Opposition wants Montreal restaurants to display health inspection grades

Would you like to know if the restaurant you're about to eat at passed inspection?

The official opposition at Montreal city hall, Ensemble Montreal, thinks we should — it's tabling a motion at the next city council meeting asking the Plante administration to push the Quebec government to give them the power to assign hygiene grades and force restaurants, food trucks and grocery stores to post them prominently.

You've seen them in cities such as New York, Toronto and Paris — letter grades, colour codes and emoticons placed near the entrance of the food establishment indicating if the food establishment passed or failed inspection.

Ensemble Montreal says food inspection results are public — if you know how to find them.

"The only thing that will change is that the consumer now will have that information clearly available to them where now it becomes very difficult to navigate through some of the internet sites that this information may be available or the page in the newspaper that it may appear in from time to time," said Pierrefonds-Roxboro mayor Jim Beis who held a news conference alongside colleague Karine Boivin-Roy, city council leader of the official opposition.

They also want an app detailing the scores and inspection results such as the DineSafe app used in Toronto.

 

They said this is relevant given the growing numbers of restaurants closed and fined for food and health safety violations — an increase of 43% between 2017 and 2018 for those convicted of violations and an increase of 52% in fines, from $539,440 in 2017 to $820,100 in 2018.

About 30 inspectors are assigned to check out some 14,000 establishments in Montreal.