How do I know if my certificate is expired?

At present only FOODSAFE Level 1 certification has an expiry date. There is no expiry date for FOODSAFE Level 2 or MarketSafe.

In 2013 the Centre for Disease Control issued a press release announcing that all FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates have a five year expiration date. Certificates issued before July 29, 2013 would expire on July 29, 2018. A follow-up press release was issued on December 7, 2017 and a number of activities were done by Health Authorities, the FOODSAFE Secretariat and other stakeholders to disseminate news of the upcoming expiry date.

If your certificate was issued before July 29, 2013 it has now expired. To recertify you can take the FOODSAFE Refresher course online or FOODSAFE Level 1 online, in-person or by distance/correspondence.

If your certificate was issued after July 29, 2013 the expiry date is indicated on your certificate. To recertify you can take the FOODSAFE Refresher course online or FOODSAFE Level 1 online, in-person or by distance/correspondence.

How will expired certification affect my work (paid or volunteer) related to food preparation and serving?

The BC Public Health Act: Food Premises Regulation, Part 3, Division 2 - Training, FOODSAFE Training 10 states that:

  1. Every operator of a food service establishment must hold a certificate, issued by a health official, for the successful completion of the food handler training program known as FOODSAFE or its equivalent.
  2. Every operator of a food service establishment must ensure that, while the operator is absent from the food service establishment, at least one employee present in the establishment holds the certificate referred to in subsection (1).

This means that it is not required by the BC regulation that you have a valid FOODSAFE Level 1 certificate in order to work as a server or in food preparation provided at least one employee or the employer/operator on shift has a valid FOODSAFE Level 1 certificate. As long as there is at least one person on each shift who holds valid FOODSAFE level 1 certification or an approved equivalency your work should not be affected.

However, many employers or organizations have their own internal policies and procedures and may require valid FOODSAFE Level 1 or an approved equivalency as part of all their employee/volunteer requirements. If this is the case, then you may need to follow-up with your employer. Register  for a FOODSAFE Level 1 or FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher  course (or an approved equivalency) at the earliest possible convenience.

The FOODSAFE course is about preventing the transmission of foodborne illness and also about worker safety on the job. People who prepare, serve and clean up food should take the course for the safety of the customers and also for their own safety.

Why do I have to recertify?

Research shows that 95% of people who took the FOODSAFE Level 1 course five years ago or earlier would fail the exam if they wrote it today. That’s why in June 2013 the BCCDC announced that all FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates issued in British Columbia as of July 29, 2013 would have a five-year expiry date. All certificates issued before that date would expire on July 29, 2018.

As noted by Lorraine McIntyre, BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) food safety specialist and author of the BCCDC FOODSAFE Knowledge Retention Project study “food safety refresher training significantly improved workers’ food safety knowledge. Improved food handling skills results in safer food for people eating out in BC.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, four million people – one in eight Canadians – get sick with a domestically acquired food-borne illness every year. Most feel ill with gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea for a few days and then get better. However, these and other foodborne illnesses can be life-threatening, especially for vulnerable people including children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those that are immune compromised. Approximately 11,600 hospitalizations and 238 deaths are attributed annually in Canada to food-borne illness.

What course do I take to recertify?

Individuals with a FOODSAFE Level 1 certificate issued in the Province of British Columbia can recertify by taking one of the following offerings:

Online FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher Course

For individuals currently in the FOODSAFE Registry – half day course that can be completed over 10 days.

Passing Grade: 80%
Training Provider: Open School BC
Cost (excluding taxes): $45
Registration/course information available: http://www.openschool.bc.ca/foodsafe_refresher/
*Please see below the information you require at the time of registration.
Who do I contact if I experience difficulties? Open School BC. First, check out their FrequentlyAsked Questions page at: https://openschool.bc.ca/foodsafe_refresher/faq. If you require additional assistance call 1-888-883-4766.

Online FOODSAFE Level 1 Course

Full day course that can be completed over 20 days.

Passing Grade: 70%
Training Provider: Open School BC
Cost (excluding taxes): $115
Registration/course information available: https://openschool.bc.ca/foodsafe_level1/
Who do I contact if I experience difficulties? Open School BC. First, check out their Frequently Asked Questions page at: https://openschool.bc.ca/foodsafe_refresher/faq. If you require additional assistance call 1-888-883-4766.

In-class FOODSAFE Level 1

Full day course

Passing Grade: 70%
Training Provider: Various certified instructors
Cost (excluding taxes): Varies – check individual providers
Registration/course information available: https://courses.foodsafe.ca/course-search
Who do I contact if I experience difficulties? You can search the entire listing of course offerings, or use the search feature to select specific records. Once you have found a course that you are interested in, click on the course name to show the course provider, contact and registration information.

Unfortunately the FOODSAFE Secretariat cannot assist you with registration for these courses. You must contact the course provider directly.

If you are having difficulty finding any training in your region or need help finding an instructor for a group, please contact foodsafe@foodsafe.ca for additional assistance.

Distance/Correspondence FOODSAFE Level 1

Self-paced (students have up to 6 months to complete)

Passing Grade: 70%
Training Provider: go2HR
Cost (excluding taxes): $105, excluding shipping and handling ( special group pricing also available)
Registration/course information available: https://www.go2hr.ca/training/foodsafe-distance-education
Who do I contact if I experience difficulties? Visit https://www.go2hr.ca/training/foodsafe-distance-education.
If you require additional assistance contact 604-633-9787.

Can anyone take the FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher Course?

The FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher course can only be taken by individuals who hold BC FOODSAFE Level 1 certification. This includes all individuals, regardless of province, who took FOODSAFE Level 1 online from Open School BC and FOODSAFE Level 1 by distance/correspondence from go2HR.

Individuals who took other food safety courses and/or did not complete the course in BC are not eligible for the FOODSAFE Level 1 Online Refresher course. The only options available are:

  1. take the full FOODSAFE Level 1 course which is available online, in person or via distance/correspondence; or
  2. take a food safety training program that is recognized as equivalent - http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/food-your-health/food-safety/food-safety-training.

What information do I need to register for the FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher Course?

In order to register for the FOODSAFE Refresher course you need the personal identifier on your FOODSAFE certificate or wallet card (shown below):

Certificate

Wallet Card

Or the following information for the individual which must match up exactly with the information in the FOODSAFE Registry:

First Name:
Last Name:
Gender:
Birth Date:

I’m trying to sign up for the FOODSAFE Level 1 Online Refresher Course, lost my certificate and the registration system doesn't recognize my personal information. What do I do?

  1. Double check that you took the official FOODSAFE Level 1 course in BC and not another course.
  2. (currently not in service – In the interim, please skip to Step 3 and contact your local Health Authority) Try the widget located on the Ministry of Health website to check your expiry date or find your Personal Identifier number. To do so you will need to have/create a BCeID using the easy to follow instructions on their website: https://my.gov.bc.ca/foodsafe/webAppServices?serviceItemID=B3BEE4BB29764296894CDBCFF2E808B0
    Helpful type: Remember to clear the cache on your computer prior to using the widget.
  3. If you do not have access to a computer or are unsuccessful with the widget, contact your local Health Authority for assistance. Their contact information is available at: http://www.foodsafe.ca/faq.html#haContacts

What do I do if I'm having trouble with the Online Refresher Course?

The FOODSAFE Level 1 Online Refresher course is offered by Open School BC. If you are having difficulty you should consult their frequently asked questions (FAQ) page at http://openschool.bc.ca/foodsafe_refresher/. If you need further assistance you can call their toll free customer service line at 1-888-883-4766.

Is my out-of-province food safety training considered equivalent in BC?

The BC Centre for Disease Control determines equivalencies for FOODSAFE Level 1 only. To find out if your certificate is equivalent to BC’s FOODSAFE Level 1 visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/food-your-health/food-safety/food-safety-training. Please read the information on this page carefully before looking at the list of equivalencies since it provides important information.

How long will it take for me to receive my new certificate?

Upon successful completion of the FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher course and interim certificate will be produced. The official certificate will be sent from the responsible Health Authority approximately 2-4 weeks after you complete the course. Closer to the July 29, 2018 expiry date, it may take slightly longer due to the volume of certificates being processed.

If you need interim proof of completion and are taking an in-person class, please make sure to advise your instructor so that they can prepare something on your behalf.

If you are taking an online course, you have the ability to print an interim certificate after you have completed the final exam

I failed the Refresher Course. What do I do next?

For a detailed answer, visit the Open School BC’s FAQ sheet at https://openschool.bc.ca/foodsafe_refresher/faq.

My certificate has already expired. What do I do?

If your certificate has expired and you need certification you should take FOODSAFE level 1 as soon as possible – in-person, online or by distance/correspondence.

You can also take the FOODSAFE level 1 refresher course for a limited time after the expiration of your certificate (TBD).