Restaurant in Toronto

Licenses and Permits Required to Open a Restaurant in Toronto

To open a restaurant, you need to understand the regulations that govern the industry. This article gives you all the information you need about the licenses and permits you need for operating a restaurant in Toronto.

The restaurant industry in Toronto is booming, and if you want a slice of the $27 billion pie, you need to know the laws of the restaurant business. Whether you want to enter the restaurant business or are an existing business owner, you should be aware of the essential licenses and permits.

Restaurants are classified under the category ‘food premise’ and need to comply with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation. One of the requirements under this regulation includes allowing inspection by Public Health Inspectors. The results or inspection notice would either be Closed, Conditional Pass, or Pass and will be posted on the Dine Safe website. You’ll have to find out about the legal requirements through the Toronto Public Health.

Compliances for Starting a Restaurant in Toronto

Before you start a restaurant in Toronto, you need to inform the Medical Officer of Health. Here are the three broad categories of compliances you need to know:

Licenses and Regulations

These include the laws to follow for a food business. As a restaurant owner, you need to comply with:

  • The requirements of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493/17. The regulations are part of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  • Chapters 520 and 545 of the Toronto Municipal Code define the new requirements.
  • Ontario Food Premises Regulation (493/17) states the specific requirements to be followed by any food premises business. These cover personal hygiene, food temperatures, dishwashing, sanitation, and food handling. Any establishment selling, displaying, distributing, transporting, manufacturing food or milk comes under these regulations.
  • Toronto’s Municipal Code: Chapters 520 and 545 need food premises to display the food safety inspection notice where it is clearly visible. The Toronto eating or drinking establishment license should be placed next to this. You should communicate changes in management of your restaurant to the Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards Division. Changes in Risk Classification could be required if there is a change in your operations.

Structural Requirements

These include the structural requirements to be met for operating a food services business. The equipment you need for a restaurant business is defined under the Ontario Food Premises Regulation.

  • Building Structure: Areas covered under this heading include ventilation, walls and ceilings, lighting, floors, and washroom facilities. Hygiene is important for all areas. Lighting should conform to the Ontario Building Code. Non-absorbent, smooth and tight floor coverings are allowed. Washrooms must be equipped with paper towels, soap, toilet paper, garbage containers, and a regular supply of cold and hot running water. Ensure that your ventilation complies with the Toronto Building Code.
  • Storage Equipment: This comprises refrigeration, racks and shelves, waste storage, staff storage area, and chemical storage. Make sure the indicating thermometer is functioning. Maintenance of racks and shelves should be easy. Garbage containers should facilitate the efficient storage of organic waste without any spillover. A separate area should be allocated for staff storage. You should carefully store chemicals in containers to avoid any hazards.
  • Cooking Equipment: Thermometers and cooking equipment are included here. To ensure the right internal temperature, the indicating probe thermometer should be accurate. Apart from being non-absorbent and corrosion-resistant, the equipment should be easy to maintain.
  • Sanitation Equipment: This category includes handwashing sinks and dishwashing equipment. You need commercial-grade dishwashing equipment that you can effectively sanitize. A two or three-compartment sink can be used depending on whether multi-use items are being used for customers or not. Depending on the size of your restaurant, you need more than one handwashing sink, and these should not be used for dishwashing.

Submitting Plans

All renovated and newly constructed premises will be reviewed by Toronto Public Health. You should contact TPH before you begin construction or renovation. You will need to submit detailed plans to TPH to ensure they comply with the required regulations, including the Ontario Building Code. Making changes to your restaurant and then consulting the TPH could prove costly due to penalties and reconstruction charges.

You should share your plan with the Healthy Environments Division of Toronto Public Health. The plan will be checked for adherence to the Ontario Food Premises Regulation. The detailed layout, equipment, and plumbing fixtures should be part of your construction plan.

Don’t try to save on architecture fees when designing the plan. Engage with professional Architectural Design Firm like Orana, who can help you get the required permits for your food services business. We are aware of the various zonal bylaws, and their experienced architects will ensure that your plans get the required permits and clearances on time.

You can share your ideas with them, and their talented designers will design interiors and exteriors that get you the attention you need from your customers.

Important Authorities To Be Contacted

The following licenses are important for your restaurant business:

  • Toronto Building: You will get information on zoning, HVAC permits, plan reviews, mechanical permits, building permits, and sign permits here.
  • Municipal Licensing and Standards: Find out about municipal permits for restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs from the Toronto Municipality.
  • Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO): If your restaurant serves alcoholic beverages, you need permission from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission. These include the manufacturer’s license, special occasion permits, liquor delivery, ferment-on premise.
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA): Animal, plant health, and food inspections are covered by this agency. All establishments registered under the Federal Law are inspected and regulated by CFIA. They specifically inspect food products moving across provinces or outside the country. This ensures the well-being of Canadian citizens, the economy, and the environment.
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs: The ministry enforces regulations to lower risks of food safety in edible oil products, slaughter of animals, fruits and vegetables, dairy processing plants, dairy farms, maple and honey products.
  • Ministry of Natural Resources: Food products made of fish sold in Ontario are inspected by this ministry.

Final Thoughts

Restaurants offer a profitable business opportunity, but you need to ensure that you have all the required licenses and permits in place before starting one. When it comes to the building plans for your restaurant, get in touch with Orana. They will help you get the licenses and permits you need, and you can concentrate on creating a world-class restaurant for the citizens of Toronto!