Food Handler Certification in Canada
In Canada, food businesses are governed by the Health Promotion and Protection Act of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. All Ontario food business that are classified as high and medium risk are required to have members of their staff trained and certified in safe food handling practices. Technically speaking, food service workers in Canada are not legally obliged to receive food safety training – however, food business are. A food business cannot operate if it doesn’t have a certified staff member present and on duty during all business hours (or times when food is being handled).
How Food Safety Affects Society
According to national health statistics in Canada, there are more than four million Canadians affected by foodborne illness throughout the year. Over two million people all over the world die each year because of complications of diarrhea. These statistics are worrying because foodborne illness is ridiculously easy to prevent. All food businesses are responsible for keeping the food production process safe for workers and consumers – meaning their final products are safe for public consumption.
Despite legislations, a lot of food businesses operate without completing their requirements for a health permit. When these operations send out unsafe food into the market, it increases the risk of wide spread foodborne illness (colloquially termed “food poisoning”).
Food Safety in the Home
In our food handler training course, we emphasize that a student does not need to work in food service to take the class. Everyone is a food handler. Whether you prepare food for yourself or your family, it is your responsibility to practice safe food handling. Food that is safe when bought can become contaminated if stored or prepared improperly in your home. Windsor First Aid offers basic and advanced food handler courses; you can enroll in the one that suits your need and interests.
Food Handler Courses
Food Handler Level 1 targets people who directly handle food. In a food business, that means servers, cooks, dishwashers, and cashiers. The course curriculum targets both skills and knowledge in safe food handling. It focuses on topics such as personal health and workplace sanitation. It runs for eight hours, over several classroom sessions in one day.
Food Handler Level 2 is targeted towards the managerial staff of a food business. Staff members with managerial capacities are responsible for running the business and managing the rest of the staff. With this in mind, level 2 curriculum topics focus on the need-to-know when operating a food facility – health permits, in-house staff training on food safety, work flow in the facility, etc.
Windsor First Aid Credentials
Like other food handler certificates offered in Canada, Windsor First Aid credentials expire after five years. However, students no longer need to retake the eight hour training program to receive a new credential. Food handler refresher courses are available, shorter in program length compared to the full training course. A certified trainee may choose to take the refresher course earlier than five years – it is up to you when you feel like you need updated training.