Applications, permits, and requirements

There are a number of food and liquor permits people must apply for when selling or serving food and alcohol.

Anyone who wants to open a new food premises must notify Public Health Sudbury & Districts in writing before opening.

If you are planning a public or private event, consider tips to be COVID-safe.

Public health inspectors review and/or approve applications relating to food safety. Applications include:

All food vendors must consult, and receive approval from, a public health inspector before the event in order to minimize the risk that food and beverages served at the event will adversely impact the health of the population in attendance. Reviewing these applications ensures foodborne illnesses and outbreaks in the community are reduced.

How do I apply for a permit?

Special events and farmers’ markets

A special event is an event where food is sold, given or offered to the public, whether it is a charitable or commercial event. It is a temporary event and food is served from a non-permanent location, such as a BBQ fundraiser.

A farmers’ market is a central location where a group of people who operate stalls or other food premises meet to sell farm products, baked goods and preserved foods. Most people operating the stalls or other food premises are producers of farm products.

Farm products are those that are grown, raised or produced on a farm and intended to be eaten. Examples include fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, meat and meat products, dairy products, honey and maple products, fish, grains and seeds and their products.

Depending on the percentage of farmers selling farm products at a market, the entire market may be exempted from the Food Premises Regulation. These markets are considered Exempt Farmers’ Markets and must still comply with the requirements listed in the Health Protection and Promotion Act (Government of Ontario).

Exempted farmers’ markets must post signage advising patrons that any food that is being offered for sale to the public has not been inspected by public health.

Food handled at these events must be prepared safely and meet the applicable legislated requirements.

Special events or farmers’ markets organizers must:

Once the completed application is received, a public health inspector will review the package with the organizer. If approved, a permit will be issued within 10 days from the date on which the application was submitted.

Use the choosing healthy food and drinks for special events list to help you plan for the food and beverage choices to be served at your special event.

Food vendors (special events and non-exempt farmers’ markets) must:

Once the completed application is received, a public health inspector will review the package with the food vendor. If approved, a permit will be issued within 10 days from the date the application was approved.

Opening a new food premises or renovating an existing one?

Anyone who wants to open a new food premises must notify Public Health in writing (Fillable form or Printable form PDF, < 1 MB) prior to opening. Public Health Sudbury & Districts has developed a Starter kit: A guide to opening and operating a food premises (PDF, < 1 MB) for new food premises owners. This kit provides information on how to operate a food premises and serve food safely to the public, as outlined in the Food Premises Regulation (Government of Ontario).

Before renovating a premises, contact the public health inspector to review your facility plans, location and proposed menu to determine if the proposal will meet the regulatory requirements.

Public health inspectors will:

Consult with your local municipality to determine if your proposed location meets proper zoning and building requirements. Some municipalities and food premises may require a business license in order to operate a commercial business.

Liquor sales

Temporary extension

The holder of a liquor sales licence may sell and serve alcohol in a licensed establishment where light meals are available. Owners on occasion may submit an application to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to temporarily extend the existing licensed areas to an adjacent area. Part of the AGCO application requires you to submit a copy of the letter to the local police, fire department, public health office, and building officials. Notification must be received 30 days prior to the event.

The letter must include:

Special occasion permits (SOP)

Special occasion permits (SOP) are for the sale and service of alcohol at events such as charity fundraisers. These permits are issued through the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) SOP service stores throughout the province.

Applications must be submitted to an LCBO SOP service store at least 30 days before the event takes place. For outdoor events, the permit holder must write to the local municipality, police, and fire and health departments notifying them of the event. Notification must be provided at least 30 days before the event takes place if less than 5,000 people per day are expected to attend the event, or at least 60 days before the event takes place if more than 5,000 people per day are expected to attend.

Guidance for COVID-safe public or private event planning

When planning on hosting an event either indoors or outdoors, it is important to be COVID-safe. This means assessing your actions and taking deliberate precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A successful COVID-safe event should follow public health measures and advice (Government of Ontario).

Here are a few tips you should follow when planning an event:

For more information, contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free at 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on September 21, 2022