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Requirements for Opening, Renovating and Operating a Restaurant

The Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario requires that every person who intends to commence to operate a food premises give notice of his intention to the local health unit in which the food premises is to be located. Every person who operates a food premises in Ontario must meet the requirements of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17).

The Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act provides the minimum requirements for the operation of a food premises.  These requirements can be found online at

Peterborough Public Health (PPH) must be notified before any food premises opens in Peterborough County and the City of Peterborough.  A Public Health Inspector (PHI) at PPH will review the food premises regulation with the operator before and during opening, renovating and operating.  A pre-opening inspection must be arranged with a PHI at least one week prior to opening.


Operation and maintenance

  • A food premises shall be operated and maintained in such a manner that it does not pose a health hazard.
  • Floors in areas such as food preparation, dishwashing, washing fixtures and toilet fixtures must be constructed of materials that are tight, smooth, non-absorbent and easily cleaned.
  • The walls and ceilings of rooms and passageways shall be maintained in a sanitary condition.
  • Garbage and wastes, including liquid wastes, shall be collected and removed from a food premise as often as is necessary to maintain the premise in a sanitary condition.


  • Adequate lighting must be maintained during all hours of operation. The requirements for the levels of illumination are regulated under the Ontario Building Code. Please consult with your local Building Department for more information.


  • The specific ventilation requirements for washrooms and food preparation areas are regulated under the Ontario Building Code. Please consult with your local Building and Fire Department for more information.

Equipment, utensils and multi-service articles

  • Any article or piece of equipment used in the kitchen shall be of sound and tight construction, kept in good repair and made of such material that it can be readily cleaned and sanitized.
  • Equipment and utensils that come in direct contact with food shall be corrosion-resistant, non-toxic and free from cracks, crevices and open seams.
  • Racks, shelves or pallets that are used to store food in a food premise must be designed to protect the food from contamination and must be readily cleanable.
  • All food shall be protected from contamination and adulteration, and must be processed in a manner that makes the food safe to eat.


  • An adequate supply of potable water must be provided for the operation of the food premises. Potable water means the absence of total coliform and E. coli in the source of the water.
  • Hot and cold running water under pressure must always be available in areas where food is processed, prepared or manufactured or where equipment and utensils are washed.


  • Handwashing Sink

An adequate number of handwashing stations that are maintained, kept adequately supplied and that are situated for convenient access by food handlers.

Dishwashers and Sinks for Washing and Sanitizing Equipment and Utensils

If multi-service equipment and utensils (i.e. reusable forks, plates, etc.) are used by patrons, one of the following is required:

  1. A three-compartment sink of adequate size for the manual wash, rinse and sanitization procedure. Adequate size means that all equipment and utensils can be immersed in each of the sinks;
  2. A commercial-style mechanical dishwasher equipped with a temperature gauge, either a high temperature machine (capable of reaching 82°C) or a low temperature machine with chemical sanitizing rinse. For equipment and utensils that are too large to fit into that mechanical dishwasher, a two-compartment sink of adequate size must be made available for the manual wash, rinse and sanitation procedure.

If single-service equipment and utensils (i.e. disposable forks, plates, etc.) are used by patrons, a two-compartment sink of adequate size for the manual wash, rinse and sanitization procedure must be made available for washing preparation equipment and utensils.  Adequate size means that all equipment and utensils can be immersed in each of the sinks.

There must be a supply of test strips to accurately determine the effectiveness of the sanitizing agent.

Temperature and Thermometers

  • Refrigerators must be capable of keeping cold foods cold at 4°C or below and freezers must keep frozen foods to be frozen. Ensure to provide enough space for storing ingredients, raw foods, foods being chilled, leftovers, etc.
  • Adequate hot holding equipment is required to keep hot foods hot at 60°C or above (i.e. steam table, etc.).
  • An accurate, visible and conveniently located indicating thermometer is required in each cold, hot and frozen unit that is used for the storage of hazardous foods.
  • An accurate indicating probe thermometer that can be easily read is required to measure the internal temperature of hazardous foods (i.e. whole turkey, chicken, hamburger, etc.).

Sanitary Facilities/Washrooms

  • Every operator of a food premise shall ensure that sanitary facilities are maintained in accordance with the design, construction and installation requirements in Ontario Regulation 332/12 (Building Code) made under the Building Code Act, 1992.
  • Every sanitary facility shall be equipped with a continuous supply of: potable hot and cold running water under pressure, toilet paper, liquid soap in dispenser, single use paper towels and a durable, easy to clean receptacle for used towels and other waste material.
  • The number of handwash sinks, urinals and toilets required in washrooms is regulated under the Ontario Building Code. The Ontario Building Code may require that separate facilities be provided for staff and customers.  For more information, please consult with your local Building Department.


Well Water

  • If the food premises water supply is from a private well, then the well water must be free of Total Coliform and E. coli bacteria. The food premises may also be classified under Ontario Regulation 319/08 as a Small Drinking Water System.  Please contact PPH for more information.

Private Sewage Disposal

  • If the food premises does not have municipal sewers, then it must have a sewage disposal system which complies with Part 8 of the Ontario Building Code.
  • An application must be submitted to PPH to verify that the performance of the existing private sewage disposal system is satisfactory. A permit may be required for a change of use, alteration, repair or construction of a new system.  If you are not the owner of the property, a letter of authorization from the owner to release information to PPH is required.

Food Handler Training

  • It is required that there is a Certified Food Handler on site. PPH encourages that all staff who handle food be certified in safe food preparation and handling. Contact PPH at 705-743-1000 or visit the website at to find out when the next free Certified Food Handler Training Course is offered.


  1. Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario (Liquor License)
  2. Ontario Building Code (Local Building Department)
  3. Ontario Fire Code (Local Fire Department)
  4. Local Municipal Bylaws (i.e. Zoning)
  5. Smoke Free Ontario Act (PPH)
  6. Small Drinking Water System (PPH)