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Mobile Cooking Operations within Medicine Hat

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This page provides the information needed for operating a Mobile Cooking Operation in the City of Medicine Hat.

A Mobile Cooking Operation (MCO) is a vehicle, trailer or cart that may be parked or sited on a temporary basis and when stationary, is used to produce, cook, sell or distribute food. Public safety is of utmost importance, so MCOs require certain permits and approvals. Operating a Mobile Cooking Operation without approvals may result in closure of the MCO.

Types of units which are considered MCOs (among others):

  • Food truck
  • Hot dog cart
  • Doughnut shack
  • Vending truck
  • Chip truck
  • Burger wagon

Mobile Cooking Operations require the following approvals. To apply, see further details below.

  Food Handling Permit from Alberta Health Services
  Mobile Cooking Operation Occupancy Permit from Planning & Development Services (City)
  Fire Safety Inspection from Fire Services (City)
  Business License from Planning & Development Services (City)

Food Handling Permits
are issued by Alberta Health Services (AHS), not the City. AHS has specific definitions for types of mobile vending units and types of food offered. Once approved, a mobile unit will be issued a permit and an identifying decal, which must both be displayed in a visible location on the unit.

How to apply:

There is no fee to apply for a Food Handling Permit. To apply, contact:

Alberta Health Services
Environmental Public Health
200 - 88 Valleyview Drive SW
Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8N6
Phone 403.502.8205

icon_PDFMobile Food Vending Units (AHS)

icon_PDFFood Handling Permit Application (AHS)

Mobile Cooking Operation Permits
are issued by Safety Codes Officers at the City. Once approved, a mobile unit will be issued the permit, which must be displayed in a visible location on the unit. It signifies that the unit meets Safety Codes regulations and is safe to operate within Medicine Hat.

Your application will be reviewed by a Safety Codes Officer, who will inform you of all subsidiary Trade Permits which will be required for your particular mobile unit (electrical, plumbing, gas). To obtain such Trade Permits, the work must be completed by licensed contractors, and City inspections must be done for each permit.

How to apply:

You can print the application form below, complete it and visit Planning & Development Services. Or just drop by and we will assist you. There is no fee to apply for a Mobile Cooking Operation Permit. However, permit fees are payable for any applicable Trade Permits. See Fee Schedule.

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374

icon_PDFMobile Cooking Operation Checklist

icon_PDFMobile Cooking Operation Permit Application

Fire Safety Inspections
are issued by Fire Safety Codes Officers at City of Medicine Hat Fire Services.

How to apply:

To get the required Fire Safety Inspection of your Mobile Cooking Operation, contact Fire Services (below). There is no fee for this inspection.

Fire Services
Medicine Hat Fire Station #2
1303 Trans Canada Way SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 1J1
Phone: 403.529.8282


Fire Safety Plan

In addition, you must have an approved Fire Safety Plan for your Mobile Cooking Operation. Download and print the document below and post it within your MCO. Or, you may obtain it by contacting Fire Services (contact info above). Make certain that all your staff are familiar with the information in this Fire Safety Plan.

icon_PDFFire Safety Plan - Mobile Cooking Operation

Do I need a Business License?

Most likely, yes. Any Mobile Cooking Operation (MCO) which operates outside the hours of a special event or market requires a valid City of Medicine Hat Business License.

If your MCO is only operating at a special event or market (i.e. trade show, fair, farmers' market), a business license may not be necessary. Contact the event organizer to ensure they have a valid special event or market license to cover all participants. If no such license was issued to the organizer, then each MCO will require a City Business License to participate.

You must have a Mobile Cooking Operation Permit and Fire Safety Inspection (see above) before applying for your Business License.

For more about Business Licenses, visit Business License Answers.

How to apply:

You can print the application form below, complete it and visit Planning & Development Services. Or just drop by and we will assist you.

icon_PDFBusiness License Application

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374

A Business License expires after one year, and renewal notices are mailed to licensed businesses 30 days before the renewal is due. Business License fees for Mobile Cooking Operations are classified under Schedule "A" in the Fee Schedule.

foodtrucks-rowAn annual inspection of Mobile Cooking Operations is mandatory. The City of Medicine Hat offers an opportunity for all operators of local food trucks (Mobile Cooking Operations) 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

How do I take part in the Food Truck Roundup?

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. It's a convenient way to get a pre-season check of your unit; so why not join the Food Truck Roundup?

What if I miss the Food Truck Roundup?

Then, you must contact the departments below for your annual inspections:

Fire Services
Phone: 403.529.8282

Safety Codes Services
Phone 403.529.8374

Alberta Health Services
Phone 403.502.8205

For parking rules, and other conditions of operation of a Mobile Cooking Operation within Medicine Hat, see:

icon_PDFMobile Food Vendor Conditions