WHEREAS municipal governments regularly must provide assistance and upkeep to its stakeholders infrastructure and operations and more so in the small rural communities; AND WHEREAS provincial food and food establishments regulations administered by Alberta Health and Wellness are making it mandatory that non-profit organizations or agricultural societies operating in agricultural halls, community halls and public areas (such as farmers markets and bake sales) comply with some rather stringent serving and food establishment rules; AND WHEREAS it is becoming increasingly difficult for small rural non-profit organizations to remain viable, and find and keep enough volunteers in order to meet these provincial regulations; AND WHEREAS serving the odd meal and social evening followed by a dance is often used as a fundraiser to support operating these community halls; AND WHEREAS some community groups have been stopped from holding functions in local halls, and further it is feared that unless all these regulations are complied with even getting a liquor licence will become a challenge and will hamper community volunteer groups from holding fundraising efforts and affect their ability to continue operating;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the provincial government to consider modifying these Food and Food Establishments Regulations to exempt all non-profit organizations from the regulations.
Many community organizations throughout the province have been contacted by local health inspectors who have indicated that they are no longer able to sell food from community halls, hold potluck suppers for fundraising purposes or have bake sales.The Municipal District of Northern Lights has been in contact with the local health inspector who advises that Peace Country Health feels that the legislation is primarily intended for food establishments that operate on a continuous or regularly scheduled basis. They indicate that a volunteer organization that operates a food booth on a regularly scheduled basis (i.e. in hockey arenas) would be required to meet regulatory requirements, including having operators trained in food safety. They feel this is exactly the same as a commercial operation.The conditions established by Environmental Health regarding community hall permits, indicates that there are potentially three situations: public events, private events with paid caterers, and private events with voluntary caterers. The following descriptions are reprinted from the Peace Country Health information bulletin entitled Community Hall Permit Conditions:Public events are events that are advertised to the general public, i.e. Everyone Welcome, regardless of whether the food is purchased by those who attend. At these events, all foods must be obtained from approved sources and prepared in permitted food establishments such as the hall kitchen. No home-prepared foods are allowed.Private events with paid caterers are events that are not advertised to the general public and either the host or the guests purchase the food; for example, weddings where the host pays for food service or staff parties where the guests purchase the food as part of their ticket price. At these events, all foods must be obtained from approved sources and prepared in a permitted food establishment. No home-prepared foods are allowed.Private events with voluntary caterers are events where a private group gathers to eat without purchasing the food service (i.e. potluck dinners) and the event is not advertised to the public. At these events, home-prepared foods are allowed and the group may use the kitchen facilities should they require them.This resolution would have public events and private events with voluntary caterers meeting the same requirements, so that home-prepared foods would be allowed, with the use of the kitchen facilities if required. There is no need for the public events situation as we feel it does not matter if it is a general invitation or a closed group, nor does it matter if food is purchased or provided free of cost.The more provincial and federal regulations that are placed on our small, rural community groups, the fewer volunteers we will find. Less fundraising will take place, and all municipal ratepayers will begin to foot the bill for non-profit organizations to remain viable.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.
Pot luck dinners are now exempt under the regulations. Non-profit organizations are no longer subject to the strict controls imposed previous to the review of the act.