Time warp: Guelph still baffled by restaurant grades

Ten years after neighboring Toronto initiated its red-yellow-green restaurant grading system, eight years after we said Guelph sucked at providing public information on restaurant inspections, and six years after other Ontario communities began adopting a variety of additional information disclosure systems such as websites and letter-grades, Guelph is trying to catch up.

The self-proclaimed capital of all things food in Canada is maybe, possibly, considering disclosure.

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public health is signaling that it may want to make the results of its food safety assessments more readily accessible to the public.

The Guelph Mercury editorial board concludes that’s a welcome and overdue direction for this organization to take.

The agency is engaging in survey efforts with the general public and with food service providers to gain input on whether, and how, to place more information about health unit restaurant inspection results and the like more into the public realm.

There are two surveys on the health board’s website, www.wdgpublichealth.ca, one for the public at large, the second for food preparation businesses like restaurants and caterers that are regularly inspected, on whether and how reports should be made accessible.

To date from both groups, it’s been virtually unanimous that such information would be appreciated.

“We thought the number would be high, but we didn’t really think it would be 99 per cent,” health protection manager Shawn Zentner said Wednesday.

Cutting-edge excellence.

In a 2005 audit, the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph unit only released the results of local restaurant inspections after a formal access to information request was made and paid for.

We know. A couple of my students tried to get some results in 2004 and were told to pay up and wait 4-6 weeks.

It’s all painfully archaic.