The Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7) is a law in Ontario that gives local health departments the duty to carry out inspections in restaurants and other food premises.1 The Act sets out the broad terms for inspections and the powers of Public Health Inspectors.
Ontario Food Premises Regulation
The Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) is a provincial law that sets out the minimum standards that restaurants and other food premises in Ontario must follow.2 These standards are made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, are more specific, and use scientific research when they are made.
This law was updated as of July 1, 2018 and requires that food must be processed enough to be safe and to be protected from contamination and adulteration. Some of the new requirements include: keeping records of pest control actions and receipts on-site, posting signage at the food premises as per a Public Health Inspector's request and ensuring a certified food handler is on-site where meal or meal portions are prepared, served or sold for immediate consumption.
In the City of London and in Middlesex County local food safety by-laws have been created.
These by-laws say a food premises must:
- Post the most recent DineSafe inspection summary sign (green, yellow or red) on-site in a visible place.
- Make sure one certified food handler, who is supervising staff, is on-site when the food premises is open or operating. For more information on how to become a certified food handler, visit the Food Handler Certification Program.
Where / how can I read these by-laws?
The following by-laws can be viewed online:
- Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc - By-law No. 6-11 (PDF 21KB)
- Township of Adelaide Metcalfe - By-law No. 25-2011 (PDF 548KB)
- Municipality of Thames Centre - By-law No. 6-2011 9 (Available in the Public Information Database)
Each of the following municipalities, townships or villages in Middlesex County have similar by-laws. Contact the correct office for a copy of the by-law you want to view.
- City of London - By-law No. PH-16
- Municipality of Middlesex Centre - By-law No. 2011-014
- Municipality of North Middlesex - By-law No. 9 of 2011
- Municipality of Southwest Middlesex - By-law No. 2011/011
- Township of Lucan Biddulph - By-law No. 07-2011
- Village of Newbury - By-law No. 111-2011
Public Health Inspectors are usually able to obtain compliance with food safety laws using the inspection and re-inspection process. However, where compliance cannot be achieved through this process, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7), Public Health Inspectors have the authority to issue offence notices (tickets), summonses, or orders to an owner, operator, food handler or corporation for non-compliance.1 Public Health Inspectors also have the authority to seize and destroy food.1
Under the Provincial Offences Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33), offence notices (tickets) can be issued for each infraction (error) observed in a food premises. The set fines for non-compliance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) range between $55 and $465,3 plus a victim fine surcharge and service cost.
A summons can be given instead of a ticket. A summons is a legal document that requires the person charged to appear in an Ontario Court of Justice regarding an infraction (error). The summons may lead to a trial date being set. During a trial, a Justice of the Peace will determine a fine or sentence if the person or corporation is convicted.
A Public Heath Inspector may make an order under Section 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7) where he or she is of the opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds, that a health hazard exists, and the requirements specified in the Order are necessary to decrease the effect or to eliminate the health hazard.1
Orders may include, but are not limited to:
- Closing a premises or part of a premises.
- Cleaning or disinfecting of a premises.
- Prohibiting or regulating the manufacturing, processing, preparation, storage, handling, display, transportation, sale, offering for sale or distribution of any food or thing.
- Requiring the destruction of the matter or thing specified in the order.
Food premises may be issued an order to close for the following reasons,
but not limited to:
- The premises is involved in a foodborne illness outbreak.
- The premises has no potable (drinkable) water, or hot/cold running water.
- A sewage back-up is present.
- A fire or flood prevents food from being prepared or served safely.
- Pest infestations exist (i.e. insect, rodent).
- Overall sanitation problems are observed.
Under Section 19 of Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7), Public Health Inspectors have the authority to seize and destroy food where in their opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds, a health hazard may exist.
Food may be prevented from being sold (held) or thrown out (destroyed) in the following situations, but not limited to:
- Foods do not come from an approved source or supplier.
- Foods have been left sitting out at room temperature.
- Foods are not kept cold in storage (i.e. foods in the refrigerator measure an internal temperature greater than 4oC (40oF)).
- Foods are not kept hot before they are served (i.e. hot holding of foods measures less than 60oC (140oF)).
Recent legal activities in Middlesex-London can be can be viewed on the Middlesex-London Health Unit's Disclosure website. Please note that seizing and destroying food will be indicated as "Product Seized & Destroyed" under the Actions Taken section on individual inspection reports (where applicable).
Last modified on: January 4, 2023