Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

On this website, the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) provides you access to inspection reports for many facilities and premises in Brantford and Brant County that are inspected by its public health inspectors. These include:

  • Personal Service Settings (e.g.: barber shops, hair salons, and tattoo and piercing shops).
  • Recreational Water Facilities (e.g.: pools, hot tubs, water parks, splash pads).
  • General food service establishments (g.: restaurants, bars, cafeterias, delis, butcher shops, grocery stores, banquet halls, catering kitchens).
  • Mobile food service premises (g.: hot dog carts, catering vehicles, French fry trucks).

The Health Unit does not provide inspection reports for special events, farmers' markets, licensed before and after school child care programs, shelters, or school nourishment programs.

How do the inspection reports benefit me and the community?

The inspection reports that are available to you will help you make informed decisions on: where to eat, what tattoo shop to visit, where to get your next piercing, where to go for your next haircut or spa treatment, and what is the general condition of public pools and hot tubs in the area.

As a part of our commitment to transparency and to make inspection results more accessible, the Health Unit uses continuous quality improvement (CQI) processes to improve our inspection program. CQI is a tool for improving the operations of an organization with the end result of delivering improved services to clients. Using CQI ensures we carefully examine our program, identify areas for improvement, and adjust and enhance services accordingly.

What does the onsite certificate of inspection signage tell me?

A green certificate of inspection sign displayed in the window means that, on the date of the inspection, the minimum standards of the regulation were met, as well as the City of Brantford and the County of Brant Food Disclosure Bylaw requirements for food establishments.

A red CLOSED sign is given to an operator of a food establishment when the Public Health Inspector has observed that an immediate health hazard exists. The food establishment is required to post this sign at the entrance. A Public Health Inspector will remove the CLOSED sign if the health hazard(s) has been removed or corrected.

Why do I see signs in some food establishments but not in others?

Signage will be given to establishments by public health inspectors, and will reflect the last inspection date. A premise may not have a sign on display as the sign is voluntary to post. In addition, establishments such as those considered seasonal, may not have their signage posted until they open in 2015.

The Food Disclosure Bylaw of both municipalities require that a disclosure sign be posted at entrances to public establishments that are inspected. Food premises that present a low risk of causing a foodborne illness are not issued the disclosure sign.

What do the online reports tell me?

The online inspection reports only describe the conditions of the establishment on the date of inspection and do not guarantee the conditions of the premises at all times. The online report will tell you the establishment name, location, type of food establishment, type of inspection and will detail whether any areas of non-compliance were found during the inspection. Both critical and non-critical infractions will be listed. It may detail whether issue(s) identified by the Public Health Inspector were corrected during the inspection and whether follow up was required? It will also show any legal actions taken.

What does "No results to show" mean?

It means that an inspection was completed and no infractions or problems were found at the time of the inspection

What does "non-compliance" mean?

It means that the safety requirement listed on the report has not been satisfied and infraction(s) have been recorded.

What does “infraction” mean?

An ‘infraction’ refers to when an establishment fails to meet a legal requirement. Other terms that mean the same thing are “violation,” “contravention” or “offense”.

What does "corrected during inspection" (CDI) mean?

It means that an infraction was found during an inspection and the operator was able to correct it immediately, without needing a re-inspection.

What is the difference between a critical and non-critical infraction?

Critical infractions are infractions (violations) that present a high risk for a health hazard to be present. Most critical infractions must be corrected at the time of inspection or, an acceptable measure must temporarily be in place to ensure that the hazard is controlled. An example of a critical infraction is not cooking food at the internal temperatures required to kill harmful bacteria.

Non-critical infractions (violations) present a low to moderate risk for a health hazard to be present. An example of a non-critical infraction is a food handler not wearing a hair restraint while handling food.

Why can’t I see why a charge was laid against an establishment?

At this time we are not able to post online details of charges laid against an establishment. If you see that a ticket or summons was issued in the “Actions Taken” section of an inspection report and you are interested in understanding more details about those action(s) please call us at 519-753-4937 ext. 470 for more information.

Is the website always up-to-date?

Inspection reports are uploaded daily and online results are posted within a few business days.

I can't find a specific food establishment's inspection report online.
What should I do?

If you are searching for a food establishment, first review our list of inspected facilities above, or double check your search criteria (e.g. proper spelling, address, and municipality).

There may be times when you are unable to find a report. We are working diligently to ensure that the full inventory of reports is available, and encourage you to contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 470 if you are unable to find what you're looking for.

How long are inspection results available online?

Inspection results will be available online for three years. When an establishment closes, their results are removed. When there is a new owner, only results since the new owner started are available online.

What does a Public Health Inspector look for during a food inspection?

Some of the areas that public health inspectors check during inspections of food establishments include:

  • Temperatures that foods are stored at (hot and cold).
  • Cooking, reheating, and cooling times and temperatures.
  • Employee personal hygiene.
  • Flow of food through receiving, storage, preparation, and service.
  • Dish equipment washing and sanitizing procedures.
  • Food sources – where foods are brought in from.
  • Pest control.
  • How garbage is collected, contained, and disposed.
  • Cleanliness of floors, walls, ceilings, equipment, and other surfaces.

How often are establishments inspected?

The frequency that public pools are inspected is at least four times per year. Personal service settings are inspected at least once per year. Food premises are inspected at a minimum of one to three times a year and this inspection is based on several factors including:

  • Type and volume of food served.
  • Type of population served (e.g.: general public, children, and seniors).
  • Length of time they are open in a calendar year (a seasonal restaurant may only need to be inspected once if they are only open from May to August).
  • Number of food preparation steps and the amount of food handling.
  • History of foodborne illnesses and compliance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation, 562.

Does the operator of an establishment know when an inspector is coming?

The majority of inspections are unannounced and carried out without notice. In addition, inspections may occur as the result of a complaint, or, in the case of food establishments, a suspected foodborne illness or a food recall. In rare instances, such as when an establishment doesn't have regular operating hours, an inspection may be scheduled.

When would a Public Health Inspector close an establishment?

An inspector may close a food premises if he/she believes an immediate health hazard exists, as defined under Section 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. An establishment may be closed for the following reasons:

  • foodborne illness outbreak
  • no potable water (not suitable for drinking)
  • no power source
  • sewage backup
  • unsanitary conditions
  • insect or rodent infestation
  • heat, smoke or water damage

What should I do if I think I have a foodborne illness from a restaurant or want to make a complaint about a food establishment, recreational water facility or personal service setting?

Please contact a public health inspector at 519-753-4937 ext. 470 or submit your complaint by email at EnvironmentalHealth@bchu.org. The information you provide will be kept confidential and is not shared with the owner, operator, or any employee of an establishment.