Licensing a Dairy Plant
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is responsible for licensing dairy plants
in Ontario. The licensing of any dairy plant is based on food safety
requirements and not the size of the plant nor the volume of product
Prior to beginning construction, an "Application for a Permit
to Construct or Alter a Building Intended for Use as a Plant"
(referred to as an "Application for a Permit") must be
submitted to the Director under the Milk Act at OMAFRA. This application
must demonstrate, through drawings and other information as necessary,
that the plant will be built to meet the regulatory
requirements under the Milk Act (Ontario).
An "Application for a Licence for the Operation of a Plant"
must be submitted at the same time as an "Application for a
Permit". However, the licence will not be issued until the
plant is complete and OMAFRA has confirmed, through inspection,
that it meets all applicable regulations under the Milk Act (Ontario).
In addition, applicants should inform their local public health
unit that a dairy plant will be constructed in the area.
Note - If you plan to process dairy products on-farm we have specific
requirements detailed in our "Guidelines for On-farm Dairy
Processing Plants". To obtain a copy of the guidelines please
call (toll free) 1-877-424-1300 or email email@example.com.
Steps for Licensing New Applicants
- Applicant submits a "Letter of Intent" describing
plan and goals to the Director under the Milk Act at OMAFRA. The
"Letter of Intent" should include but not be limited
- name/contact information of applicant
- type of product(s) to be made
- type (species) of milk to be used
- estimated volume of milk
- source of milk
- type of facility (e.g. new or existing building)
- location (e.g. industrial area, rural, on-farm and address
- type of processing (raw or pasteurized, extended shelf life,
- processing and packaging, etc.).
- Once the letter of intent is received OMAFRA sends a licensing
package to the applicant. The package includes:
- Application for a Permit to Construct or Alter a Building
Intended for use as a Plant
- Application for a Licence for the Operation of a Plant
- Permitting and Licensing Guideline for Dairy Plants in Ontario
- Copy of Regulations 753
of the Milk Act, (Ontario)
- New Plant Requirements document (or Guidelines for On-farm
Dairy Processing Plants)
- Instructions for Submitting the Completed Applications
- Preventive Control Programs information sheet
- List of the Public Health Units in Ontario
- List of Ministry of Environment Regional/District Offices
- Information on securing a supply of milk, which is the responsibility
of the applicant
- Applicant submits completed applications to the Director under
the Milk Act at OMAFRA. The licence fee is $150.00 and is payable
when the applicant applies for the licence.
If an applicant is planning to ship product outside of Ontario,
they will need to contact CFIA to apply for federal registration.
- OMAFRA's Dairy Food Safety Program staff review the completed
applications and a dairy plant specialist (DPS) is assigned to
work with the applicant to assist in interpretation of the regulations.
- If an applicant is proposing to process cow's milk, the Dairy
Farmers of Ontario (DFO) and the Ontario Dairy Council (ODC) are
notified of receipt of an application by OMAFRA, and they are
provided with an opportunity to submit comments in support of,
or in opposition to, the application.
- 6. The Director makes a decision on the "Application for
a Permit" based on dairy food safety program staff recommendations
and industry submissions.
- 7. If the decision is favourable, the applicant receives approval
for their "Application for a Permit" in the form of
a letter from the Director and may now proceed to construct their
If the Director decides that a permit should not be issued, the
applicant may appeal the decision to the Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs Appeals Tribunal.
Industry may also appeal the decision of the Director. If an appeal
is made the decision of the Director is stayed until the Tribunal
has made a ruling.
- The assigned DPS is available to assist in the interpretation
of regulatory issues throughout plant construction. Once the plant
construction is completed and the operator is ready to begin operations,
the DPS conducts a regulatory compliance audit and makes a recommendation
(to the OMAFRA Director) regarding issuance of a plant licence.
- The Director makes a decision on the Application for a Licence
for the Operation of a Plant.
- If the decision is favourable, a Licence to Operate a Plant
is issued to the applicant for the manufacture of dairy products
as declared in the application.
If the decision is not favourable the applicant has the option
of appealing the decision to the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
For more information, contact:
Food Safety Advisor, Dairy