Restaurants and food outlets throughout Ontario that violate food safety rules will face higher fines in the future, due to pressure from several health departments in the region.

The current system of fines was established over 60 years ago, and the reform has seen some of the fixed penalty fines triple in size. Previously, fines for violations ranging from failing to keep food at proper temperatures to using unsanitary equipment varied from C$30 to C$105. Now, however, proprietors will face figures ranging from C$50 to C$375.

“We had concerns about the fines being too low. They did not reflect the seriousness of the charges. Toronto and Hamilton were also concerned … and ‘dirty dining’ has received a lot of attention,” explained Dr. Liana Nolan, Waterloo region’s medical health officer, to the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

Reporting to the region’s community services committee on the increased fines yesterday [Tuesday], Nolan explained that the money collected from fines is put into a regional “pool” – which is then collected and administered by individual municipalities. Last year, said Nolan, the region’s 15 health inspectors charged 25 food premises under the Provincial Offences Act, and collected C$2,545 worth of fines.