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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Guidelines for Opening a Food Premises

In Ontario, food businesses fall under the jurisdiction of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (“the Act”) and are inspected by Public Health to ensure compliance with the Act and Ontario Food Premises Regulation.

If you are planning to open or reopen a food business, advance public health notification is legally required under the Act. Municipal notification and approvals for licensing, fire and zoning may also be needed and we encourage you to contact your nearest municipal office.

Please review the pre-opening guidelines below for new premises, as well as special considerations for Seasonal Food Premises, Mobile Food Premises, and Home-Based Food Businesses.

Please note: If you’re operating at a farmer’s market or special event, please refer to our Special Events and Farmer’s Markets page.

1. Opening Requirements for all New Food Businesses

If you are the owner/operator of a new food premises, please note that it is a regulatory requirement to provide our office with notification at least 14 days prior to opening, in accordance with the Act.

The Act states:

“Every person who intends to commence to operate a food premise shall give notice of the person’s intention to the medical office of health of the health unit in which the food premise will be located.  R.S.O. 1990, c.H7, s. 16(2).”

At least 14 days prior to opening:

  • Create a new My Health Department account (refer to instructions at the bottom of this page)
  • Log in to your account and fill out all fields in the Food Premise Application form and upload the following documents:
    • Most recent water test results
    • Floor plan, clearly outlining layout with all equipment labelled
    • Legal ownership information (corporation, partner names, etc).

Upon receipt, your public health inspector will review your application, and contact you to clarify any further requirements. A pre-opening inspection is required.

2. Reopening requirements for Seasonal Food Premises

If you are the owner/operator of a seasonal food premises, please note that it is a legal requirement to provide our office with notification at least 14 days prior to reopening for the season, in accordance with the Act.

The Act states:

“Every person who intends to commence to operate a food premise shall give notice of the person’s intention to the Medical Officer of Health of the health unit in which the food premise will be located.  R.S.O. 1990, c.H7, s. 16(2).”

At least 14 days prior to reopening:

  • Log in to your My Health Department account and fill out all fields in the Food Premise Reopening Notification form and upload the following documents:
  • most recent water test results
  • legal ownership information (corporation, partner names, etc)

3. Mobile Food Premises

“Mobile food premises” means a trailer, cart or vehicle-mounted food premises or other itinerant food premises which is capable of being readily moved and in which food is prepared and offered for sale to the public” (O. Reg. 493/17: Food Premises).

There are some specific requirements for mobile food premises, as outlined by the province.

At least 14 days prior to reopening:

  • Log in to your My Health Department account and fill out all fields in the Food Premise Reopening Notification form and upload the following documents:
  • most recent water test results
  • legal ownership information (corporation, partner names, etc).

4. Home-Based Food Businesses

Home-based food businesses also fall under the jurisdiction of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and are inspected by Public Health to ensure it complies with the Food Premises Regulation. As such, home-based operators must also submit the appropriate application (Food Premise Notification or Food Premise Reopening Notification), through the My Health Department website (see instructions at the bottom of this page).

Some considerations for home-based businesses:

  • pets must be excluded from the commercial food prep and storage areas with solid barriers (walls and doors), even during times of non-operation
  • depending on the risk profile of food products made, the installation of additional sinks is often required
  • an inspector has the legal authority to inspect food premises within private homes
  • water must be potable (safe for drinking) and tested
  • notification must still be provided (see pre-opening requirements for all new food businesses)
  • Additional guidance can be found in the Ministry of Health document titled “A Guide to Starting a Home-based Food Business

Submitting your online applications through the My Health Department website.

To apply to operate a food business, whether new or reopening for the season, you must create a My Health Department account with an email address and password. Once your account is created you will be able to view and submit the appropriate application form(s).

Tips:

  • recommended browser is Firefox
  • fill out all fields in the relevant application form and be sure to upload all relevant documents including:
    • most recent water test results
    • floor plan, clearly outlining layout with all equipment labelled
    • legal ownership information (corporation, partner names, etc)

Dogs in food premises

Dogs are now permitted in the following areas of food premises:

  • Outdoor eating areas (patios): if no food is prepared in the eating area.
  • Indoor eating areas: only where low risk or prepackaged food is sold, offered for sale, displayed, and no food preparation occurs in the eating area.

Best practices for permitting dogs at food premises

  • Operators have the discretion to permit dogs on their food premises.
  • Recommend to post on-site signage indicating premises is dog friendly.
  • Patrons should ensure necessary supplies to clean up after dogs.
  • Dogs are required to be on a leash and controlled by their handler.
  • Always wash hands after handling dog.
  • All dog bites and scratches must be reported to the local public health unit. If there is a bite or a scratch, clean the affected area immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention.

Need More Information About Guidelines for Opening a Food Premises?

Call 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext 677.

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During and after a flood

If you have been affected by the recent flooding in Bancroft, visit Health Canada’s website for information on what to do during a flood and afterwards. Not affected? The same web page provides information on how to get prepared for the event of a flood.