Brynn Meyers dances across the stage of the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion during the dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker in Haliburton on Dec. 4. JENN WATT Staff

The more you know

By Jenn Watt

Published July 24 2018

When it comes to our health and safety we should always strive to have the best information possible as accessible as possible – the best advice on exercise and diet the latest research on ailments and their treatments. And when it comes to the safety of our restaurants beauty salons and pools the same should apply.

We’ve always been able to call up the health unit and ask them whether a specific establishment passed their health inspections but how many of us took that step? Likely very few.

If a business was closed because it had failed an inspection a notice would typically be posted on the front door. Definitely important information but not really enough.

On July 1 the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit launched its new CheckINspection website which features recent inspection results for all food establishments body art/beauty salons and recreational water facilities. It not only gives pass or fail information but includes critical and non-critical infractions encountered.

Inspections included on the website go back to Jan. 1 2018 and as new inspections are done those results will be added. All inspection reports will remain on the website for two years.

This isn’t a small thing; consumers will now have the ability to check up on any of these businesses before they visit and they will have that crucial contextual information to make an informed decision.
The specifics of critical and non-critical infractions provide useful details for consumers.

Businesses will also now be displaying a “pass” or “closed” sign (in green or red respectively) following health inspections.

These signs feature a checkbox that can be marked to indicate that there were infractions however the signage unfortunately does not show what the infractions were.

For those with a smartphone the QR code can be scanned which will take the user to the corresponding website with the infraction details.

The restaurants themselves can also produce copies of their most recent inspection.

Karen Frybort of McKecks restaurant in Haliburton said the program enhances accountability.
“The new inspection disclosure program will be beneficial for everyone” she said in a statement provided to the health unit. “It’s a good selling point and ensures everyone is on a level playing field. At McKecks we also have core values of accountability and trust and that extends to our guests. So we see no problem with full disclosure because that is important. We answer to the public and to the health unit and we have to adhere to certain rules so this will allow us to be held accountable.”

This added level of transparency should be welcomed by the industry and consumers alike.

The reason public health workers do this work is because people could get sick or be injured if proper procedures and practices aren’t in place.

With this new initiative having important health and safety information – with context – will allow us all to make better choices.