Special Events Public Health Requirements

Public Health supports special event organizers and vendors providing food, beverages and personal services to the public. We can help you meet these provincial requirements needed for hosting safe events:

Organizers and coordinators

Complete the online Special Event Coordinator Form at least 45 days before the event.

Event organizers must ensure that all food and personal services vendors are aware of their responsibilities.

Food vendors

Complete the online Special Event Vendor Application Form at least 30 days before the event.

Review this important Food Safety Information for special events tips and requirements for a public health inspection. Please note that all foods served, displayed or offered for sale must come from an inspected facility.

At least one certified food handler is needed on site at all times. See Food Safety Training and Certification for details on certification.

Non-regulated health professional personal services

Complete the online Special Events Vendor Application Form at least 30 days before the event.

All personal services vendors must have approval from Public Health before participating in an event.

Petting zoo exhibits

You must include petting zoo exhibits on your Special Event Coordinator Form with vendor contact information.

The petting zoo set up must:

  • Provide hand hygiene facilities (hand washing stations or alcohol-based hand sanitizer) at every exit, with appropriate hand washing signage. 
  • Direct traffic in one direction (the exit and entrance should not be beside each other).
  • Post signage in multiple locations directing visitors to wash their hands after visiting the animals and before eating.
  • Provide adequate barriers for animals that are not to be touched. 
  • Not allow the public to milk cows or drink unpasteurized milk.
  • Ensure animals in the exhibit are up to date on rabies vaccinations. 
  • Clean and disinfect touch points (barriers, railings, etc.) periodically.  
  • Remove animal feces and other waste regularly, and store it in a secure area.
  • Ensure a first aid kit is available for potential injuries.

For more information about how to keep petting zoos safe, please refer to Recommendations to Prevent Disease and Injury Associated with Petting Zoos in Ontario. Report an animal to human bite or scratch to Public Health at 519-575-4400, or report online by filling out and submitting the Animal Bite Reporting Form.

Additional resources


This page was adapted from materials created by Wellington Dufferin Guelph, Ottawa Public Health and Toronto Public Health agencies.

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