To all the Canadian cake decorators out there: does anyone know the rules and regulations for operating a small home based cake decorating business. I can not find the answers anywhere! I am only interested in making 1 to 2 cakes per week for just friends, family, and co-workers. Is this something I am allowed to do or would I get in trouble with the health department/government? Is there a certain amount of income that I can earn without having to register a business? Does anyone know the answers to these questions? (I haven't been selling cakes as of yet, but it's something I'd like to do in the future on a part-time basis from my home.) Thanks!
The answer will vary by municipality, depending on their licensing by-law. Legally, if you are serving food to the public, the premises will need to be inspected by the local health department.
Contact the Clerk's Department in your municipality for licensing requirements. Don't hold me to it, but I "think" you would be classed a caterer.
It's basically all the same requirements for running an actual bakery in a store front. Health inspection, Liscence, biz registration, vendor permit, food handlers cert, all that junk.. If you're looking for specific things like the triple sink/hand washing sink/height off floor that the storage needs to be then you should contact your local health department and ask a load of questions.. Oh, also, your home has to be properly zoned for commercial uses and you cannot run a business out of a rented residental space.. It's alot of paperwork and reading and phone calls and junk but I'd rather do that then face a huge fine, which I've heard through rumors can be upwards of $25,000 in Ontario...
Thanks Muddpuppy! That's exactly the info that I needed. I'll make that call to the Health Department. By the way, your cakes are beautiful, love the pink one!
I'm in Alberta and I haven't researched it a whole lot yet, but in reading it said that if baked products were made in a home kitchen that had been inspected you could only sell your goods at an approved farmers' market. When my sister opened a specialty coffee shop a few years back, she asked the health inspector if I could bring muffins and single serving baked goods to sell at her shop and he said yes if I had my kitchen inspected. So it seems like you really have to dig deep to find out exactly what they want and need you to do to be legal.
I'm interested that the health inspector would have said that Gerri. Where are you located? That's definitely not the case in Calgary, and in fact the Alberta Food Act clearly says anything sold for public consumption has to be made in a commercial, licenced and inspected kitchen (which can be at home, but must be separate). I would talk to the health inspector again and check...
Lets just say its ALOT ALOT ALOT of work to bake cakes from your home legally in AB and alot of $$$$, and lots of headachs cuz you get so much run around from everyone you have to deal with to open a business.
Actually I'm finding everyone I deal with very helpful, in their own way. It's just that the health department don't care about things that the building department and the zoning people care about, and vice versa. You end up going from one well-meaning person to another!
I've decided to just forge ahead anyway with the information I have and hope for the best.
I agree, I haven't looked in anything seriously, but the few times I've asked, I've gotten conflicting stories...from every angle. I'm in Taber and I should have elaborated that he said that in a sarcastic way as in sure..........if it was separate, if it was zoned correctly, if plans were approved by municipality, approved by the town and so on and so forth. By the time I get good enough to even think about it, we'll be absorbed by Lethbridge!
Gerripje: My dad lived in Taber for over 20 years. Last name Nagy. Know him?
"Gerripje: My dad lived in Taber for over 20 years. Last name Nagy. Know him? "
I haven't lived right in Taber my whole life, but close around here and I do kinda know a few Nagy's! Small towns you get to know everyone after awhile! LOL
If I'm only making at most two cakes a week for friends (or friends of friends), family and co-workers, this seems like a hell of a lot of work and money. It'd probably cost more to do all that then I'd make in a year!!
In Ontario, does anyone know how much an inspection costs? Do you have to do it every year? What do they look for? Then when it comes to the government, do I have to charge taxes? How do you pay that money then to the government, at tax time? Is there an amount of money that I'm allowed to earn each month without having to worry about having a business?
If there are any cake decorators out there in Ontario that work out of their home that could answer these questions for me in detail, I'd so appreciate it. You can even send me a private message, then I can give you my e-mail address. Thanks everyone!
I'm not sure if there is a minimum amount of money that you can make before it has to be taxed. That definately wasn't my major concern... The fact that it is illegal to sell food products not produced in a lisc. and inspected kitchen should be the motivation to become legal! I can't really give you any tax info, cause I pay someone to give me advise!! lol! but the total amount that I've invested in paper work getting legal is around $1000.. that's peanuts compaired to the huge fines if you get caught. The renovation part of a home biz for sure is the hefty bill.
TubbsCookies is right for here in Calgary...You can bake at home but you must have a seperate kitchen from your home kitchen with a sink that has running hot water.You also must have a fridge that is at proper temp for storing cakes..icings.You also have to have a business license and be approved by the health Dept.I believe the business license is about $80.00 a yr and the Health licence about $200.00 per yr.
I live in Niagara Falls and I looked into "legalizing" my business 1 1/2 years ago. From the health inspector to my own kitchen it was just too much of a headache for the amount of cakes I've done....
I advertise word of mouth and at the local Bulk Stores and Party supply places...I've had no issues with customers. I have my own receipt book and to be honest most people would rather deal with small more personal business (around here i find)
Well I've decided to only do my cake decorating as a hobby. Unfortunately it's too much work and too much money to try and sell cakes! If I made only 1 or 2 cakes a week, I wouldn't even made $1000 in year, so if I had to pay out about $1000 to become legal, I'd be doing all my cakes for nothing in the first year. So might as well keep doing them for nothing, lol!! It gets so expensive doing cakes as a hobby though. Maybe I can get a job at a bakery then. Anyone in Hamilton or Niagara want to hire me?? Thanks for all the advice though.