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Construction and Renovation Information for Food Premises Operators


Before a food premise can be constructed or renovated, the Halton Region Health Department must be notified. Learn about the steps involved for constructing and renovating food premises in Halton Region.

Steps to take before construction or renovation

You must notify the Halton Region Health Department before constructing or renovating a food premise. Follow these steps.

Need more information?

Contact your local municipality for more information on building permits or business licences.

  • Burlington: 905-335-7600
  • Halton Hills: 905-873-2600
  • Milton: 905 878-7252
  • Oakville: 905-845-6601

Ontario Food Premise Regulation

Food premises must comply with the Ontario Food Premise Regulation (external link). The following guideline provides basic information you will need to obtain Halton Region Health Department approval for your proposed food premises.

  • Floors
    • Floor and floor coverings in kitchen, storage area, washrooms and behind the bar must be tight, smooth and non-absorbent (e.g., vinyl flooring, ceramic tile).
    • Carpeting is allowed in dining area only.
  • Walls and ceilings
    • Walls and ceilings must have an easily cleanable finish.
    • Acoustic tile is not acceptable in food preparation area.
    • Painted surfaces must withstand frequent cleaning.
  • Lighting
    • Ensure sufficient bright light in kitchen, preparation and storage areas to facilitate cleaning.
    • Food preparation area lighting must meet Ontario Building Code requirements enforced by the local Building Department.
    • Protective light covers are recommended for fluorescent lights.
  • Washrooms
    • Contact your local municipality (Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton or Oakville) Building and Licensing Department for information about washroom requirements.
    • Washrooms must not open directly into any food processing, preparation, handling, distribution, selling, manufacturing or serving areas.
    • Paper (single-use) towels and liquid soap in a dispenser for proper hand washing must be provided.
  • Sinks
    • A separate hand-sink(s) must be conveniently located in each food preparation area supplied with paper towels and liquid soap in a dispenser.
    • A 3-compartment sink or an approved commercial dishwasher is required for cleaning/sanitizing multi-use utensils/dishware (forks, plates, etc.).
    • A separate 2-compartment sink is required where only single service utensils are provided for the service or sale of food.
    • If a commercial dishwasher is used, a 2-compartment sink large enough to fit the largest pot/utensil should also be provided.
    • A separate mop-sink is required to prevent contamination of food and dishwashing areas.
  • Ventilation
    • All cooking equipment, dishwashing equipment and washrooms require mechanical ventilation vented to the outside.
    • Mechanical ventilation over cooking equipment must be equipped with exhaust fan, canopy, filters, etc.
    • Contact your local municipality (Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton or Oakville) Building and Licensing Department and the local Fire Department for details.
  • Temperature and storage
    • All refrigerators must be maintained at 4°C (40°F) or less and have accurate indicating thermometers that can be easily read.
    • Freezers must be maintained at -18°C (0°F).
    • All hot holding must be maintained 60°C (140°F) or above.
  • Equipment
    • All commercial dishwashers must have accurate temperature gauges. High temperature dishwashers must reach a temperature of 82°C (180°F) in the final rinse cycle. Low temperature dishwashers must include approved sanitizing chemicals.
    • Sneeze guards are required for salad bars, steam tables, dessert carts, etc. that are used in public areas.
    • If bulk ice cream is served, a running dipper-well for the scoop should be provided.
  • Garbage facilities
    • Garbage containers or facilities must be provided inside and outside establishment.
    • The containers or facilities must be durable, easily cleanable, rodent-proof, and provided in sufficient numbers and located at convenient locations inside and outside.
  • Private sewage disposal
    • Contact your local Building and Licensing Department to verify that the existing private sewage disposal system is acceptable. A permit might be required for a change of use, repair or construction of a new system.
  • Well water
    • If private well water is to be used, then ensure it is safe. Bacterial levels are safe when results are Total Coliform-0 and E.coli-0. Water sample bottles are available from the Halton Region Health Department.
  • Grease trap
    • Consult the Building and Licensing Department for the location and size requirements of a grease trap.