Understanding food safety laws
As a food business owner or manager, you need to be sure you comply with:
- Federal government food safety laws
- Yukon territorial food safety laws
- Local municipal legislation
If you fail to comply with Yukon food safety laws, you risk being fined, prosecuted or even having your business closed.
Federal and territorial laws
Health Canada is responsible for establishing policies and setting food safety standards for food businesses.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for enforcing these policies and standards.
The following are federal acts and regulations related to food safety in Canada:
- Food and Drugs Act
- Safe Food for Canadians Act
Note: The Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates the authorities of the Fish Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, which were repealed 15 January, 2019.
Territorial food safety laws are set by:
- Yukon Public Health Act
- Yukon Food Retail and Food Services Code
- Donation of Food Act
These laws require that food sold in the Yukon is safe and suitable for human consumption and meets all standards.
Permits and licences
To legally operate a food business in Yukon, owners must obtain a relevant permit.
Permits are issued by Yukon Environmental Services and determine the type of food that may be served and how it’s prepared.
Food Handler Certification
Yukon food safety legislation
Yukon’s Food Retail and Food Services Code (section 6) state that a food businesses operator should obtain government-approved Food Handler Certification and employ staff that have obtained Food Handler Certification.
At a minimum, Yukon food businesses should comply with the following legislation:
- All employees must be trained in food hygiene and be able to handle food in a safe and sanitary manner.
- For some managers/operators, training in a recognised food safety course may be mandatory.
- Operators should promote food safety education through ongoing training, which may include additional instruction, on-the-job training, food safety certification from a recognized program provider, and employee meetings.
The CIFS Food Handler Certification course is suitable for training Food Handlers in the Yukon.
Having your workforce complete a Food Handler Certification course helps ensure your business is never the cause of food poisoning.
Food Handler Certification should be renewed every five years.
Food safety inspections
Federal and territorial governments monitor food safety across Yukon. Be prepared for Inspectors to visit your business before its opening and then every four to six months after.
Inspectors have the authority to:
- enter your business at any time without notice
- examine any area and equipment in your business
- take samples of food or food contaminants
- issue warning notices and fines
- close your business immediately
What happens if I don’t comply?
If a food business fails to meet Yukon’s food safety requirements, the consequences are severe.
For serious offences, your Permit to Operate a Food Business may be suspended or revoked, closing your business immediately.
Each offence committed may result in fines totalling tens of thousands of dollars.
For serious breaches, employees, proprietors, managers and directors may be prosecuted.
In the Yukon, inspection results are available to the public.
When public health is at risk, your business may have food seized and destroyed.
Brand and reputation damage
Your business may struggle to recover its reputation if the media reports a food safety incident.