Is it Time to Renew Your Food Business Licence or Permit?

Manitoba, PEI and New Brunswick’s food business licences and permits expire every year on March 31.
Is it Time to Renew Your Food Business Licence or Permit?
February 28, 2022

It’s part of a food business owner’s responsibilities to understand the laws and regulations related to operating their establishment, and a part of the requirements is following business licence requirements. In Manitoba, PEI and New Brunswick, a food business licence or permit expires every March 31 and must be renewed.

Learn more about the renewal requirements for these provinces, and if you haven’t renewed your licence yet, here’s your reminder to get started!


According to the Food and Food Handling Establishments Regulation under the Public Health Act, a permit to operate a food service establishment or a mobile food unit expires every year on March 31. These establishments’ definitions are as follows:

  • Food service establishment: Any place where food is prepared or provided for consumption in individual portions, not including food processing plants or retail food stores
  • Mobile food unit: A vehicle-mounted food service establishment that’s able to be readily moved, and returns to a central commissary or other fixed food service establishment after daily operations

A permit is not required for food handling establishments that only sell low-risk foods or establishments where the sanitation and food safety requirements are regulated by the federal government or an agency of the federal government, a municipality or another Act of the Legislature. However, a permit may still be needed if, in the opinion of the director, the exemption is likely to create a public health risk.

Permits must be posted in a prominent place within the food handling establishments, and permits are not transferable between establishments or persons.

Learn more about Manitoba’s food handling establishment health permit requirements and use this form to renew your permit.

Prince Edward Island

In Prince Edward Island, food premises must have a valid licence to operate, prepare and serve food to the public at any location. This includes farmer’s markets, supermarkets, fundraising events, canteens, craft fairs and home-based food and catering services.

The food premises licence expires every March 31 and must be renewed each year. Exemptions are permitted for food premises owned, operated or leased by non-profit organizations, religious organizations and service clubs that only serve low-risk foods.


Renewing your licence is easy and can be completed in less than 20 minutes! To renew your licence:

  • Submit the licence application and fee;
  • include information detailing any changes to the business operations since the existing licence was issued;
  • include a recent bacterial water sample report for any premise connected to a private water supply; and
  • include proof that the licence holder (or another employee in their absence) has completed a Food Handler Certification Course.

You should receive a printed copy of your renewed licence within approximately two weeks of submitting your renewal application if submitted in the same year that the current licence expires.

Learn more about PEI’s food premises licence requirements and renew your licence here.

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, food premises must comply with the New Brunswick Food Premises Regulation and must have a food premises licence issued by the New Brunswick Health Protection Services division. This licence expires every year on March 31 unless revoked or suspended.

The classes of food premises in the province are:

  • Class 3 food premises: a food premises where potentially hazardous food is stored, handled, displayed, distributed, sold or offered for sale of food without any processing or preparing on the premises
  • Class 4 food premises: a food premises where food is prepared or processed without killing or pasteurizing or, if meat or fish is being prepared or processed, without thermal processing, and food is for sale and consumed on or off the premises but is not distributed wholesale
  • Class 5 food premises: a food premises where food is processed for direct sale or wholesale, or where food is prepared for wholesale distribution


For renewals of a food premises licence in New Brunswick, a “Renewal Notice” is required. This notice should have been sent to the organization or individual indicated in the original application for a food premises licence. Those who don’t have this document should contact their local Health Protection Services office.

Depending on your food business and class of food premises, your licence renewal may be subject to a renewal fee. Learn more about the application and renewal process, including required documentation, using the province’s Application Guide - Food Premises Licence.

Food Handler Certification is a requirement!

Don’t miss out on crucial documentation needed as part of your renewal application — including Food Handler Certification! Each province has its own specific requirements when it comes to food safety training.

  • Manitoba: In Winnipeg, the person in charge of a food business must get their Food Handler Certification from an approved training program. When there are more than five employees working on premises, one supervisor or manager who has their Food Handler Certification should be present during all operating hours.
  • Prince Edward Island: The holder of a food business licence in PEI must complete a Food Handler Certification course, and when the licence holder is away from the business premises, at least one employee with Food Handler Certification must be present.
  • New Brunswick: The manager of a Class 4 food premises must have their Food Handler Certification and there must be at least one Certified Food Handler present in food preparation areas at all times when food is being prepared.

The best way to ensure that you have the proper documentation — and to avoid costly fines if your business does not meet these minimum requirements — is to train everyone who handles food in your business in safe food-handling practices. Not only will your business always meet certification requirements, but having Food Handlers properly trained in food safety will help your business avoid food-borne illness incidents and outbreaks!

The Canadian Institute of Food Safety’s (CIFS) Food Handler Certification Course is nationally recognized and provides the comprehensive food safety training your whole team needs. Get in touch with us today to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the specific penalties for operating a food business without a renewed licence or permit in Canadian provinces?

The penalties for operating a food business without a renewed licence or permit vary by province in Canada. Generally, these can include fines, closure of the business until compliance is achieved, and in some cases, legal action.

Specifics of these penalties are usually detailed in provincial health and business regulations, and it is important for business owners to familiarize themselves with the laws applicable in their respective provinces to avoid such penalties.

How do the requirements for renewing a food business licence or permit differ for mobile food units versus stationary food establishments?

The requirements for renewing a food business licence or permit can differ between mobile food units and stationary food establishments, primarily due to the nature of their operations. Mobile units often face additional regulations related to vehicle safety, location permits, and sanitation facilities that are specific to the transient nature of their business.

In contrast, stationary establishments might deal more with building codes, permanent facility requirements, and local zoning laws. Each type of establishment must comply with food safety standards, but the specifics can vary based on their operational model.

Can the process of renewing a food business licence or permit be expedited if it is close to the expiration date, and if so, how?

In some jurisdictions, the process of renewing a food business licence or permit can be expedited if it is close to the expiration date. This typically involves submitting an application through expedited channels, which might require additional fees.

Business owners should check with their local licensing authority for specific procedures, including any fast-track options and the necessary requirements to qualify for expedited processing.