Calgary Food Safety Regulations

Calgary has over 5,000 food establishments, including restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, and butchers. These are all subject to the province’s main article of food safety legislation, Alberta Regulation 31/2006, which covers everything from food handler certification to standards of hygiene in restaurants.

All Calgary businesses that prepare and/or serve food to the public must have the approval of Alberta Health Services (AHS). This agency is responsible for ensuring food premises are compliant with Alberta Regulation 31 and has the power to carry out inspections, vet food handler certificates, issue closure notices, and more. 

AHS restaurant inspections calgary

Any business involving the sale, preparation, manufacturing or storage of food products must be inspected by AHS before it opens. Once opened, the business is subject to further inspections but there’s no set schedule for these, they’re carried out by AHS based on risk and the facility’s resources. Some restaurants could be inspected yearly, others more frequently. AHS will also investigate if a complaint has been made. Inspection reports are publicly available and posted online in an archive that covers all food facility inspections for the past three years.

Types of inspections:

  • Approval - done before a food premises can open
  • Routine - these are done without notice to ensure compliance
  • Re-inspection - if AHS finds a violation of the food safety regulations, they will ask the operator to correct it and return to check if that’s been done
  • Complaint - AHS can inspect a facility on the basis of a public complaint

Penalties for continual violation of food safety regulations can be severe. Operators could be forced to close their business, their permits can be revoked, and they may even face fines and prosecution.

food safety certificate calgary

Alberta Regulation 31 covers all food safety requirements including:

  • Food storage
  • Food handling
  • Pest control
  • Employee hygiene
  • Facilities and equipment

It also covers food safety training, setting standards for food handler certification and who in the business needs a food handling certificate. 

All food service establishments must have at least one employee with food safety certification when six or more food handlers (including servers) are on premises. When there are five or fewer food handlers on premises, the certified food handler is permitted to be off-site. This rule applies to virtually all businesses handling food, including bakeries, bars, cafeterias and caterers, convenience stores, food trucks, and more.

While establishments such as B&Bs, farmer’s market vendors, and daycares aren’t mandated to provide food handler certification, AHS strongly recommends that anyone serving, preparing or handling food in those settings gets their food safety certification.

getting your food handling certificate calgary

Training your team doesn’t have to be a hassle. FoodSafetyMarket’s popular food handler certification course, Managing Food Safety, is compliant with all Alberta regulatory requirements and approved by AHS as an accredited course. 

The online course provides everything students need to ace their food handler certification. Delivered through our secure hosting platform or on your company’s own Learning Management System, it’s the easiest and most convenient way to train staff and keep your business compliant. 

Individual food handlers can also access the course, adding it to their resume to further their careers and develop their skills. 

Hundreds of thousands of food handlers across Canada have taken and passed our nationally accredited food handler certification course. now available in English, French, Punjabi, Arabic, and Chinese. Contact our team today to get started or find out more about our food safety training solutions.

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