Government Roles and Responsibilities for Food Safety in Ontario

There are three provincial ministries who are primarily responsible for food safety:

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)), as the lead ministry, is responsible for dairy and meat inspection programs, key components of the Ontario Food Safety System.

OMAFRA also administers and enforces a number of statutes established to minimize food safety risks and promote the orderly marketing of various commodities produced in Ontario. Standards may include the production, quality, composition, safety, grading, packaging, labelling, advertising and sale of a product, as well as facility and operating standards for:

  • dairy farms and dairy processing plants
  • abattoirs, the slaughter of animals and primary processing of meat
  • horticulture, including fruits and vegetables and honey
  • eggs and livestock
  • edible oil products

Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) is responsible for the protection of public health and sets food safety standards and policies for food premises. It has the power to condemn food. Its role in food safety inspection is delegated to the 36 public health units (see Municipal Government).

Natural Resources (MNR) is responsible for food safety for fish and fish plant inspection for products harvested and offered for sale in Ontario.


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