Toronto Public Health offers Food Handler Certification Courses to provide food handlers with the knowledge of safe food handling practices to prevent food-borne illness.
In June 2006, City Council passed a bylaw requiring Food Handler certification for Food Handlers in the food and beverage industry. Bylaw 678-2006 came into effect on September 1, 2006.
The bylaw requires that the owner/operator of food establishments ensure that there is, at all times when the establishment is operating, at least one (1) certified Food Handler working in a supervisory capacity in each area of the premises where food is prepared, processed, served, packaged or stored.
Furthermore, every person licensed, or required to be licensed under Municipal Code Chapter 545 – Licensing, as a refreshment vehicle owner, operator, driver or assistant shall obtain a Food Handler certificate if such person sells or handles refreshments or is working in a refreshment vehicle from which ice cream, ice cream cones, frozen desserts and other frozen confections are sold.
Every person with whom this bylaw applies shall produce for inspection his or her Food Handler certificate along with a photo identification card upon request by City of Toronto Officials. The photo identification card is a valid card integrated with a photograph of the holder of the card and issued by, or under the authority of, the Government of Canada, a Canadian province or territory, a Canadian municipality or the Medical Officer of Health.
Any food premises that do not comply with this bylaw can be subject to further action by Toronto Public Health including issuing tickets and fines.
Food Handlers may obtain their certification by one of three ways:
- Attend the Toronto Public Health Food Handler Certification Program course and pass the written exam at the end of the class; or
- Study on you own and then write the exam during regularly scheduled exam times; or
- Attend a Food Handler certification course offered by a private company accredited by Toronto Public Health and then obtain a valid certificate issued by Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.
To comply with the requirements, one must obtain the certificate by successfully passing an examination from a recognized Food Handler certification course and applying for a Food Handler certificate issued by the Medical Officer of Health of Toronto.