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City of Hamilton

Food Safety - Construction and Renovation Information for Food Premises Operators

Before a food premise can be constructed or renovated, the City of Hamilton must be notified.

Health Protection Branch
Public Health Inspection

Phone: 905-546-3570

City Building and Licencing Department
Phone: 905-546-2720

Food premises must comply with the Ontario Food Premise Regulation. The following guideline provides basic information you will need to obtain Health Protection Branch approval for your proposed food premises.


  • Floor and floor-coverings must be tight, smooth and non-absorbent (i.e. kitchen, storage area, washrooms, behind bar). Examples: vinyl flooring, ceramic tile.
  • Carpeting is allowed in dining area only.

Walls And Ceilings

  • Walls and ceilings must have an easily cleanable finish.
  • Acoustic tile is not acceptable in a food preparation area.
  • A painted surface must withstand frequent cleaning.


  • Ensure sufficient bright light in kitchen, preparation and storage areas to facilitate cleaning.
  • Food preparation area lighting must meet Ontario Building Code requirements enforced by the local Building Department.
  • Protective light covers are recommended for fluorescent lights.


  • Contact the City Building and Licensing Department for information about washroom requirements.
  • Washrooms must not open directly into any food processing, preparation, handling, distribution, selling, manufacturing or serving areas.
  • Paper (single use) towels and liquid soap in a dispenser for proper handwashing must be provided.


  • A separate handsink(s) must be conveniently located in each food preparation area supplied with paper towels and liquid soap in a dispenser.
  • A 3-compartment sink or an approved commercial dishwasher is required for cleaning/sanitizing multi-use utensils/dishware (forks, plates, etc.).
  • A separate 2-compartment sink is required where only single service utensils are provided for the service or sale of food.
  • If a commercial dishwasher is provided, a 2-compartment sink large enough to accommodate the largest pot/utensil should also be provided.
  • A separate mop sink is recommended.


  • All cooking equipment, dishwashing equipment and washrooms require mechanical ventilation vented to the outside.
  • Mechanical ventilation over cooking equipment must be equipped with exhaust fan, canopy, filters, etc.
  • Contact the City Building and Licencing Department and the City Fire Department for specific details.

Temperature And Storage

  • All refrigerators must be maintained at 4.4°C (40°F) or less and have accurate indicating thermometers that can be easily read.
  • Freezers must be maintained at -18° C (0° F).
  • Stainless steel or pre-finished shelves are recommended for food storage. Shelves must be at least 15cm (6") off the floor.


  • Commercial Dishwashers - All dishwashers must be provided with accurate temperature gauges. High temperature dishwashers must attain a temperature of 82° C (180° F) in the final rinse cycle. Low temperature dishwashers must be provided with approved sanitizing chemicals.
  • Sneeze Guards - Required for salad bars, steam tables, dessert carts etc. that are used in public areas.
  • Dipper Wells - If bulk ice cream is served, a running dipper-well for the scoop should be provided.

Exterior Garbage Storage

  • Garbage storage areas should be constructed of metal, treated wood, concrete or similar material that can be easily cleaned to prevent entry of insects and rodents.

Smoking in Public Places Bylaw

  • Ensure the premise complies with any current local Tobacco Bylaw.

Tobacco Control Act

  • Ensure the premise complies with the Provincial TCA. Information may be obtained by calling this office at (905) 546-3570.

Private Sewage Disposal

  • Contact your local building department to verify that the existing private sewage disposal system is acceptable. A permit may be required for a change of use, repair or construction of a new system.

Well Water

  • If private well water is to be used, ensure it is safe. Bacterial levels are safe when results are Total Coliform-0 and E.coli-0. Water sample bottles are available from this office.

Grease Trap

  • Consult with the building department for the location and size requirements of a grease trap.

Last updated: February 4, 2008