Food Premises Operators
A food premises is a location where food or milk is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold or offered for sale. They can include restaurants, banquet halls, home-based food businesses, convenience stores and food trucks.
York Region Public Health inspects all food premises in York Region. You can view the most recent inspection reports through the York Safe Inspection Program.
Operating a food premises
Owners/operators of food premises are required to comply with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493-17 (Food Premises Regulation), under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The Regulation includes requirements that help food owners/operators ensure food safety and protect the public from food-borne illness.
Please review the information below to learn about your roles and responsibilities under the Food Premises Regulation as well as other Regulations that may pertain to your food premises.
Opening a New Food Premises in York Region
Notifying Public Health
Anyone planning to open a new food premises (including a new home-based business), must notify York Region Public Health before operating their business by:
- Submitting the New Food Premises Notification Form or
- Contacting York Region Health Connection 1-800-361-5653 Ext. 4.
When notifying Public Health, owners/operators must submit floor plans for the proposed food premises. The floor plans must include:
- All room dimensions
- Location of equipment
- Location of all sinks (dishwashing, handwashing and janitorial)
- Locations of all washrooms
- Location of ventilation equipment
- Location of grease traps
- Description of materials to be used on floors, walls, ceiling, counters, shelves, etc.
- Location and type of well (e.g., drilled or dug)
- Location of sewage system (if applicable)
More Information about Public Health Requirements
Public health inspectors are available to review floor plans and answer questions about what is required to open a food premises under the Food Premises Regulation. Please call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 ext. 4 to speak with a public health inspector.
Food owners/operators can also consult:
- Resources for Opening a Food Premises (print-friendly version)
- A Guide to Starting a Home-based Food Business
Other Regulatory Requirements
Owners/operators may be required to meet other regulatory requirements before opening a food premises. Contact your local municipality for information on business licenses, building approval, zoning and fire code requirements.
Operating a Home-Based Food Business
Under the Food Premises Regulation, home-based food businesses are permitted to use their home kitchen to prepare food for sale to the public. The area of the home where food is prepared, handled, cooked and stored is considered a food premises, and as such, must comply with the Food Premises Regulation.
Preparing only low-risk foods
Home-based businesses that prepare only low-risk foods are exempt from certain regulatory requirements, including:
- Specified handwashing stations in food premises
- Compliance with commercial dishwashing requirements; and
- Food handling training certification
Opening a Home-based Food Business
Anyone planning to open a home-based food business must notify Public Health before operating the business. Please review the Opening a New Food Premises in York Region section of this webpage above for details.
Consult your local municipality about local zoning requirements.
You may also see A Guide to Starting a Home-based Food Business.
Food Handler Certification Requirement
Under the Food Premises Regulation, owners/operators of a food service premises must ensure that there is at least one Certified Food Handler onsite at all times.
A food service premises is any food premises 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.
Learn more about how to obtain Food Handler Certification.
Public health inspectors are required to inspect all food premises located within York Region to make sure that they comply with the Food Premises Regulation.
Each food premises in York Region is assigned a risk category (of either high, moderate or low) based on an annual site-specific risk assessment done by a public health inspector. A food premises’ risk category will determine how many times they are inspected per year.
- High-risk premises are inspected a minimum of three times a year
- Moderate-risk premises are inspected a minimum of twice a year
- Low-risk premises are inspected a minimum of once a year
What We Check for During Inspections
During inspections, public health inspectors check that proper food safety practices are followed in the areas of:
- Food temperature control
- Food handler hygiene and handwashing
- Food protection from contamination and adulteration
- Maintenance/sanitation of food contact surfaces/utensils/equipment
- Maintenance/sanitation of non-food contact surfaces/utensils/equipment
- Pest control
- Sanitary maintenance and construction of establishment
- Certified Food Handler requirements
Public health inspectors remain committed to serving our diverse community by demonstrating integrity, commitment, accountability, respect and excellence. We kindly ask operators to do the same.
For more information, see a sample Food Safety Inspection Report.
YorkSafe Disclosure Program
YorkSafe is York Region Public Health’s inspection disclosure program. Members of the public can look up the most current routine health inspection reports and complaint-based inspection reports of many establishments in York Region, including food premises.
Green Proof of Public Health Inspection signs are given to food premises that pass inspections and are posted at the main entrance.
Red Closed signs are given to establishments that do not pass inspection and pose an immediate health hazard.
For more information, visit YorkSafe.
Operating a Small Drinking Water System
If the drinking water supply at your food premises does not come directly from a municipal source, it may be on a small drinking water system. Owners/operators of small drinking water systems are required to comply with Ontario Regulation 319/08, Small Drinking Water Systems, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
York Region Public Health inspects all small drinking water systems in York Region to ensure compliance with the Regulation.
For more information and to learn about your roles and responsibilities under the Regulation, visit Small Drinking Water System Operators.
Operating a Grease (Trap) Interceptor
Owners/operators of food premises must ensure that all liquid waste (such as fats, oils, grease, etc.) produced from the operation of a food premises is disposed of in a sanitary manner.
York Region Sewer Use Bylaw 2011-56 requires that all food premises where food is cooked, processed, or prepared, install and maintain a grease interceptor. Grease interceptors are contained units designed to trap grease, oil, solids, and other debris. They prevent these substances from getting into the sanitary sewer system.
Businesses that must have a grease interceptor include, but are not limited to:
- Banquet centres
- Coffee Shops
- Food processing operations
- Grocery Stores
Learn more about the Sewer Use Bylaw.
- Dishwashing: 2 Sink Method Sign
- Dishwashing: 3 Sink Method Sign
- How to Handwash Sign
- Minimum Cooking Temperatures Sign
- Danger Zone Sign
- Storing Food Safely Sign
- Power Outage Fact Sheet
- Rodent Infestation Fact Sheet
- Other Food Safety Resources
- Sample Food Safety Inspection Report
- Resources for Opening a New Food Premises in York Region (print-friendly version)
- A Guide to Starting a Home-based Food Business
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
- Town of Aurora
- Town of East Gwillimbury
- Town of Georgina
- Township of King
- City of Markham
- Town of Newmarket
- City of Richmond Hill
- City of Vaughan
- Town of Whitchurch- Stouffville