Food Premises Closures Due to Health Hazards

Image of a Closed sign on a window

In accordance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg 493/17), all food premises must operate in a manner that is free from health hazards.

A health hazard is defined as:

  • a condition of a premises,
  • a substance, thing, plant or animal other than human, or
  • a solid, liquid, gas, or combination of any of them, that has or that is likely to have an adverse effect on the health of any person.

If an immediate health hazard is identified by a Public Health Inspector (PHI), a legal order to eliminate the hazardous condition will be issued, under section 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order may require operators to immediately close all or part of the food premises, until the health hazard is decreased or eliminated.

Examples of health hazards that will result in a closure order include, but are not limited to:

  • No potable (drinkable) water
  • Evidence of current rodent and/or pest infestation
  • No hot water and/or running water
  • No power
  • Evidence of sewage back-up
  • Extremely unsanitary conditions that lead to food contamination
  • Evidence of fire, smoke, or water damage
  • Evidence of a food-borne illness or outbreak

If a closure order is issued for a food premises, the inspection report will be posted for public viewing on the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s disclosure website for two years. A closure sign may also be displayed at the entrance of the premises.

Food premises operators can prevent forced closures by ensuring that their premises are free from conditions that can affect the health of the public. If unsafe conditions arise (lack of water, electricity, etc.), operators are urged to be pro-active and voluntarily close the premises until the health hazard is decreased or eliminated. Voluntary closures are not disclosed on the health unit website. Operators are also encouraged to work closely with their PHI to learn more about the safe operations of food premises. 

For more information, please contact the Environmental Health Department at 519-258-2146, ext. 4475.