Total Pageviews

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Obstruction of a Public Health Inspector during a routine inspection in a food establishment

Obstruction of a Public Health Inspector during inspection - Two incidents.

Jim Chan  & Se LE.

Case 1

Public Health Inspector confronted and obstructed - operator convicted and fined.
(Article by Si Le, Jim Chan, Paul Di Salvo - Environmental Health Review)

In the spring of 2010, during a routine inspection of a restaurant in Toronto, a Public Health Inspector was confronted by an uncooperative operator after finding food safety infractions in the food processing area. The operator became very abusive when the failed inspection report was issued. The actions of the operator created an environment that hindered and obstructed the inspector and preventing him from carrying out lawful duties required by the Ontario Health Protection & Promotion Act.

Charges were issued and the operator was prosecuted in court. The operator was found guilty and fined. The reason enforcement action was taken in such incidents is to achieve behaviour change and to ensure inspection services are provided without risk of harm to Public Health Inspectors during future encounters.

The following is an article of the incident and the prosecution process used by the prosecutor to obtain the conviction in the charges.

Obstruction of a Public Health Inspector in a food premises, the safety and legal implications

Si Le, Jim Chan, Paul Di Salvo

Healthy Environments, Toronto Public Health, 44 Victoria St 18th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5C 1Y2.

Correspondence author: S. Le (e-mail: ).

Published on the web 28 January 2013.

Environmental Health Review, 2012, 55(04): 107-110, 10.5864/d2012-015


This case study outlines an obstruction incident involving a Public Health Inspector (PHI) being obstructed while conducting an inspection. PHIs are empowered by legislation to conduct inspections and investigations without obstruction or hindrance from any person. Managers and employers have a duty to ensure PHIs are able to conduct their work free from harm or harassment. Previous case law provides an excellent perspective as to what actions constitute obstruction. In the current case, previous case law was used to substantiate the evidence and perspective of the Prosecutor and PHI when prosecuting the offender. To better safeguard PHIs during incidents involving obstructive behaviour, implementing an administrative warning system of problematic premises in addition to working in pairs, when feasible, will ensure inspection services are carried out safely and effectively.


Case 2

Police step in at supermarket altercation with Health Department officials as the operator interfered with health inspectors
by Jim Chan.

The Health Department's food safety program works to protect the public from food establishment-related food-borne illness by inspecting food establishments, providing inspection results to the public and taking legal action such as closing business that present a risk to public health. 

This incident occurred when inspector received a complaint from the public that a supermarket which was recently closed, was selling food along the sidewalk and some food such as meat and fish have already spoiled. When a health inspector arrived at the location, he observed many people were rushing the supermarket and buying discounted food left outside the supermarket. 

Photo 1 - People buying food outside along sidewalk.

Photo 2 - Operator ignored health inspector's direction to stop selling food 

Photo 3 - From right to left (Operator on phone, health inspector with note book in hand reporting incident to head office, police officer calling for reinforcement on her radio)

Photo 4 - A customer argued with police officer and refused to stop buying food

Photo 5 - Spoiled food found inside supermarket. Refrigerator not working

Photo 6 - More police officers and health inspectors arrived. 

Photo 7 - Health inspector ordered the operator to close the supermarket

Photo 8 - City worker provided a waste bin to dispose of the food seized by health inspector

Related link:

CIPHI Site Presentation 2013



  1. Si LE's info. shared his experience in an obstruction incident by a food establishment operator. He demonstrated that detail documentation of the event in his note book lead to the conviction & fines in the court outcome.

  2. I just needed to record a speedy word to express profound gratitude to you for those magnificent tips and clues you are appearing on this site.nebosh course in chennai

  3. Appreciation for really being thoughtful and also for deciding on certain marvelous guides most people really want to be aware of.
    occupational health and safety course in chennai