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Food Service Operators

Guidelines for opening a food premises

All new food premises owners/operators are required by law to notify us of their intent to operate a food premises. Detailed requirements can be obtained from the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. A copy of the Act can be obtained from

Our Food Safety Program must be contacted BEFORE a food premises is constructed or renovated.

An opening inspection and approval must be arranged at least seven (7) days prior to opening. ALL construction must be completed and ALL equipment must be installed BEFORE opening.

When notifying the health unit, you need to:

  • Complete the notification form and provide the completed form to the nearest SMDHU office location.
  • Confirm that the municipal building department, the by-law department, the fire department, the licensing and planning department have all received notification and approval.

General requirements for a food premises

  • Supply of potable water adequate for the operation of the food premises.
  • Floor and floor coverings must be tight, smooth, non-absorbent, and washable (carpeting is allowed in dining areas only).
  • Walls and ceilings must be finished to allow proper cleaning and maintenance. For splash-prone areas, stainless steel, arborite or ceramic tiles may be installed to facilitate cleaning.
  • Ensure there is bright, direct light in kitchen, preparation, storage and cleanup areas.
  • Mechanical ventilation is vented to the outside over all cooking equipment and in washrooms.
  • Separate handwashing basin with hot and cold water in a convenient location, equipped with liquid soap and paper towel in dispensers.
  • Two or three compartment sink for dishwashing; must be large enough to easily contain any utensils or equipment to be cleaned and sanitized. (A two-compartment sink is only satisfactory for cleaning non-consumer utensils/dishware).
  • Provide dish draining racks.
  • Commercial mechanical dishwashing machine for cleaning multi-use utensils.
  • Adequate cold food and dry food storage space with shelving at least 15 cm (6”) off of floor.
  • A separate janitorial sink is recommended for disposal of cleaning waste and rinsing mops.
  • Accurate thermometers for all refrigeration and freezer equipment, and a probe thermometer for checking internal food temperatures.
  • Adequate sanitizer and sanitizer test strip papers.
  • Washrooms equipped with liquid soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers.
  • Storage locker or other facility suitable for storing employee clothing and personal belongings.
    Ensure that the premises complies with the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017.
  • Contact building department for washroom requirements, and for the location and size of a grease trap.

Note: The above guideline information does not exclude other requirements that may be required as a result of the review process. Remember to review all requirements with your local public health inspector before establishing the food premises.

Food handler training

Food handlers are required to obtain Food Handler Certification The health unit does provide training. The benefits of having certified food handlers include:

  • knowledge and skills to help handle foods safely and help reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.
  • a trained food handler on site is promoted on your Certificate of Inspection sign. Promoting that a certified food handler is on site can increase consumer confidence in your food premises.

Contact information

To speak with a public health inspector about our Food Safety Program - Opening a Food Premises, to book an opening inspection or food handler training, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520, toll-free at 1-877-721-7520 or visit our website for more information.

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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