Mandatory Food Handler Certification By-law

Establishments in Niagara are required to have the minimum of:

  • One food handler on the premises at all times while in operation with a current and valid food handler certificate
  • One owner/operator with a current and valid food handler certificate

On request, establishments must show valid certificates (with photo ID) to Public Health for each certified food handler and each operator.

Inspection Schedules

The Food Handler Certification By-law (78-2010) outlines an inspection schedule based on the risk to the public.

High-risk (minimum three inspections per year)

Premise which prepares hazardous foods and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Establishments associated in the past with foodborne illness
  • Institutions serving a vulnerable population (seniors, young children)
  • Use processes involving many preparation steps and foods frequently implicated as the cause of foodborne illness (e.g. full menu restaurants, large banquet facilities, and large catering operations)
  • Preparation of foods that involve multiple preparation steps (e.g. defrosting, cooking, cooling, storing, reheating, preparing, hot holding, slicing, de-boning, mixing, and serving)
  • Effective hazard analysis critical control point program not in place

Medium-risk (minimum two inspections per year)

A premise which meets one of the following criteria:

  • Prepare hazardous foods that do not meet the criteria outlined in the High Risk category above, or
  • Prepare non-hazardous foods with extensive handling and/or high volume of patrons (e.g. bakeries)

Fines for Non-Compliance

Offence Set Fine
Operator fails to ensure a minimum of one operator per high-risk premises is a holder of a valid food handler's certificate $250
Operator fails to ensure a minimum of one food handler who is a holder of a valid food handler's certificate is present at high-risk premises during operation $250
Operator fails to produce a valid food handler's certificate and photo identification card for high-risk premises $100
Operator fails to ensure a minimum of one operator per medium-risk premises is a holder of a valid food handler's certificate $250
Operator fails to ensure a minimum of one food handler who is a holder of a valid food handler's certificate is present at medium-risk premises during operation $250
Operator fails to produce a valid food handler's certificate and photo identification card for medium-risk premises $100
Food handler fails to produce a valid food handler's certificate and photo identification card $100

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