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.
Public health inspectors review and/or approve applications relating to food safety. Applications include:
- special or temporary events where food is sold, given, or offered to the public
- farmers’ markets (exempt and non-exempt)
- opening a new food premises or renovating an existing one
- extensions of existing liquor licenses or special occasion permits for the temporary sale of alcohol
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-fixed 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.
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 complete the appropriate application package to notify Public Health of the date(s) and location of the event or farmers’ market.
- Facilitate the approval process for each food vendor at the event or farmers’ market by providing each food vendor with a copy of the appropriate vendor application package.
- Must notify Public Health of any significant changes to the original application.
- Coordinate back-up plans with food vendors in the event of a power failure or water shortage, where applicable.
- Arrange for sanitary disposal of liquid waste and garbage, where applicable.
- Provide an adequate number of sanitary facilities and maintain them in a functioning and sanitary manner throughout the event, where applicable.
- Provide a potable water supply to vendors, where applicable. Use only food-grade hoses.
- Arrange for proper sanitary disposal of garbage by providing adequate, leak-proof garbage containers with lids.
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.
- Special event food service permit: Organizer application package (Fillable form or Printable form) PDF, < 1 MB
- Farmers’ market permit: Organizer application package (Fillable form or Printable form) PDF, < 1 MB
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 complete the Special Event Food Service Permit – Vendor Application Package to notify Public Health of the date(s) and location in which they propose to offer food to the public at least 20 days before the event
- must notify Public Health of any significant changes to the original application
- must list the foods they will be serving at the event or at the non-exempt farmers’ market
- must ensure the food safety requirements listed in the application packages are followed
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.
- Special event food service permit: Vendor application package (Fillable form or Printable form) PDF, < 1 MB
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.
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:
- offer free consultation services to assist you in meeting the applicable legislation
- offer information on the food handler training and certification course
- provide food safety resources
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.
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:
- the date, time, and exact location;
- capacity of the proposed extended licensed area, including any permanent or temporary tiered seating; and
- the nature of the event.
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.
For more information, contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 or toll-free at 1.866.522.9200.
This item was last modified on December 5, 2019