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Food Service Operators

Food handler certification training

We are currently experiencing a disruption to our everyday business due to our agency's response to COVID-19. This is expected to continue for some weeks and possibly into months. In light of this, we are postponing all onsite programming such as food handler exams. We apologize for this inconvenience, please check out the ONLINE options and check back for updates as to when exams will resume.

As a food handler, it is important to protect yourself and others from getting sick by learning safe food handling practices. Food handler certification courses help you learn about how to:

  • prevent food-borne illness;
  • protect the public and workers from harm;
  • apply safe procedures for receiving, storing, preparing and serving food; and
  • help reduce common errors in handling potentially hazardous foods.

Food service premises, including special event vendors, are required to have at least one certified food handler on site for every hour of operation.

If you would like to take an online or in-class course, please contact one of the providers below. NOTE: Public and corporate food handler courses are not offered by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

In Good Hands (online course and exam from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit).

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care approved food handler courses (see the chart for providers of courses and exams).

If you prefer to study for food handler certification on your own time, please see the options below for self-study material. Once you have studied the material you can write the exam at several of our office locations.

Please note:

  • Currently cash is the only payment method accepted.
  • There are no refund of fees.
Self-study (manual only) - downloadable version manuals are available in English and FrenchFREE
Self-study (manual only) - pick up at any Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit office (except for 80 Bradford Street, Barrie)$15.00
High school student (hard copy manual and exam)$10.00

We offer local in-person food handler certification exams. After passing the exam, you will receive a wallet-sized Food Handler Certificate card that is valid for five years in the Province of Ontario. Full-sized certificates are no longer available.

Once you are ready to write the exam, please call to register for an exam.

Exam only - paid for at the time of the exam$20.00
Exam re-writes - first re-write is included in your exam fee$5.00
Replacement wallet cards$10.00

Q. Why certify food handlers?

A. As of July 1, 2018, there is a legal requirement to have a certified food handler on-site in food service premises. Certifying food handlers improves food safety by teaching the general principles of safe food handling.

Q. Who needs to be certified?

A. Every operator of a food service premise needs to ensure that there is at least one food handler or supervisor on the premise who has completed food handler training during every hour in which the premise is operating.

"Food service premise" means any food premise where meals or meal portions are prepared for immediate consumption or sold or served in a form that will permit immediate consumption on the premises or elsewhere.

Q. I have read the self-study manual, what are my next steps in becoming certified?

A. Check our website for upcoming exam dates and then call to register to write the exam.

Q. Is there a difference between the free manual online and the one you provide?

A. No. All of the information is exactly the same. The manual we provide is a hard copy and costs $15.00. We charge $15.00 to cover the cost for printing, binding, and shipping.

Q. I signed up and paid for an online course but just realized that I don't have a webcam to do the exam. What should I do?

A. Please contact the online course provider directly for further instruction/details as they may provide in-person exams.

Q. Can I take an online course through a third-party vendor and then write the exam in person at the health unit?

A. Yes you can, however, we cannot ensure that the course you have taken has given you all of the information you need to pass the provincial exam. We do recommend using the free downloadable manual linked on our website for reference. Please note that you will be required to pay our $20.00 exam fee.

Q. I learn better in person. What are my local options for in-class courses?

A. Please check the Ministry of Health's website for local courses offered by third-party vendors.

Q. Does this certification expire?

A. After passing the exam, you will receive a wallet-sized Food Handler Certificate card that is valid for five years in the Province of Ontario.

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