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HomeHealth and LifestyleHealth Unit and Ministry sending mixed messages to restaurant owners about dogs...

Health Unit and Ministry sending mixed messages to restaurant owners about dogs on patios

KAWARTHA LAKES-Are dogs allowed on local restaurant patios or not? It seems to depend on who you talk to.

A few weeks ago we received an email from Heather Storey the owner of Murphy’s Lockside Pub in Fenelon Falls. She was angry about the ever increasing number of “inspections” her business was subjected to and the demands to place “No Smoking/No Vaping” signs in numerous locations at ther business. Storey also said she was losing business because she couldn’t allow dogs on her patio, unless they were “service dogs”.

“The relationship with our health inspector for food establishments has always been important and valued and I have endeavored to make food sanition of the utmost importance. I understand, respect and value the many annual inspection.” Storey says.
“However, our business has been damaged by the no dogs on patios rules. Evidence of such can be found in the bad reviews we have received specifically for that reason. That does not include how many endless complaints we receive at our front door as we turn away  tourists just looking for somewhere to eat as they visit our not so hospitable  “hospitable” town.”


Adam Matthews who owns 72 Bolton Sports Cafe in Bobcaygeon said he was having the same issue but called the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR)and was told it was ok.

Kawartha 411 sent emails to the Health Unit and the Ministry of Health asking for clarification on the laws governing dogs on patios.

“In the Health Unit’s view, it is up to an individual business/restaurant owner to decide if pets (like a dog) are allowed on their outdoor patio. However, animals are not allowed inside a food premise/restaurant unless they are registered service animals.” said Pam Stuckless, Director of Health Promotion, HKPR.

But here’s what the Ministry said.

“Public health legislation seeks to protect the health and safety of Ontarians. Food premise operators must comply with Ontario Regulation 493/17 (Food Premises) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.” says David Jensen, MOHLTC, “The regulation requires, with some exceptions, that every room where food is prepared, processed, packaged, served, transported, manufactured, handled, sold, offered for sale or displayed shall be kept free from live birds or animals.  Exceptions to this requirement include service animals, where food is served, sold or offered for sale.”

It’s unclear what this means for local business owners.

Storey says there needs to be more public awareness and a clarification of the rules. “A public awareness campaign needs to be more of a spotlight. That would be helpful.”

“The government is reviewing all legislation and regulations put into place under the previous administration to ease the burden on business owners and ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.” said Jensen.

&nbspphoto credit: Neil. Moralee It’s a dogs breakfast. via photopin (license)

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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