Frequently Asked Questions
Online courses vs classroom courses: which is better?
Online courses are a flexible, convenient and affordable option for those completing food safety training.
It’s not always easy to find the time to attend an in-class training course — and that’s if one is even offered in your area. Online training often provides a more accessible, convenient and affordable option for those who need their Food Handler certificate but don't want the hassle of commuting to a classroom or having to take a full day off work.
CIFS' online Food Handler Certification Course allows you to study on your own time, whenever and wherever is convenient for you. CIFS students learn the fundamental food safety knowledge and skills they need to safely and effectively perform their duties.
The online course is recognized and accepted by health authorities everywhere in Canada, and meets all legislative requirements for food safety training.
When it comes to food safety training, the Canadian Institute of Food Safety’s online food handling course is second to none. It can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is easy to navigate and covers all the information required by federal and provincial law. Our support team also provides exceptional student support via email and over the phone, so you can speak directly to us if you need help.
How do I become a CIFS Member?
When you register for the CIFS Food Handler Certification Course, you'll receive a complimentary 12-month CIFS Membership. Membership can also be purchased on its own for $74.95/year.
After purchasing a membership or registering in the course, you will receive an email with your member login information. We recommend that you keep this email for your records, or make a record of your username and password for future reference.
What's included in CIFS Membership?
As a CIFS Member, you get unlimited access to our members-only Resource Library — including:
- fact sheets
CIFS Members also get newsletters and access to the most recent food recall information, allowing them to stay on top of the latest food safety news that could affect their business.
When will I get my Food Handler Certificate?
As soon as you pass your final exam, you can request your certificate to be emailed to you. Students typically receive their certificate by email within 60 minutes.
We recommend that you print and save a copy of your certificate so that you can easily access it in the future.
Your access to the course expires after 30 days so it’s important to ensure you have a saved copy before this date.
How does the final exam work?
To write the exam you will need:
- a computer equipped with a webcam and microphone
- a relatively quiet room with no people nearby
- no headphones, cell phones, notebooks or paper nearby
- a piece of Government issued photo ID
When you click on 'Begin Final Exam' you will be connected to a proctor. When they’re satisfied that exam conditions are met, you may begin.
The proctor will observe you throughout the exam using the webcam on your computer. Headphones, notes, external monitors, cell phones and people assisting you are not permitted. You will not be allowed to talk to others, leave the room or take notes.
Can you tell me more about the final exam?
The final exam has 50 multiple choice questions and a 60-minute time limit. A minimum score of 70% is required to pass the exam.
The final exam requires proctoring. A Proctor is a person who remotely observes while you complete the exam. We have proctors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing you to complete the exam at any time that suits you.
Before starting your exam, the Proctor will need to confirm your identity. To verify your identity, you will need to follow the two steps below:
- Provide valid government-issued photo ID. The ID can be from any country, some examples are, driver’s licence, passport, health card, student card or citizenship. (For underage learners, student ID will be accepted).
- The Proctor will take your photo. The photo will match the picture on the government-issued photo ID you have provided.
Once your identity is validated, you can begin the exam.
You have unlimited attempts to write the exam during the 30 day enrolment period, unless you are suspected of cheating. If you are found to have cheated in your exam then you will be removed from the course and will need to re-enrol and pay for a new course.
To avoid accusations of cheating, never do the following immediately before or during your exam:
- Have your mobile device, tablet or additional laptop or computer with you or within your reach.
- Have any paper or notebooks open or accessible, or take notes or screenshots.
- Interact with or be within close proximity of friends, family or coworkers.
- Open additional browser windows or have your computer or laptop on split or multiple screen modes.
- Have any instant messaging apps open (example: Slack or Google Hangouts).
- Leave or turn away from your computer (try to keep your gaze on the screen and keyboard only).
- Wear headphones or any earpiece.
Once you’ve passed the exam, you can request your certificate to be emailed immediately. Most students receive their certificate within 60 minutes of completing the exam.
Do you accommodate students with special needs?
We’ve designed our course to try and accommodate 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 into 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.
What are the technical requirements for the course?
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 a built-in camera or webcam.
2. A modern web browser
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 (a free download) you can visit their website.
What skills do I need to complete the course?
To complete a course delivered by CIFS you'll need skills in:
- Language, literacy and numeracy
- Computer use
- Independent study
For more details, refer to the FAQs on the CIFS Food Handler Certification course page.
If you have any concerns about any of the skills required, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation.
How long does the course take?
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.
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.
The final exam works slightly differently. A certified proctor will supervise your exam remotely via a webcam on your computer – there’s no need to book in advance as sessions are available 7 days/week.
You have 30 days from the date of enrolment to complete the course in its entirety, including the final exam.
Is the course 100% online?
Yes, the Food Handler Certification course is 100% online and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You complete all of the lessons and quizzes online. Your final assessment is an online test which you are observed completing by a Certified Proctor via a webcam in your computer.
There's no need to visit any classrooms or exam centres when you complete a CIFS course.