Temporary Events & Markets Permits
Temporary food premises and similar facilities at special events and food markets require approval under Provincial legislation.
Food preparation for public consumption must be done in a manner that prevents a health hazard from occurring. Following proper food handling procedures will help reduce the risks. Health reviews by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are necessary to minimize public health risks for events and markets.
What to expect
Temporary events and Temporary food markets have different definitions, and activities are permitted for each.
Temporary events are time-limited public gatherings such as fairs, festivals, seasonal holiday events, tradeshows, and fundraising events. Examples include:
- Music Festivals
- Richmond Night Market
- Tattoo shows
- Christmas Markets
These events have activities regulated by the health authority under the Public Health Act, including:
- Food vending
- Personal services
- Potable water systems and wastewater systems
- Activities that could result in the spread of communicable diseases
The person responsible for an event is an Event Coordinator, who is often required to submit an Event Coordinator Application Package. Home-prepared foods are not allowed at temporary events.
Activities exempt from regulations and guidelines:
- Family functions
- Workplace BBQs
- Club or society private gatherings in which food is prepared or served by voluntary caterers, limited to members of their own organization and invited guests.
Temporary food markets
Temporary Food Markets are farmers’ markets whose vendors grow, make, bake, raise, or wild harvest the products they sell at temporary venues. The sale of whole fruits or vegetables, or prepackaged non- potentially hazardous foods are allowed. Foods prepared at home are limited to lower risk foods as defined in the Provincial Guidelines for Sale of Foods at Temporary Food Markets
A Market Manager is required at markets. They must have a comprehensive understanding of the Provincial Guideline. A Market Manager ensures:
- Food vendors have obtained approval from the local health authority.
- Vendors do not sell higher risk foods (i.e. higher risk food prepared at an approved or permitted facility, shell eggs, raw meat etc.) unless they provide a valid Letter of Confirmation or a valid copy of their Permit to Operate or a recent inspection report.
- Vendors who process food on site or offer higher risk food samples for tasting must submit a Temporary Food Services Application for approval.
NOTE: Lower risk food sampling at farmer's markets does not require an application but must meet the requirements in the Guidelines linked above.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main difference between a Temporary Event and Temporary Food Market?
Temporary Events are time-limited public gatherings such as fairs, festivals, seasonal holiday events, tradeshows, and fund raising events. Home prepared foods are not allowed. An Event Coordinator is often required and is responsible to submit an Event Coordinator Application package.
Temporary Food Markets are farmers’ markets whose vendors grow, make, bake, raise or wild harvest the products they sell at temporary venues. Home prepared foods are limited to lower risk foods.
A Market Manager is required and is responsible to ensure all vendors meet the requirements of Provincial Guideline. If there is no Market Manager, it is not a Market and you cannot sell your lower risk home prepared foods there.
Refer to the Planning Guide for Temporary Events and Markets for details.
I make food from home – where can I sell my food?
Only lower risks foods prepared at home may be sold at farmers’ markets as defined in the Provincial Guideline for Sale of Foods at Temporary Food Markets. Home-prepared lower-risk foods are not allowed to be sold at Events. Use of residential kitchens to prepare higher risk foods are not allowed.
How do I know if the foods I prepare require health approval/permit?
All foods prepared and served for public consumption is regulated and require notification to the Health Authority. Find out which foods require a permit versus health approval by using the Temporary Event and Food Market Approval Interactive Tool.
Are there foods that can be sold/served that do not require a permit or FOODSAFE Level 1 certification?
Yes. They are:
- Commercially processed food products that are dispensed without further handling. Or
- Prepackaged commercially processed foods.
Notification to the local health office is required. Try the Temporary Event & Food Market Approval Interactive Tool, to find out what forms and approvals are needed.
When do I need to submit a Temporary Event Coordinator Application Package?
An Event Coordinator is required for events with 3 or more vendors. The Event coordinator must submit the application package at least 14 calendar days prior to the event. Page 4 of the Planning Guide will tell you what needs to be included in the application package.
Planning Guide for Temporary Events and Food Markets.
Event coordinator application form
Event vendor list template
Market manager application form
Farmers market vendor list template
Temporary food service application (operating 14 days or less)
Food Service application (operating more than 14 days)
Personal services at event application
Higher risk food at temporary food markets
Guideline for the sale of foods
Legionnaires' disease guide
Apply for a permit
Coordinators of temporary events and tradeshows are responsible for the services provided at these events. Submit the Coordinator's application and the Temporary Food Service applications collected from your vendors at least 14 days before the event. If an event does not have a coordinator, the vendor must submit their Temporary food Service application.
Not sure what you need to fill out? Try the Temporary Event & Food Market Approval Interactive Tool, to find out what forms and approvals are needed.
Documents, applications are in the Document section above.