The following overview outlines the structural requirements for all food businesses regardless if you operate a restaurant, a food truck, or a manufacturing plant. The Ontario Food Premises Regulation outlines all of the equipment required by food premises.

Contact Toronto Public Health and ask to speak to your local Public Health Inspector for more information regarding the structural requirements for your food business.

Walls and Ceilings

Walls and ceilings of rooms and hallways must be cleaned and maintained in a sanitary condition.


Ensure adequate light is available in the food premise to facilitate preparation of food and cleaning. The amount of light available must comply with requirements of the Ontario Building Code.


Floor and floor coverings must be tight, smooth and non-absorbent throughout the food premise. Carpet can be used if it is maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and placed only in areas where food is served to customers.

Washroom Facilities

Provide washrooms in accordance with the Ontario Building Code. Food stores and food take-outs only require one washroom.  Washrooms should be clean, sanitary and in good repair. Every washroom must have a supply of the following:

  • Toilet paper
  • Constant supply of hot and cold running water
  • Soap or detergent in a dispenser
  • Garbage container
  • Paper towels, a cloth towel roller or a hot air dryer

Consult with Toronto Building (Building Code) to determine the total number of fixtures that are required.


Mechanical ventilation vented to the outside is required over all cooking equipment and in washrooms. The ventilation system must be cleaned and maintained to prevent a health hazard. Consult with Toronto Building (Building Code) prior to installing or modifying any ventilation.


Adequate refrigeration and freezer space must be available. An accurate indicating thermometer is required for each unit.

Racks and Shelves

Provide racks, shelves or pallets for food storage. Racks and shelves should be made of materials that are easily cleaned and non-absorbent.

Waste Storage

Store garbage in containers made of durable, leak-proof and non-absorbent material with tight-fitting or self-closing lids. Ensure that you have enough containers to store the garbage and organic waste in a sanitary manner. Garbage containers should be rodent/animal proof and constructed with a locking device if necessary.

Staff Storage Area

Provide a separate room, compartment, locker or cupboard for staff to store their personal clothing and belongings. The storage space should not be in the food preparation area.

Chemical Storage

Store chemicals in a location separate from food to prevent contamination of any food, working surface or utensil. Chemicals must be kept in a container that has a label clearly identifying the contents.


Accurate indicating probe thermometer(s) must be available to confirm that food is cooked to the proper internal temperature.

Cooking Equipment

Construct and arrange cooking equipment to allow for thorough cleaning and maintenance. Cooking equipment must have a shield, canopy or other device that is corrosion-resistant, non-absorbent and made of material that is easily cleaned.

Hand Washing Sinks

Every food preparation area requires a separate hand washing sink, equipped with hot and cold water, liquid soap in a dispenser and paper towels. A hand washing sink must be in a location that is convenient for employees to use. In a large food preparation area more than one sink may be required. Hand washing sinks are for hand washing purposes only.

Dishwashing Equipment

Mechanical dishwashing equipment should be commercial grade with an approved sanitizing method (chemical or high heat) and equipped with an external indicating thermometer and test reagent strips in order to verify the concentration of the sanitizer.

For washing items by hand use a three compartment sink that is large enough to easily wash, rinse and sanitize all multi-use items. (Examples include plates, cutlery, coffee mugs and glassware.)

If multi-use items are not used to serve the public, you can use a two compartment sink. It must be large enough to clean and sanitize pots, pans, mixing bowls, tongs, trays and any large equipment used for cooking and the production of food.

Place the drain rack(s) close to the sink. Allow washed items to air dry.