How do I know if my certificate is expired?

All FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates issues before July 29, 2013 expired on July 29, 2018.

All FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates issued since July 30, 2013 are valid for 5 years and the expiry date is indicated on your certificate.

How was information on the expiry date communicated to the general public?

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 expiry date. 

From December 10-14, 2018 a copy of the following advertisement will be appearing in all British Columbia local newspapers (Black Press Publications).

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How do I recertify?

Important: If your certificate has expired or will be expiring before January 15, 2019

If your certificate has expired or will expire by mid-January you have one final opportunity to register for the online FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher course by January 15, 2019.

After January 15, 2019 you no longer be able to register for the online FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher course. You will be required to take the full FOODSAFE Level 1 course available in-person, online or by correspondence/distance.

If your certificate expiry date is after January 15, 2019

From January 15, 2019 onward, in order to register for the online FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher course your FOODSAFE Level 1 certificate must be valid (not expired).

Once your certificate has expired, you will only have access to the full FOODSAFE Level 1 course available in-person, online or by correspondence/distance.

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.

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 and organizations have their own internal policies and procedures and may require that all their employees or volunteers have a valid (not-expired) FOODSAFE Level 1 certificate, or an approved equivalency, as part of all their employee/volunteer requirements. If this is the case, then you should follow-up with your employer/organization to ensure that you meet its internal policy.

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.

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

Important: This course will only be available to individuals with valid (non-expired) FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates as of January 16, 2019. Individuals with expired certificates will be required to take the full FOODSAFE Level 1 course online, in person or by distance/correspondence.

Passing Grade: 80%
Training Provider: Open School BC
Cost (excluding taxes): $55
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.

An approved course that has been deemed equivalent

For further information visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/food-your-health/food-safety/food-safety-training

Can anyone take the FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher Course?

Only individuals whose FOODSAFE Level 1 certification is in the BC FOODSAFE Registry have access to the FOODSAFE Level 1 online Refresher course can register for this course up to January 15, 2019. This includes individuals whose certificates recently expired (from July 29, 2018 onwards).

As of January 16, 2019 only individuals with valid (non-expired) FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates will be allowed to register for this course. Once your certificate has expired you will be required to take the regular FOODSAFE Level 1 course in-person, online or by correspondence/distance.

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

If your certificate was issued from July 29, 2013 onward, you should have all information you need to register on your certificate or wallet card.

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 not able to register for the FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher course. What do I do?

Double check you are eligible for the course:

After January 16, 2019 only individuals with valid (non-expired) FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates are eligible for this course.

If you took a different food safety course (not FOODSAFE) you would not be eligible for the Refresher, even if you certificate is valid.

If you are eligible but have lost your certificate you can 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 hint: Remember to clear the cache on your computer prior to using the widget.)

OR

Contact your local Health Authority for assistance. Their contact information is available at: http://www.foodsafe.ca/faq.html#haContacts

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.

I’m already registered in the FOODSAFE Level 1 Online Refresher course and having difficulty. What do I do?

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/ or call their toll free customer service line at 1-888-883-4766

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 2-3 weeks after you complete the course.

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.