Food Handler Certification Course

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Food safety training isn’t just a legal requirement. It’s essential to protect the health and safety of your customers.

Our online Food Handler Certification Course is designed to provide food workers with the compliance training they need.

It’s delivered in a format that’s interactive, fun and straightforward to complete. What’s more, you can complete it on your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

When you study online with the Canadian Institute of Food Safety, you’re able to:

– Get instant course access

– Download your certificate as soon as you finish the course

– Study online, whenever you want

– Finish in one day or take your time (you have up to 30 days to complete the course)

– Take the exam in the comfort of your own home

– Access telephone or email support

– Print and keep course notes for future reference

– Receive all the latest food safety news, as well as hints and tips for improving food safety at your workplace


The course is split into 4 parts with a total of 11 lessons.

Part 1 – Understanding Food Safety

Lesson 1: Understanding Food Contamination

Lesson 2: Food-Borne Illness & Allergy Management

Lesson 3: Food Safety Laws & Responsibilities

Part 2 – Preventing Food-Borne Illness

Lesson 4: Personal Hygiene & Workplace Behaviour

Lesson 5: Time & Temperature Control

Lesson 6: Cleaning & Sanitizing

Lesson 7: Maintaining Food Premises & Equipment

Part 3 – Working With Food Safely

Lesson 8: Purchasing, Receiving & Storing Food Safely

Lesson 9: Preparing Food Safely

Lesson 10: Serving & Dispensing Food Safely

Part 4 – Managing Your Food Safety Plan

Lesson 11: Managing Your Food Safety Plan

After each lesson, you need to complete a short multiple-choice quiz in order to unlock the next lesson. These quizzes consist of 10 questions and you need to score 100% in order to pass the quiz.

You have unlimited attempts to pass these quizzes, and you can refer to your course notes or other resources as needed.

These quizzes do not form part of your final exam.

Your final exam is a proctored test, comprising of 50 random questions from the quizzes that you completed during the course. You have up to 60 minutes to complete this test, and you are not allowed to use course notes or other resources during this test. You need to score 70% to pass this exam.

A proctored test means that you’ll be observed via a webcam on your computer as you complete the test. You need to sign up for a date and time to complete this test and you can sign up anytime after enrolling on the course. But be sure to give yourself enough time to complete the lessons and quizzes first, as the final exam isn’t unlocked until all lessons are complete.


The lessons and quizzes take most people around 8 to 10 hours to complete.

This can vary depending on your food handling experience, English language skills and computer literacy.

As a rough guide, each lesson and quiz takes on average:

  • Introduction: 10 minutes
  • Lesson 1: 55 minutes
  • Lesson 2: 55 minutes
  • Lesson 3: 40 minutes
  • Lesson 4: 75 minutes
  • Lesson 5: 30 minutes
  • Lesson 6: 80 minutes
  • Lesson 7: 80 minutes
  • Lesson 8: 35 minutes
  • Lesson 9: 45 minutes
  • Lesson 10: 35 minutes
  • Lesson 11: 40 minutes

You don’t need to complete the whole course at once – you can start and stop as often as you need. The course software will remember where you’re up to and will prompt you to resume where you left off.

For the final online exam, you’ll need to schedule a date and time with ProctorU™ – this is the proctoring agency who will observe you completing the final test. It’s recommended that you do this shortly after you enrol onto the course.

You have 30 days from the date of enrolment to complete the course.

The course is currently approved by the authorities in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

To learn more about mandatory food safety training requirements in these regions, click on the following links:


At the end of each lesson, you’ll complete a multiple choice quiz consisting of 10 questions. You need to score 100% in each quiz to unlock the next lesson. These quizzes don’t form part of your final assessment and you can use course notes and any other resources you like.

The final exam works slightly differently. It’s a proctored test which means that you’re observed completing the test through your computer by a certified proctor from ProctorU™.  You need to sign up for a date and time to complete this exam once you’re enrolled onto the course.

The final exam consists of 50 questions and you must score at least 70% to pass the exam. You have 60 minutes to complete the test and it’s a closed-book assessment. This means that you can’t refer to the course, course notes or any other resources.

If you don’t pass the exam during this attempt, you’ll need to schedule and pay for another session with ProctorU™ – but be sure to give yourself enough time to review the course content if you need to do this.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you can download your certificate immediately.

Language, Literacy & Numeracy Skills

Whilst we’ve tried to keep the course as simple as possible, there are some technical food safety terms that need to be used. There are also some numerical skills required to read temperatures and perform simple calculations.

The full course content is delivered via an automated slide pack, audio narration and course handouts. This allows for students that prefer to learn via reading, listening or watching to all be accommodated.

As a general rule, if you can perform the following tasks then you have the language, literacy and numeracy skills to complete the course:

  1. Use an instant messenger tool
  2. Use email for work purposes
  3. Respond to customer complaints
  4. Follow a recipe

At present, our course is available in English only.

Computer Skills

This is an online course and so a medium level of computer literacy is required.

You will be required to log on to the course and navigate through the lessons on the online course page. You’ll also receive some information via email so you’ll need to be familiar with the use of your preferred email system.

You will also need to download the PDF resources on the course page – this will require the use of Adobe Reader or similar (installed on most modern computers).

If you’re able to confidently browse the internet, and send and reply to emails, then you’re likely to have the computer skills required to complete this course.

Independent Study Skills

This course is an online self-paced course which means that you can study when you want, where you want – but you must complete the course within 30 days of enrolment.

This type of course requires some planning and organisation from the student. As there are no scheduled times and sessions, you’ll need to make sure that you allocate adequate time to complete the course. You’ll also need to consider the best way to study and learn using the online tools. Some students like to make lots of notes with pen and paper, others like to watch the lessons multiple times to let the information sink in.

It’s a good idea to consider how you’ll approach a self-paced online training course before enrolling.

If you have any concerns about any of the skills required, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation.

You need to make sure you have the following in order to be able to complete any CIFS courses:

1. Access to a computer or laptop (with internet access)

Our lessons can be viewed on any device, including mobile and tablet devices.

However, we recommend that the quizzes at the end of each lesson are completed on a computer or laptop in order to view and select answers easily.

The final exam must be completed on a computer or laptop with an in-built camera or webcam.

2. A modern web browser

At CIFS we use some of the latest eLearning technologies to deliver the courses. You will need to have a modern web browser to view and complete the course, and it’s important that you have Javascript enabled.

3. An email address

During the registration process, you’ll be asked to supply an email address. This is a mandatory requirement for you to be able to access our systems. Email addresses cannot be shared between students.

4. Adobe PDF Reader or Adobe Acrobat

As part of the course, you’re provided with access to various resources (e.g. guides, posters) as well as comprehensive course notes. To access these you’ll need to have Adobe PDF Reader or Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer. To get the latest version of Adobe PDF Reader click here.

We’ve designed our course to try and accomodate for as many requirements as possible.

The course materials are delivered via interactive lessons, via audio and also via downloadable course notes. We’ve done this to try and make the course accessible for students with disabilities, or with language/literacy needs.

Once enrolled onto the course, students are also able to interact with a qualified food safety trainer via email or telephone. If other tools such as video conferencing are required, this can be arranged.

Please contact us with any concerns and we’ll do our best to accommodate any special requirements.

So that we can deliver a certificate that’s approved throughout Canada, we need to meet the requirements of provincial and territorial governments that approve our course.

One of these requirements is that the final test must be completed in exam conditions. This means that you must not use course notes or other resources, and you must not have any assistance from other people. You must be observed as you complete the test, just as if you were in a regular exam room. We also need to verify your identification as part of the process.

We’ve partnered with ProctorU™, a professional proctoring organisation, to deliver this service on our behalf. You need to pay the proctor fee (currently $30 USD) directly to ProctorU™ when you schedule the date and time for your final test. You can do this anytime after you enrol onto the course.

We recommend that you schedule your exam soon after enrolment as there is an additional ‘Take It Now’ fee of $12 USD if you schedule your exam to take place within 24 hours or an additional ‘Take It Soon’ fee of $8 USD if you schedule your exam to take place within 72 hours.

You can complete your final exam at home or at work but you must meet the following conditions:

– You must be alone in a room and unable to communicate with other people
– There must be no noise or distractions
– The room must be well lit and at a suitable temperature
– You must be sitting at a desk or somewhere suitable for working on your computer
– All browser windows on your computer except for the final exam window must be closed down
– There must be no paper, course notes or other resources in the room

Before the exam starts, the proctor will request a 360-degree floor to ceiling camera pan and will request that you remove any materials from the room that may assist you in the exam. You must comply with this in order to be allowed to begin the exam.

Your Food Handler Certificate will be available for immediate download from the course page once you’ve passed the final assessment.

We recommend that you print and save a copy of your certificate so that you can easily access it in future.

Your access to the course expires after 30 days so it’s important to ensure you have a saved copy before this date.