Health Operating Permit

This page provides information on applying for a health operating permit, which all food service businesses in B.C. must have. These are issued by health authorities.

Note that the name of this permit may vary by health authority.

If you are unsure of your regional health authority, please visit the B.C. Government’s Map of Regional Health Authorities.


Apply for a health operating permit

Contact: Your health authority
Timeline: Varies

To obtain your health operating permit, you will need to submit an application to your health authority.

Required supporting documents may include:

  • Floor plans or construction plans for approval (see below)
  • A food safety plan
  • A sanitation plan
  • Proof of FOODSAFE Level I certification (or equivalent)
  • A copy of your menu
  • Any additional information required by your Environmental Health Officer (EHO)

As part of the application process, you will also need to arrange for an inspection(s) with your EHO. For more details on health inspections, see below.

Requirements and process may vary slightly by health authority. Visit your health authority’s website for more information on the application process:

Submit floor plans or construction plans

Contact: Your Environmental Health Officer (EHO)
Timeline: From 3 to 90 days

Before you begin any kitchen construction or renovations, you must obtain written approval of your floor plans from an Environmental Health Officer (from your health authority).

You must submit plans if you are:

  • Constructing a new food service establishment
  • Altering an existing food service establishment
  • Converting a non food service establishment into a food service establishment

If you are not sure if you need to submit construction plans, contact your Environmental Health Officer.


Health inspections

Contact: Your health authority
Timeline: Varies by region

The application process includes an inspection by an Environmental Health Officer from your health authority.

This inspection confirms renovations have been done according to approved plans. It will also ensure that your kitchen design and practices ensure safe food handling.

You must have a copy of your approved kitchen plans onsite for your final inspection.

If any issues are found during this inspection, you may be asked to make changes to your kitchen and schedule a follow-up inspection.

Grease Interceptors (Grease Traps)

Contact: Your regional district

Commercial kitchens whose wastewater contains fat, oils and grease are required to have a properly installed and maintained grease interceptor. A grease interceptor (or grease trap) is a device that separates fats, oils and grease from wastewater and stops it from entering the sewer system.

For more information about the requirements for grease interceptors in your area, check with your regional district.