Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Check Before You Choose?

Check Before You Choose is a system created and maintained by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to share the results of local public health inspections. Inspection results are posted online. Establishment owners may also post signs, though this is voluntary.

What types of inspection reports appear on the Check Before You Choose website?

Reports from two types of inspected businesses are available on this website:

  • Food establishments: Includes restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores, banquet halls, catering kitchens, retirement homes/long-term care facilities, hospitals, childcare centre kitchens, mobile food vendors, and other businesses that offer food
  • Personal services settings ("PSS", also known as beauty and body art establishments): Businesses that offer personal care services such as hairstyling and barbering, tattooing, ear and body piercing, electrolysis, massage (other than Registered Massage Therapist [RMT] massage), manicures, pedicures, holistic services, and esthetics

We don't post inspection reports for special events, farmers' markets, or similar food establishments. If you would like to see inspection results from one of these events/businesses, call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753.

Why can't I find the business I'm searching for?

First, check your search terms for correct spelling and that they match the name of the business. There are also several reasons a business might not be listed:

  • The business is new and we haven't inspected it yet.
  • There's a new owner (inspections from previous owners are removed ) .
  • The business has changed its location and hasn't been inspected at the new location yet.
  • We're not yet aware of this business or that it is operating.
  • The business doesn't meet the criteria to be inspected by Public Health.
  • The establishment is a special event, farmers' market, or similar. These types of inspection results aren't posted online. To tell us about a new business or if you can't find a business you think should be listed, call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753.

How often is the website updated?

New inspection results are added every day. Once inspection results are posted they stay online for two years, unless there is a new owner. If there is a new owner inspection reports from the previous owner are removed.

What does public health look for during an inspection?

Food establishments: Public health check whether businesses comply with Ontario Regulation 562 - Food Premises under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA).

Inspector look for:

  • Food storage temperatures (hot and cold)
  • Cooking, reheating, and cooling times
  • Employee personal hygiene
  • Food production methods and procedures
  • Flow of food through receiving, storage, preparation, and service
  • Dish/equipment washing and sanitizing procedures
  • Pest control
  • Methods of garbage collection, holding, and disposal
  • Cleanliness of floors, walls, ceilings, equipment, and other surfaces
  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)

Personal services settings: Public Health check whether businesses comply with:

  • The Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Personal Services Settings as mandated by the Ontario Public Health Standards
  • The Infection Prevention and Control in Personal Services Settings Protocol (PDF) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA)

We look for:

  • Cleaning and disinfection of reusable instruments
  • Sterilization of instruments or jewellery intended to pierce the skin
  • Safe disposal of sharps (scalpels, needles, lancets, etc.)
  • Proper disposal of single-use (disposable) items (e.g., disposable nail files, buffer blocks, wax applicators)
  • Cleanliness of floors, walls, ceilings, equipment, and other surfaces
  • Whether verbal and written aftercare information is given, where applicable
  • Management of blood-borne exposures
  • Methods of preventing the spread of disease
  • Hand hygiene

How often are facilities inspected?

We may inspect businesses more often than the routine inspections described below to:

  • Respond to a public complaint
  • Follow up on infractions (violations) from the initial inspection Food establishments are inspected between one and three times per year. The number of routine inspections depends on:
  • Type and volume of food served
  • Type of population served (e.g., general public vs. elderly)
  • Number of food preparation steps
  • Amount of food handling
  • History of food-borne illness and compliance with Ontario Regulation 562 - Food Premises under the Health Protection and Promotion Act

Personal services settings are inspected once a year.

Is a business given advance notice of an inspection?

We don't tell business when their inspections will be. In exceptional cases, such as when a business doesn't have regular hours or if a business is located in a private home, we may schedule an inspection.

What's the difference between a critical and non-critical infraction?

For food establishments: Critical infractions are violations that could lead to food-borne illness. Most must be corrected at the time of inspection. An example is not cooking food to the minimum temperature needed to kill harmful bacteria. Non-critical infractions are violations that are not likely to result in food-borne illness. They do not represent an immediate risk to public health. An example is a food handler not confining their hair while handling or preparing food.

For personal services settings: Critical infractions are violations that may pose an infection risk to the personal service worker or the client. Most must be corrected at the time of inspection. An example is not cleaning and disinfecting a reusable instrument (e.g., nail clippers or scissors) that has or may come into contact with blood or broken skin. Non-critical infractions are violations that are not likely to result in an infection. They do not represent an immediate risk to public health. An example is when a work area doesn't have adequate lighting.

What happens if an infraction is found during an inspection?

After a routine inspection, the operator must correct infractions (violations) as soon as possible. Public Health staff may follow up with a second inspection, known as a re-inspection, depending on how severe the infraction is. Where there is a critical infraction, we re-inspect within 72 hours (3 business days). For infractions that don't pose an immediate risk to the public, we often follow up at the next routine inspection. If an operator doesn't correct all critical infractions by the first re-inspection, we may take legal action. Serious infractions that pose an immediate threat to public health may result in an establishment being closed or Public Health issuing a legal order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA).

What should I do if I think I have food poisoning? Or an infection from a personal services setting?

Call us at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753. We'll ask you about your symptoms and the food you ate or the service provided. The information you provide will be kept confidential. Your answers will help us determine if there is a problem with the establishment. For medical advice, talk to your doctor or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

What should I do if I have a question or complaint about a business?

For a food establishment:

  • Call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753

For a personal services setting:

  • Call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752