A food premises is any place where food intended for public consumption is sold, offered for sale, supplied, handled, prepared, packaged, displayed, served, processed, transported or dispensed. Before opening a food premise, approval must be granted by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to ensure the premises meets all the requirements of the Food Premises Regulation.
Food service establishment
- Food is processed, served, and intended for immediate consumption. Includes full-service restaurants, take-out only restaurants, delis, and buffets.
- Food is processed, and may be served but is not typically intended for immediate consumption. Items produced in these facilities may be sold directly to consumers or supplied to other retail facilities. Examples include bakeries, meat processors, poultry, or seafood producers, and breweries.
- Food is stored and sold but there is no food preparation or service for immediate consumption. For example, grocery stores, and convenience stores.
- A vehicle, cart, or other self-contained movable structure from which food intended for public consumption is prepared/processed and/or served to the public.
Temporary food premises
The health approval process involves the submission of plans and application documents, and the completion of a successful pre-opening inspection by an EHO. Plans and applications should be submitted to the EHO prior to construction of the establishment. If the establishment is pre-existing, plans and applications must be submitted at least one month prior to the proposed opening date to allow sufficient time for review, comment and inspection. All required documentation must be submitted and approved before an initial inspection can be scheduled. Approval is required for new facilities, alterations, conversions, location changes, and ownership changes.
|Premises type||Application form||Building/Floor plan||Food and safety plan and sanitation plan||Foodsafe (level 1)|
Food service establishment
|Food mobile||Yes||Yes||Refer to mobile food premises guidelines||Refer to mobile food premises guidelines|
If you have any questions or would like to consult with an EHO about a new premises, renovations, or approved equipment and building materials call 250-565-7322 or email email@example.com. In person consultations are by appointment only and dependent on EHO availability.
Submit the following package to the Environmental Health Officer for approval:
- Application for health approval
- Building/floor/site plans
- Must identify the locations of all major pieces of equipment (sinks, refrigerators, stoves), the finishes of surfaces (shelves, floors, countertops) and the layout of any areas associated with food production.
- Food safety plan
- A written document that describes how you control food safety hazards in your food premises. This must identify hazards and describe steps taken to prevent or reduce hazards to acceptable levels throughout your food process. A food safety plan should be made for each type of food you prepare. Multiple menu items may be grouped together if the ingredients or preparation methods are similar.
- Food safety training
- Provide copies of FOODSAFE Level 1 certificate, or equivalent, for the owner and operator of the establishment. All food safety certifications (FOODSAFE or other equivalent course) are valid for a maximum of 5 years from the date of issue, or the expiry date indicated on the certificate if less than 5 years.
- Proposed menu
- Sanitation plan
- A plan that describes how to clean and sanitize all interior and exterior areas of your food premises including equipment, utensils, and food contact and non-food contact surfaces. Your sanitation plan should focus on preventing or reducing hazards that may contaminate food products.
Resources and guidelines
- Ensuring food safety: Writing your own food safety plan the HACCP way – A guide for food service operators (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
- Food safety and sanitation plans (videos) - FoodSafe
- Food safety and sanitation plan workbooks and examples - Government of BC
- Temperature logs (PDF) - Northern Health
- Food protection: Vital to your business (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
- Northern Health posters available (dish washing directions, cooking temperatures and more) (PDF) - Northern Health
- Food premises self-inspection checklist (PDF) - Northern Health
- Food premises guidelines - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
- Mobile food premises guidelines (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
- FOODSAFE training - FoodSafe
- Approved FOODSAFE equivalent courses (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
Frequently asked questions (FAQ's)
EHO approval is required for all food premises that fall under the Food Premises Regulation.
All provincially licensed slaughter facilities are now regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture. For more information on slaughter facility approval see meat inspection and licensing.
Once health approval is granted for a food service establishment, a permit fee invoice will be issued to you by mail or email. After payment has been received, an operating permit and decal for the current fiscal year will be mailed to you. This permit must be displayed in a location visible to the public and is not valid without also displaying the decal. Annual fees depend on the number of seats and are pro-rated if your facility is operating less than 12 months per year. Operating permit fees do not apply to food stores or food processors.
- Guidelines for food premises operating permits and fees (PDF) - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
|Number of seats||Cost|
50 seats or fewer
$150 per year
|More than 50 seats||$250 per year|
|Mobile facilities||$75 per year (prorated if operating less than 6 months per year)|
|Temporary food permit||$50 if application is received less than 14 days before the event|
A home-based kitchen may be eligible for health approval if the following conditions are met:
- Kitchen is completely separate from the living quarters. This means that this kitchen cannot contain any personal items and cannot be for personal use. For most people, this will require a second kitchen in addition to their household kitchen.
- Kitchen has a separate entrance from the outside (do not need to go through the living quarters to access the kitchen).
- No pet access.
- Kitchen must be connected to a potable water source; either an existing permitted community water system, or the on-site water system must be permitted by Northern Health.
- All equipment and facility requirements under the Food Premises Regulation must be met.
- Local bylaws and zoning do not restrict you from operating this type of home-based business. Check with your local municipality to determine whether this is the case.