As of July 1, 2018, Ontario food safety regulations changed drastically for food service operators around the province. Food Premises regulations under Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act require restaurant and food service establishment operators to ensure the presence of at least one certified food handler through every shift.
This has been a requirement of many municipalities in the past, but now smaller towns and cities without these regulations and food service businesses in rural Ontario are required to have a certified safe food handler onsite at all times.
This regulatory update meant big changes for Ontario restaurants, especially for small and midsize establishments. Here’s what you need to know about the Ontario food premises regulations.
Ontario Food Premises Regulations
The 2018 changes to the Ontario Food Premises Regulations require that all food service premises operators must now ensure that there is a food handler or establishment supervisor on site who has completed food handler training at all times. The regulations show how serious Ontario officials are about cracking down on the lack of certified food handlers in the province, encouraging food service operators to ensure that their employees have the correct certification and training while working at their establishment.
The regulations also include the requirement of food service establishments to post results of health inspections (or Certificate of Inspection) at their entrance or any other noticeable location for patrons to see clearly. Another regulation requires restaurants and establishments be forced to properly maintain record of pest control measures within the premises, and keep them for one year after the completion of pest control measures. It is the responsibility of Ontario food premises operators to ensure that these new regulations are strictly followed, otherwise they risk incurring the penalties associated with being guilty of an offence under the Act. Those who do not follow the regulations risk a fine of up to $5,000 for every day that the offence continues or occurs on.
What this means for Ontario restaurants
The new Food Premises Regulations mean that food service establishments will be required to remain extra vigilant about their employees receiving effective food safety training, and that they have the proper amount of qualified staff to cover every operating hour - failure to do so may result in devastating penalties. The new implementation of these regulations means that Ontario restaurant owners will greatly benefit from ensuring that all of their employees receive food safety training - both retroactively and upon being hired. Small and midsize Ontario restaurants who don’t ensure that their employees are properly trained will eventually run into problems that stem from qualified staff calling in sick and leaving on short notice, leaving establishments without the required food handler with appropriate training. Since these kinds of situations often arise in food service, it is safest to get most or all of your regular staff to undergo food safety training. Not just to meet the regulations, but also to improve the operations of your business through safe food preparation and handling.
Ensuring that your staff receives comprehensive food safety training is easier now than ever before, especially with companies like FoodSafetyMarket offering food safety training held completely online - allowing your entire team to become certified at their own leisure. Restaurant owners who see that all employees are properly trained and certified will have less problems arising from things like employee turnover, tardiness, and absences, and avoid the hefty fines that come with breaking these regulations.
Our food safety training isn’t delivered just to tick a box on a requirement list - with infographics to overcome language barriers, availability in both English and French, and more, your employees will enjoy it and remember the lessons long after they’ve received their certification. You also have the option of having all of your employees trained in an on-premise session, with widespread availability of our trainers across Ontario, with the exception of some remote locations which will require a nominal travel charge for in-person training.
The many benefits of a well-trained team
Ontario restaurant owners should see the new regulations as a positive rather than a negative, as a team with proper food safety and handling training is much better equipped to operate day-to-day in the food service sector.
Not only will they be compliant with required regulations, but your employees will be better able to avoid common causes of foodborne illness like cross-contamination, undercooking meat products, and leaving food in environments that quickly breed foodborne bacteria for long periods of time. Food service operators will also minimize the risk of customers contracting foodborne illnesses which can lead to damaging relations with customers and weeks of bad press.
For more information how we can help your Ontario restaurant comply with new Food Premises Regulations through online food safety training and resources offered by our expert team, contact us today.