Ottawa, CA: Health Board to Review New Food Truck Guidelines

By Alex Boutilier | Metro Ottawa

Ottawa’s board of health will consider new street meat rules that would see an additional 20 vendors set up shop around the city.

City hall is in the process of granting 20 new spots for food carts and trucks in Ottawa. Decisions on who gets the nod to hock food will be made by a five person selection panel which weighs factors like innovation, qualifications and business plans.

The board of health would have one position on that panel, which includes representatives from the Ottawa Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Association, the Canadian Culinary Federation, Savour Ottawa and Just Food.

According to a report coming before the board on Monday, the opportunity to assist in the selection of which vendors get the new permits would help advance the board of health’s goal of ensuring healthier fare is available in Ottawa.

“Active participation in the street vending program, in partnership with bylaw and regulatory services, will advance public health food safety, both in the reduction of food-borne illnesses and in the promotion of healthy eating,” reads the report. “On behalf of the board of health, (Ottawa Public Health), as a member of the street food selection panel, will also (be) providing technical advice on food safety.”

The suggestion that vendors would have to provide innovative, interesting and perhaps healthier food than your traditional chip wagon or hot dog cart had some councillors lamenting a “nanny state” approach to street vending.

But staff said the regulations are simply to ensure a variety of choices. The board will review the recommendations at their meeting on Monday.