QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario is removing unnecessary barriers for food banks, not-for-profit organizations and charities involved in food donation and community feeding to make it easier to help people in need.
The Ontario government is proposing to allow organizations like Agape Centre in Cornwall that serve low risk foods like fresh fruit and pre-packaged items to operate without industrialized cleaning equipment meant for restaurants and a certified food-handler onsite. Currently, Ontario doesn’t distinguish between fast-food chain restaurants and the various not-for-profit soup kitchens, after-school programs and new and innovative food rescue and delivery organizations which operate in schools, community centres, churches, mosques, temples and synagogues.
“The province has many important regulations to support the health and safety of all Ontarians, which remains our key priority,” said Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “However, some rules are unnecessarily burdensome on not-for-profit and charitable organizations that help support people and families in our communities with food insecurities. Our proposed changes are a direct response to the needs of these organizations. Food banks and charities should spend their time and resources helping those in need.”
The proposed changes will ensure these organizations are preparing food safely while exempting them from requiring:
- A set number of hand-washing stations;
- A two or three compartment sink for cleaning utensils or commercial mechanical dishwasher; and
- At least one food handler or supervisor on site.
The proposed exemption is part of Ontario’s thoughtful and targeted approach to reduce regulatory burdens across several sectors, including farming, trucking, construction, health care and restaurants. It will provide direct benefits to people in their everyday lives, while also making it easier to do business, create jobs and grow wages.