DineSafe Inspection and Disclosure System

Food Safety Inspections

The DineSafe Inspection system is based on Provincial and Municipal regulations.

The Ministry of Health requires each board of health in Ontario to follow a standardized process that assesses the conditions of an establishment, based on the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (562/90, as amended). DineSafe inspections also include requirements as set out in municipal by-laws. Food premises are inspected at a frequency established by the Ministry of Health according to identified risk levels.

Risk Levels for Food Establishments

Every eating and drinking establishment in the City of Toronto receives a minimum of 1, 2, or 3 inspections each year depending on the specific type of establishment, the food preparation processes, volume and type of food served and other related criteria.

In 2010 DineSafe won the Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award for providing outstanding food protection services - the first time an organization outside the United States has won this prestigious award.

Risk Level Risk Assessment Criteria Minimum Inspections
High Any eating or drinking establishments that prepare hazardous food and meet at least one of the following criteria:
  • serve a high risk population
  • use processes involving many preparation steps and foods frequently implicated as the cause of foodborne illness
  • implicated or confirmed as a source of foodborne illness/outbreak
three times per year
Moderate Any eating or drinking establishments that meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • prepare hazardous food without meeting the criteria for high risk
  • prepare non-hazardous foods with extensive handling or high volume
two times per year
Low Any eating or drinking establishments that do not prepare hazardous food and meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • serve pre-packaged hazardous foods
  • prepare and/or serve non-hazardous foods without meeting the criteria for moderate risk
  • are used as a food storage facility for non-hazardous foods only
  • public health concerns related primarily to sanitation and maintenance
one time per year

Inspection findings

The failure of an eating and drinking establishment operator to meet the minimum requirements or standards set out in legislation is referred to as an infraction.

There are 3 types of infractions that have been developed under the DineSafe Food Safety Inspection and Disclosure Program covering all of the requirements under the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (562/90, as amended).

In addition Municipal by-law infractions are recorded, though these don’t present a health hazard.

Infraction Type Examples
Minor Infractions
  • Infractions that present a minimal health risk.
  • These items must be corrected by the next inspection
  • Walls, floors or other non-food contact surfaces or equipment need cleaning or repair (e.g., cracked or missing floor tiles, cracked or peeling paint not directly over food preparation area)
  • Inadequate ventilation and lighting systems
  • Hair constraints not worn
Significant Infractions
  • Infractions that present a potential health hazard.
  • These items must be corrected within 24-48 hours or legal action may be taken.
  • These items indirectly involve food, through handling, preparation, storage and/or service.
  • Food contact surfaces or equipment require cleaning or repair
  • Repair of refrigeration and mechanical dish washing equipment required
  • Accurate indicating thermometers not provided
  • Lack of hand wash basin with the necessary supplies
  • Garbage not stored in a sanitary manner
  • Improper cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils
  • Washroom cleanliness not maintained, supplies not provided
Crucial Infractions
  • Infractions that present an immediate health hazard.
  • These items directly involve food, such as contamination, time-temperature abuse or lack of safe (potable) water or any other condition that is a health hazard.
  • These items must be corrected immediately or an Order to Close the premises can be issued and/or immediate action must be taken to remove or eliminate the health hazard.
  • Enforcement action will be taken.
  • No hot and cold running water under pressure in food preparation area or where utensils are washed
  • Rodent or insect infestation without effective method of pest control
  • Inadequate refrigeration
  • Sewage back-up
  • Lack of safe potable water
  • Food contaminated or adulterated

Reporting and Disclosure

Every drinking and eating establishment in Toronto must, continually and prominently, post the most recent food safety inspection notice, as issued without alteration, at or near the main entrance.

There are three (3) types of notices

A Pass notice will be issued when only minor or no infractions are observed during an inspection.

If Minor Infractions are repeated at the next inspection, the Public Health Inspector may issue a ticket to obtain compliance. Fines range from $45 to $370 depending on the severity of the infraction.

A Conditional Pass notice will be issued when one or more significant infractions are observed during an inspection.

When issued, a Public Health Inspector will re-inspect an establishment within 24-48 hours of the initial inspection. If the infractions are corrected and no other infractions or only Minor Infractions are found, a PASS Notice will be issued. If the infractions are not corrected by the time of the first re-inspection, a ticket will be issued and a second re-inspection will be conducted at a later date. If at the time of the second re-inspection the items have not been corrected, a summons to court will be issued and a referral to Toronto's Municipal Licensing and Standards Division may occur.

A Closed notice will be issued when one or more crucial infractions observed during an inspection are not corrected immediately. A food establishment can only be closed when a health hazard is present.

An Order to Close the establishment and/or remove the health hazard will be issued. A Public Health Inspector will visit daily to make sure that the establishment remains closed. Failure to comply with an Order to Close will lead to additional charges. When all of the infractions listed in the Order and all other significant or crucial infractions are corrected, the establishment will receive a PASS Notice and may be re-opened. Any repeated or new crucial infractions may result in the operator being issued with a summons to court and referral to the Licensing Tribunal for further action.

For more information on enforcement see the Regulations page.

The details of food safety inspections conducted over the past 2 years are reported on this site and can be downloaded from the City's open data server. The reports include Food safety and Municipal by-law Infractions found as well as legal action taken and outcomes.

Last updated August 2012