Province proposes new licensing fee system for restaurants

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Over the coming months, Prince Edward Island will be updating regulations to ensure the highest levels of food safety in food serving establishments.

A new licensing classification system has been proposed for all establishments on P.E.I. that make and sell food.

The Department of Health and Wellness has conducted a review of the Eating Establishments and Licensed Premises (EELP) Regulations which govern food safety within the province.

Ryan Neale, senior environmental health officer, says the changes have come in to make sure that the Island’s food safety requirements meet national standards and provide the necessary regulatory authority to ensure compliance with the regulations.

The new licensing fees reflect, as close as possible, licensing fees across the Maritimes.

“There hasn’t been a good review since 1979. The regulations themselves were rewritten,’’ Neale said.

The fees themselves haven’t been adjusted since being implemented in 2001.

Licensing fees have been adjusted from the old range of $25 to $100 to $37.50 to $150.

Class 1 now refers to operations primarily where food is consumed on site but also includes bakeries and supermarkets (Class 1A). These fees are $150 per year. A sub-category for smaller businesses with less than 25 seats will offer a lesser fee (Class 1B) of $75.

Class 2 refers primarily to operations where food is purchased for consumption off site. The fee is now $55 annually.

Class 3 covers short-term temporary food service operations from one to 10 days per year. The fee for that temporary event will now be $37.50. Class 3B multiple temporary events will run $55.

Class 4 refers to community/church halls and will not carry a licensing fee as is currently the case.

Neale said all establishments are being given a two-month grace period to get used to the new fee structure. That means no one will be penalized for operating without a valid licence through June 1.

“The amendments came at a time in March when people are ready to get their applications in. It would have been fairly rushed for them to understand all the changes and apply under the correct classification,’’ Neale said. “We just didn’t want to place that burden on operators. We wanted to give them the opportunity to contact us to discuss those amendments.’’

The department will still monitor food safety and flag any business found to be violating the rules.

The department indicates that even with the proposed change in fees they cover less than 30 per cent of the total cost of the province’s annual food safety program.

Neale said the new classes of licences reflect the primary functions of business.

For more information on the new regulations, go towww.gov.pe.ca/environmentalhealth.

Organizations: Department of Health and Wellness

Geographic location: Iceland

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