Food Safety

Environmental Health Officers conduct more than 7,000 inspections of restaurants, food facilities and stores annually.  We also educate food handlers and consumers about safe food handling practices.

View inspection reports for food facilities on Vancouver Island.

Opening a Restaurant, Mobile Food Unit or other Food Premises?

For specific requirements on opening a restaurant, check out the Opening a Food Service Establishment (pdf) brochure.  Under the Food Premises Regulation, any person wishing to operate a food premises must first obtain approval from the health authority.  To apply for approval, an application accompanied by the plans and specifications, for the food premises must be submitted for review and approval, to the local Health Protection Office PRIOR to construction.

Application packages must include

  • Application for a Food Facility (pdf)
  • A set of floor plans and equipment specifications;
  • A copy of the FOODSAFE Certificate or equivalent for the operator;
  • food safety plan and sanitation plan
  •  Permit fee.

Once ready to open, the Environmental Health Officer will conduct a pre-opening inspection and, upon compliance with the Food Premises Regulation, approval will be issued.


Every operator of a food service establishment must hold a certificate for the successful completion of FOODSAFE or equivalent, and while the operator is absent, at least one employee present must hold a valid FOODSAFE certificate.  Find a FOODSAFE course near you.  If you require a replacement FOODSAFE Certificate please call 250.737.2017 or email foodsafe@viha.ca

Temporary Food Service/Special Events

Individuals wishing to prepare and sell food at public events are required to fill out an  Application to Operate a Temporary Food Service  (pdf) application.

Farmers Markets and other Temporary Food Markets

Individuals wishing to sell lower risk food items at farmers markets and other temporary food markets, as well as Market Managers, should familiarize themselves with the Guidelines for Temporary Food Markets.  Those wishing to sell higher risk food items at temporary food markets are required to complete an Application for Sale of Higher Risk Food at Temporary Food Markets (pdf) and submit it to the local Health Protection Office.

Food Recalls and Alerts

A current list of recalls can be found at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)