (PDF fillable form).
Participating at a Farmers' Market?
Follow the steps on our farmers’ markets page.
Organizing an Event?
If you're organizing an event where food is prepared, served and/or offered for sale to the public, follow the steps on our special events page.
Public Health Inspection Details
How often a premises is inspected depends on its level of risk. Risk is based on the types of food prepared and the people served.
- High risk premises are inspected at least three times per year.
- Moderate risk premises are inspected at least twice per year.
- Low risk premises are inspected at least once per year.
We may conduct additional inspections to investigate complaints, suspected food-borne illnesses, and emergency situations like a fire, power outage and flood.
Inspectors look for:
- Food temperatures
- Food preparation (cooking, storage, receiving)
- Employee hygiene (handwashing)
- Equipment and utensil sanitation
- Food sources
- Pest control
- Facility sanitation (floor, walls, garbage)
- Food safety management (HACCP [Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points])
If we find an infraction, we notify the operator and may do a re-inspection. Depending on the circumstances, operators can be issued a Provincial Offence Notice (ticket) or an Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. An Order requires the operator to do or refrain from something. An Order may require closure of the premises.
Check Before You Choose
Our inspection results are available to the public on CheckBeforeYouChoose.ca.
Employee Hygiene and Illness
Proper handwashing is very important when working with food. Employees must wash their hands before working with food, after touching raw food, after using the washroom, and anytime hands might have gotten dirty or contaminated. Feel free to print and post copies of our handwashing posters:
Ill employees should stay home and return to work after they are symptom-free for 24 hours. (For lab confirmed cases, further restrictions may apply.) Employees must not be penalized for reporting illness.
We work with municipalities and operators to monitor the safety of public drinking water. If there is a threat to safe water, we may issue a water advisory. For guidelines on what to do during a Boil Water Advisory, read our fact sheet.