Food Trucks

customers lined up by a food truck

A Mobile Cooking Operation (MCO) is a vehicle, trailer or cart which cooks, sells, or distributes food when parked. Public safety is of utmost importance, so MCOs must get certain permits and approvals before opening.

Some examples of MCOs include:

  • Food truck
  • Hot dog cart
  • Doughnut shack
  • Vending truck

Rules of Operation

Approval process
Food Handling Permit 
Firstly, it is required that you obtain a Food Handling Permit. These permits are issued by Alberta Health Services.
Mobile Cooking Operation Permit

There is no fee for a Mobile Cooking Operation (MCO) permit. Your application will be reviewed by a City Safety Codes Officer, who will inform you if trade permits will also be required for your unit. Trades work (gas, electrical, etc.) must be completed by licensed contractors, with inspections to follow.

Once you have your MCO permit, it must be displayed on the unit.


To apply in person - complete the MCO application and checklist below and bring them to Planning & Development Services.

MCO Application  MCO Checklist


Fire Safety

In addition to your Fire Safety Inspection, you must have an approved Fire Safety Plan in place.

Contact Fire Services  Fire Safety Plan

Business License

The final step is to obtain a Business License.

  • If you are only operating at a special event or market, contact the event organizer to ensure they have a valid special event or market license to cover all participants. If not, each MCO will require a Business License to operate.
  • You must have a Mobile Cooking Operation Permit and Fire Safety Inspection before applying for your Business License.

Apply for Business License

Annual Inspections

An annual inspection of Mobile Cooking Operations is mandatory. The City of Medicine Hat offers an opportunity for all operators of local food trucks to gather in one location for unit evaluations and applications. This "Food Truck Roundup" occurs in the spring of each year, and includes:

  • Alberta Health Services Inspections
  • Safety Codes inspections
  • Fire Safety inspections
  • Business License renewals

If you have made an application for a Mobile Cooking Operation with the City in the past, you will be automatically notified by mail, in advance of the inspection event.