::this post ID is 18034::::in categories of ..Legal Corner....Retail..::

Q&A With Frank Zaid: Legal and regulatory challenges of operating retail businesses

Federal guidelines are enforced for cosmetic products to ensure their safety and quality.
Photo courtesy Trade Secrets

Food-service businesses
Food-service establishments, in particular, are regulated in many ways with respect to their operations.  For example, both municipal and provincial laws may apply to the specifications for a restaurant’s washrooms.

As of January 1, 2017, franchised convenience stores and other food-service providers with 20 or more locations operating under the same (or substantially the same) name within Ontario have been required to display the number of calories in each variety, flavour and size of their menu items, including food and drinks, offered with standardized portions and content.

The prescribed information must appear on one or more signs, on each menu where the standard items are listed and, if the actual item is displayed, on that food’s label or tag. Other provinces are currently also considering rules for the posting of caloric information.

Provincial legislation is not the whole story, either. Federal legislation also requires specific nutrition labelling, including calorie content declarations. Most foods sold at retail, however, including takeout options, are exempt from these requirements, which are instead applicable to prepackaged foods.

Specially regulated businesses
Businesses that operate in certain industries that are separately regulated by federal or provincial legislation will require certain ownership or management/operator qualifications, registrations, licences and compliance. Some examples with regard to retail include pharmacies, imported food vendors and winemaking businesses. When in doubt, the franchisee should always check first.

The need to prepare
Governmental authorities often encourage the creation and expansion of both independent and franchised retail businesses, yet establishing such a business in the first place requires a significant investment of time and money to ensure all required registrations, permits, licences and approvals are processed and obtained before operations begin.

Fortunately, there are many sources of relevant information through municipal, provincial and federal websites and from professional services firms that can also offer guidance and assistance in these areas. Another familiar adage certainly applies: “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”

Frank Zaid practised franchise law for 40 years and has appeared as an expert witness in franchise disputes. Today, he is a franchise mediator, arbitrator and ombudsman with ADR Chambers in Toronto, where he chairs a special panel to resolve franchise disputes. He also operates his own business, Frank Zaid FRANlegal Support Services. For more information, contact him at (416) 322-8300 or (416) 362-8555 or via e-mail at fzaid@frankzaid.com or fzaid@adrchambers.com.

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