Food Service Permits & Health Approvals

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two chefs in a kitchen

The primary goal of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) is to ensure food premises maintain a high standard of food safety and sanitation, as well as to protect the health of the public. EHOs facilitate the process of issuing permits and granting health approvals required for operating food premises. This includes reviewing documentation, conducting assessments, and ensuring compliance with health regulations.

How to apply for health approval or a food service permit

Every operator of a food service establishment must have a valid annual permit. Food service establishments include restaurants, take-outs, caterers and mobile food service providers. The annual permit is not transferrable to a new owner, and is not transferable to a temporary event. 

To receive health approval for operating a food premises, operators must submit proper documentation and fulfill certain requirements. An EHO will conduct an on-site inspection of the food premises to assess if the construction has been completed according to the approved floor plan, and compliance with food safety and sanitation standards. The inspection may cover areas such as food storage, temperature control, cleanliness of food contact surfaces and equipment, hand washing facilities, waste management and pest control measures.

The following items must be submitted for an EHO’s review prior to the initial inspection for health approval.

  1. Floor Plan Review
    • Floor plans must be reviewed and approved by VCH prior to the beginning of construction. This applies to premises that are new, under renovation, or needing alterations to be brought up to current VCH requirements.
      For more information on plan review requirements for food premises, please see the Food Premises Orientation package for new operators
  2. Application Form
    • Submit a Food Service Permit Application Form for food service establishments such as restaurants, caterers, and mobile food service providers. Food service establishments are facilities where foods are processed (such as cooking, reheating, freezing) and intended for immediate consumption.
      Permit Fees will be processed at the time of approval.
    • Submit a Non-Permitted Facility Application Form for food stores, food processors or non-processors, e.g., cold food storage warehouses.
      Permit fees: none
  3. Certificate of Incorporation (if applicable)
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Provide a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation for corporately owned premises.
  4. Menu
    • ​​​​​​​Provide a list of menu items including ingredients and processes for foods and beverages being prepared, packaged and served.
  5. Food Safety Plan and Sanitation Plan
    • ​​​​​​​Submit your Food Safety Plan and Sanitation plan for review.  These plans are to be developed and implemented for all permitted food service establishments and food processors.  Templates for food service establishments can be found under VCH Food Premises Orientation package.  Additional templates for food processors can be found under Food Safety & Sanitation plans on the BC Provincial Government website.
  6. FOODSAFE Level 1 Certificate (or equivalent)
    • ​​​​​​​Every owner/operator of a food service establishment must hold a valid FOODSAFE Level 1 Certificate (or its equivalent).  When the owner/operator is away, at least one employee must hold this certification. For more information on FOODSAFE training, please visit


Mobile food premises can include food trucks, vehicles or carts from which food is prepared, processed and/or served to the public.  Learn more about the design, construction and operational requirements of mobile food premises at BCCDC Mobile Food Guidelines.

Submit a copy of the Mobile Commissary Agreement to indicate specific commissary access and include details of the location, procedures for filling water tanks, and procedures for disposing of waste water in your sanitation plan.

For more resources on food safety, regulations and guidelines, visit the Resources page.

Application forms

    • Food service permit application form

    • Non-permitted facility application form

      NOTE: Operators of non-permitted food premises, such as food stores and food manufacturers must obtain an approval to operate.

    • Mobile food premises guidelines

    • Commissary or servicing area agreement

      For mobile food premises

    • Guidance for commissary owners and operators

Documents for temporary events

For more resources on food safety, regulations, and guidelines, visit the Food Safety Resources page.

Find this service near you

  • Community health centres

    Food Safety Program at Central Community Health Centre

    132 West Esplanade North Vancouver
  • Community health centres

    Food Safety Program at Gibsons Health Unit

    821 Gibsons Way Gibsons
  • Food Safety Program at qathet General Hospital

    5000 Joyce Ave, Third floor Powell River
  • Other

    Food Safety Program at Richmond Place – 8100 Granville Avenue

    8100 Granville Avenue Richmond
  • Community health centres

    Food Safety Program at Sechelt Health Unit

    PO Box 1040, 5571 Inlet Avenue Sechelt
  • Community health centres

    Food Safety Program at Squamish Community Health Centre

    1140 Hunter Place Squamish
  • Environmental health & inspections offices

    Food Safety Program at West Broadway

    12th floor, suite 1200, 601 West Broadway Vancouver
  • Community health centres

    Food Safety Program at Whistler Health Care Centre

    4380 Lorimer Road Whistler