Hobby Bakers In Ontario, Canada

Business By Jewelsx19 Updated 2 Oct 2008 , 10:11pm by margaretb

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Jewelsx19 Posted 29 Sep 2008 , 2:37pm
post #1 of 21

Right now I am just a hobby cake decorator....I sell a couple cakes here and there, mostly people I know, friends of the family and neighbours.

But I have noticed alot of ads on the local Craigs list, and Kijiji advertising cakes from Home bakers, and I was thinking of posting to get a little more experiance.

My question is, do I have to be licenced? Reason I am asking is because I contacted alot of those home bakers from the ads (mostly just to find out their pricing) and I asked if they were licenced or even had their health inspection done...and NONE of them had.

So whats the deal?

20 replies
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kel58 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:25pm
post #2 of 21

I would love to know what the laws are here in ontario about home bakeries. I started lookthing through government sites and it was soo confusing. I'v seen forums on here about the laws in the States, but not Canada. If anyone can offer some insite, im sure it would be greatly appreciated by many canadians. thanks for posting about this. icon_biggrin.gif

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Shannie13 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:33pm
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I am from the Toronto area and I am just a hobbyist making the cakes for family and friends birthdays. When I looked into it there were a couple of stipulations that you had to have. Remember here every restaurant needs to have a health code pass or they get shut down immediately. I am not sure if that applies here, but I know when my grandmother had her business (canning and pies) she had a separate kitchen.

I too would love some insight as to what is legal or not...and you are right the government pages just throw you in 8 different directions.


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imakecakes Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:34pm
post #4 of 21

Click on the articles tab above. There is an article on starting a business in Canada.

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muddpuppy Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:36pm
post #5 of 21

Without a completely separate and licenced/inspected kitchen it is not legal to sell baked goods out of youre home in my town in Ontario.. but that's just where I am.. I'm sure that a billion people sell cake from home everyday and nothing ever happends but it's kinda scary! Oh, also I just found out...!! If you're renting a house that has a second kitchen in the basement this is not good enough. You cannot sell goods out of a rented residental kitchen space.. icon_sad.gif

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absijails Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:41pm
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I'm in Ottawa and I've looked into it. I called the city and a very nice gentleman (seriously) from the health dept. spoke to me about their regulations. It would have been fairly simple for me to convert our home kitchen into a kitchen that met the health codes - I'm just missing a separate hand washing sink.
Call your city and see what they have to say.

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kello Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:43pm
post #7 of 21

Hmmmmm, that's interesting. I have always wanted to know about the laws in Ontario regarding selling out your home. I didn't have any luck trying to search myself.

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ChristieFinkle Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 9:06pm
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When I looked into, it's all divided up by regions! Cambridge is completely different than even Guelph. In Guelph, you have to have a seperate door to outside! In Cambridge you have to have a seperate Kitchen and different things in the kitchen. Your local Health board has a pamphlet! Or atleast mine did!
Hope that helps!
Oh, and to get the permit, the fire department, the city and the health board have to come in and check it out!

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margaretb Posted 1 Oct 2008 , 4:17am
post #9 of 21

There have been a couple threads recently about the Canadian home baker situation if you just browse back a couple days. From what I heard from Ontario people, you needed the second kitchen if you are doing it out of your home.

In Alberta, you have to have a seperate domestic kitchen meeting certain standards. The public health inspector would do the inspection, but the regulations are provincial. Also the people in Calgary posted that they also have to comply with municiple regulations regarding home businesses. There will be two issues -- having a business out of your home and -- food safety regulations for selling food.

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__Martha__ Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 12:00pm
post #10 of 21

It is different everywhere in Ontario, as Christie mentioned. Each city (or town or county) is goverened by their own regulations. The best thing to do is check with your city health department.

I am in London and was told that, in London, you can't sell baking made in your home at all - even if you have a separate catering kitchen with a separate entrance.

I too had seen all the ads on Kijiji and thought it was do-able. I guess most of those people advertising aren't legal. I am a hobby baker as well - just bake for family and close friends. I have turned down other business that's come my way, which is fine as I really don't have the time right now. However, in a couple of years when I retire, it is something I'd like to take a little more seriously.

I wish it was easier to get legal. I can guarantee that my kitchen is cleaner than most restaurant kitchens I've seen.

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CrazyCakes13 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 12:11pm
post #11 of 21

Hi, I'm from the Hamilton area and I too sell to family and friends. It's well-known where I do my baking. I'm starting to do some more cakes, but again, family and friends. Anyway, you should check out http://www.cakescanada.com/forums/ It's similar to this site but it's mainly Canadians on there and number of people have businesses that post. They may have more insight for you as well.

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BitsnBites Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 12:15pm
post #12 of 21

I live in Toronto and I went to several government business courses. I was interested in going into food industry. And I was told that It is illegal to sell food prepared in a home kitchen. It has to be a licensed-health certified kitchen. And that you can rent a certified kitchen per hour in some places.

Yeah, it sucks icon_sad.gif

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CrazyCakes13 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 12:30pm
post #13 of 21

I kind of figured. That's why I only sell to family and friends for nominal fees. I stay under the radar and should anyone ask, it was a "donation" for my trouble, not payment lol.

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__Martha__ Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 12:52pm
post #14 of 21
Originally Posted by CrazyCakes13

I kind of figured. That's why I only sell to family and friends for nominal fees. I stay under the radar and should anyone ask, it was a "donation" for my trouble, not payment lol.

I read a thread once (either here or Cakes Canada) where they talked about this. Someone said that even the 'donation' idea is technically taking payment. They even went so far as to say that someone buying the ingredients and bringing them over consitituted selling your product. That's insane.

I can't see why you can't do the donation thing or even trade services. For instance, I made my hairdresser (who is my DD's good friend) a cake for her husband's b-day. She, in turn, didn't charge me the next time I had my highlights done.

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margaretb Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 3:47pm
post #15 of 21

For those of you who sell under the radar to family and friends, how much do you charge? Are you just covering your cost of ingredients?

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CrazyCakes13 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 4:02pm
post #16 of 21

Martha - this is true, I will grant you about donations being payment. I have a friend who works in the personal taxes dept of Revenue Canada, and apparently you have to make $30k-ish for the gov't to really care. Doesn't mean I shouldn't register, but until I get to that point, there's no tax benefit to doing it or anything.

Margaretb - right now I cover ingredients and sometimes, time. Most times I don't come out ahead, although I do try. Most of the money i make goes right back into buying better pans etc. Someday I hope to actually make a profit.

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The_Caketress Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 4:35pm
post #17 of 21

First off unless you sell more then 30k you don't need to get your gst number. As for Hst/Pst unless you sell sliced cake (sold to restaurants etc. You don't your vendor's permit due the is no pst to collect on whole cake. You can register you business name. For health department you must call your local office (get the name of the person you talk to incase anything was mistold) to get local restictions. For the most part you must have a second kitchen including
3 compartment sink
all drawers 6 inches above floor
proper flooring
proper and enough refrigeration (with thermastat)
all ingredients in labeled bins (not bage)
cleanser on hand
pets are an issue they look into

Also you need to call the city zoning department to insure your zoning allows you to operate a business in your zone. There may be some minor restrictions like to no signs or the % of space used for the business.

Can't build a proper kitchen , then rent one. Local churches and clubs will rent you there kitchen for a nominal fee.

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ChristieFinkle Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 5:19pm
post #18 of 21

I think the church kitchen is the way to go! Think about it, it basically sits empty all week! If I didn't have the opportunity to bake in a second kitchen at home (all legalized!) That's what I would do! And just because you don't need a GST number, I'd get one! You get all your GST that you paid out through the year back! Now, you have to register your business to do that, but if your going to take it to that step, be sure to get a GST number!

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margaretb Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 6:26pm
post #19 of 21

What exactly does everyone mean when they say they have to "register" their business? That is, where do you think you have to register your business to get your GST number? I'm just curious if people are getting the ideas of having a business license, paying income tax on your cake revenue, applying for a GST number, and incorporating a company mixed up. Tax wise, you have to pay income tax on your cake revenue whether you have incorporated, are acting under a business name, or are selling under your own name. I realize that if you are selling under the table, you are not putting it on your taxes either, but that is what you are supposed to do. GST number wise -- you can apply for a number as yourself running a business (we have a GST number for ourselves for our farm), and lets face it, if you are claiming your GST back, revenue Canada is going to want to know about your income. Incorporating is setting up a legal entity that is the business -- so it has it's own taxes etc plus gives you some level of legal protection in case the business is sued. The only think I am not sure about is the business license -- I would assume that every municipality wants you to pay for a business license if you are selling out of your home, but maybe they have exceptions. Or maybe this is just an Ontario thing.

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__Martha__ Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 8:48pm
post #20 of 21

I was talking about making the business 'legal' by getting the proper approval from the city's health department. I guess getting the tax numbers, registering business names etc would all go along with that. It just seems to be too difficult.

Renting church space might be the way to go for some people, but most churches won't allow storage for your supplies. Personally, I'd get pretty tired of lugging my stuff back and forth and I would ALWAYS forget something!

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margaretb Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 10:11pm
post #21 of 21

Gotcha -- I was wondering if people were thinking that registering their business name somewhere would make them legal, which maybe it would in terms of running a business, but not necessarily as for as passing a public health inspection for selling food products. And if that is confusing people, think about a restaurant. They get a business licence from the municipality to run their business, but they also have to pass a public health inspection, and having one of those does not guarantee the other.

In Alberta, your local public health inspector will do your inspection, but they are following provincial regulations. So public health inspection wise, it shouldn't matter where you are in Alberta, you have to meet the same standards.

Here is another monkey wrench to throw in the rental kitchen issue. Your local church or hall kitchen might not meet public health requirements. Or the requirements for a nonprofits kitchen might be less rigorous than they would be for you as a business. I'm pretty sure that at least a couple of the places in our town have not passed a public health inspection, but they have their own suppers for fundraisers or whatever. So we think either the requirements are not a strict for them or else no one wants to pursue them because they are the church.

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