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FOODSAFE Canada, What to Know and How to Get Certified

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FOODSAFE is a resource of the Province of British Colombia and is a food safety training program that instructs students on a wide array of food related safety issues.

The training program enables students to learn about food borne illness, food preparation safety, storing food, and serving food safely. The program offers courses for cooks, servers, and other restaurant employees, but also offers courses for management crews, business owners, executive chefs, and others who will handle food and areas where food is stored, prepared, or served.

In Canada, every person who owns a food establishment must obtain a certificate from a health official showing they have completed FOODSAFE or an equivalent program. The food establishment owner must also be able to show proof that in their absence, there is at least one other person in the business who has a certificate. For those in serving positions, it is not required by BC regulation, but many employers do insist that all employees hold a valid certificate to work in their establishment.

Anyone who works with food should take the course and test for certification as it not only teaches about food borne illness and how to prevent it, but it is also a good tool to use when applying for work in the food industry.

FOODSAFE is a great program for people working in the food industry including:

  • Restaurant Owners
  • Cooks, chefs, executive chefs
  • Servers
  • Dishwashers
  • Bus-Persons
  • Bartenders
  • Host/Hostess
  • Salad Prep and other food prep personnel
  • Deli Workers
  • Meat Cutters

Accessing the Course

You can access the course you need by completing it online or you can speak to your local Health Authority to find an instructor near you who offers classroom training and testing. You can take the course in the classroom and it will take 8 hours to complete. Cost can vary depending on where you choose to take the course, so be sure to check into your options ahead of time.

You can register for the online course by contacting The online course takes, on average, up to 20 days to complete depending on the time the student may have to spend on the course each day before completion.

You can also take correspondence courses by visiting go2HR. The cost of the course with this organization has a cost of $90.00 plus a $15.00 shipping and handling charge. They will send the workbook and DVD for lessons and the course must be completed within 6 months of the order.

Certificates can take up to six weeks for delivery via the mail. If you take the course and pass and your certificate takes longer, be sure to contact your local Health Authority to let them know.

You can check online to view your FOODSAFE Certification and Exam Results.

Why You Should Take the FOODSAFE Course

If you have plans to work in the food industry in any capacity at all, the FOODSAFE course is highly recommended. Here are a few key reminders on why the course is beneficial.

  • Learn to safely handle food
  • Learn about foodborne illnesses and how to prevent them
  • FOODSAFE certification can help with the hiring process
  • Required by regulation to have at least 1 employee per shift certified

Anyone working in a restaurant, deli, or other business where food is prepared and sold should obtain FOODSAFE certification. The certification will not only train you to know about food safety issues that can, and do arise in the food industry, but it can also assist you when you are searching for a job. For instance, if you and another equally qualified candidate vying for the same executive chef position but only one has the certificate showing they have passed the FOODSAFE exam, chances are that the one with certification will be hired.

Expiration and Re-Certification

FOODSAFE certification has a 5-year expiry date. This means that you will need to re-certify once every 5 years to keep your certification, as well as your knowledge of food safety, up to date. The refresher course is a 3-hour class and you will be required to pass with a score of no less than 80%.

Replacement certificates may be obtained by contacting your local Health Authority Office to let them know you have misplaced your original.

Interested in Becoming a FOODSAFE instructor?

For those interested in becoming an instructor for the FOODSAFE certification, you can file an application with the British Colombia Health Authorities by contacting your local Regional Health Authority.

While the FOODSAFE course and certification is not required for all staff in the food industry, it is an ideal resource to learn about all aspects of food safety. Whether you are a business owner working in the restaurant business or you want to find a job as a cook or server, you will find that having FOODSAFE certification will be a great benefit to your business and career path as well as helping ensure that food is handled safely for the public.



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