Starting a Food Business
Here is some basic information that you will need in order to start, construct or renovate a food premise in the City of Toronto.
Food Premise Definition
A food premise is where food is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold or offered for sale. A food premise includes kitchens in private homes that are used for the preparation and sale of food on a commercial scale (e.g. online food service).
All food premises are subjected to the requirements of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation including allowing access to Public Health Inspectors to conduct inspections. Inspection results will be posted on the DineSafe website and an Inspection Notice (Pass, Conditional Pass or Closed) must be posted at the location of the premises.
Contact Toronto Public Health (TPH) and ask to speak to your local Public Health Inspector for more information regarding the legal requirements.
Before You Begin
Every person who intends to operate a food premises within the City of Toronto must notify the Medical Officer of Health before starting. This requirement also applies to operators purchasing an existing food premise.
- Regulations & Licensing Requirements – Provides the legal requirements for operating a food business
- Structural Requirements – Provides an overview of the structural requirements for food premises
- Submitting Plans – TPH will review building plans for newly constructed or renovated food premises
Remember to research what additional legislation and bylaws may impact your business before you sign a lease. You may need to confirm zoning bylaws or submit building plans.
Contact Toronto Building for information on the following:
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) permit
- Plumbing and mechanical permits
- Sign permit
- Building permit
- Plan reviews
Municipal Licencing and Standards
Municipal Licensing and Standards issues licences to different types of business, trades and mobile businesses.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO)
The AGCO regulates the sale, service and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
The CFIA administers and enforces all federal legislation related to food inspections and animal and plant health. The CFIA is responsible for inspecting and regulating federally registered establishments (generally those that move food products across provincial or national boundaries).
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs administers and enforces a number of provincial statutes designed to minimize food safety risks for the following:
- dairy farms, dairy products and dairy processing plants
- the slaughter of animals and primary processing of meat
- fruit and vegetables, honey and maple products
- eggs and livestock
- edible oil products
Ministry of Natural Resources
The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for fish and fish plant inspections for products harvested and offered for sale in Ontario.