This article has been written by Kezia Shaji, pursuing the Diploma in Cyber Law, FinTech Regulations and Technology Contracts from LawSikho. This article has been edited by Smriti Katiyar (Associate, Lawsikho).
Home-based food makers have gained a lot of popularity and are in demand for quite some time now. It could be an apple pie which is a speciality of a particular family and they have been passing the recipe of the dish on from one generation to another. People usually make them and send a share of it to their neighbours but that wasn’t necessarily for money. The COVID 19 left a lot of people with almost nothing and they had to find ways to not end up on the streets. These passionate housewives and others who would want to make some money to save their family and loved ones from the wrath of poverty and their situation were considered by the Canadian government and they relaxed the rules regarding starting an online kitchen that sells homemade food products. A lot of people love the taste of a traditional family recipe and want to bring the taste of the dish to the world, Canada was not a very encouraging place for it until recently. The Ministry of Small business and red tape reduction recently relaxed the rules for people who want to sell their home-cooked food. This can be done without fulfilling all the criteria that are laid down to commercial restaurants. The laws were relaxed to help local entrepreneurs to make some money amidst dealing with the wrath of the pandemic.
The pandemic has changed the ordinary course of the world and brought everything upside down. Earlier for anyone who wanted to sell their homemade food through the virtual space, they were required to obtain a license, regardless of how big or small the quantity of the orders. In the vent of the pandemic, a lot of them lost their jobs and were put through financial constraints. This is when the government decided to relax the regulations pertaining to selling food through an online kitchen in Canada. Prabmeet Sarkaria, the associate minister of small business and red tape reduction said in a news release that the relaxed rules will serve as a platform for people who would want to turn their passion into a successful business. The rules regarding purchasing alcohol have also been loosened and now one could even sell liquor along with the food on a take-away food item. However, the new rules are only applicable to a limited category of food.
What are the new relaxed rules?
While a typical commercial restaurant would have a lot of rules and regulations that need to be followed, home-based kitchens have fewer restrictions. The major highlights of the new relaxed rules and regulations for opening an online kitchen in Canada are as follows:
- The new relaxed rules paves way for the food prepared in residential setups to go mainstream.
- People involved in the preparation process must follow all the FPR (Food Premises Regulation) and HPPA (Health Protections and Promotion Act) guidelines.
- Public health inspectors need to inspect the premises where food is being prepared.
- You can sell only a limited category of food which is “low-risk” and “non-hazardous” food products which do not require any time or temperature control.
- The permitted category of food products include bread and bun items with no fillings, pickles, jams, chocolates, cookies, brownies and muffins that require no frosting or refrigerator, granola, preserves, hard candies, tea leaves and coffee bags.
- Home kitchens will not have to abide by the commercial dishwashing requirements such as having a separate sink just for the handwash.
- Home kitchens that function online do not require the food-handler training or certification anymore which was a mandate earlier.
Many public health inspectors have been assigned to conduct inspections in the premises of the place where food is being prepared in order to keep a check on the quality standards.
Impact on other food businesses
The major concern that surrounds the rules that have been relaxed for opening online kitchens in Canada is whether these relaxed restrictions would be fair to the smaller businesses that are certified. Although this wouldn’t affect the larger businesses the smaller ones are put at risk due to the high insurance costs, higher rents that they have to pay and also take care of the employee’s wages and the other benefits which would create a lot of overhead expenses which wouldn’t be very profitable to small business owners. Their business which is running on small profit margins will be affected significantly if the home-based cooks can sell their products for a cheaper rate. The question is whether the people residing in a particular locality would appreciate cars using their streets when others go to home business owners to buy products from them. While ideally it is preferred that all food businesses whether small or large scale make good profits without compromising on their quality standards.
It is no secret that the food prepared in a residential set-up has always had some sort of demand and to cater to that, there has always been an underground market. The huge commercial food setups will not be affected much by these rules. While the new rules have definitely enabled homemakers to earn money by selling their speciality dishes and bringing them out to the world, this has given the small business owners a huge blow. A lot of such small businesses that started from home have made it big while a lot of them are still struggling to scale their business up. The rules were relaxed primarily with an intention to reduce and eventually eliminate the evil of red tape. This is a good initiative taken by the government until home-based food operations abide by the requirements and sell quality food products keeping the health of their fellow beings in mind. If that is the case, then no doubt they will be able to earn a few thousand dollars. This step taken by the Canadian government serves as an example and hopefully, other countries too would encourage such efforts of home-makers and pave the way for them to be self-reliant in all possible ways.
Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skills.
LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals, and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join: