Effective immediately, Alberta eateries no longer need approval from a public health inspector to allow pooches on patios.

Alberta’s change to the Food Regulation removes red tape for establishments that want to make outdoor dining easier for their dog-loving customers. Establishments are not required to offer dog-friendly patios, so patrons should check restaurants’ policies ahead of their visit.

“As part of our commitment to cut red tape, we have responded to requests from restaurants to lift unnecessary hurdles so more businesses can welcome dog lovers who enjoy dining outdoors. I am pleased that this change will make it easier for Albertans to support our restaurant industry while they are out with their dogs this patio season.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“Other jurisdictions have allowed dogs on patios without compromising food safety. This change is long overdue and will let AHS public health inspectors focus their efforts where they are needed most – supporting restaurants, providing advice and making sure public health requirements are followed.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“Common-sense changes to get government out of the way of everyday activities are a key part of our commitment to cut red tape. We’re supporting local businesses by making it easier to allow dogs on patios, improving the experiences of Albertans at hospitality venues all while maintaining high standards for food safety.”

Tanya Fir, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction

“AHS is supportive of dog-friendly patios as long as it’s being done in a safe manner. We will continue to be available to restaurant owners and Albertans to provide guidance and support in the establishment and maintenance of dog-friendly patios as needed.”

Dr. Laura McDougall, senior medical officer of health, Alberta Health Services

“Restaurants Canada would like to thank the Alberta government for responding to the feedback from the food-service sector and removing this hurdle to allow dogs on outdoor patios. This common-sense change reduces red tape for restaurant owners, provides them with more flexibility, and will also encourage people to dine out more often as the hard-hit food-service sector begins the long road to economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president, Western Canada, Restaurants Canada

Establishments will continue to ensure food safety standards for all customers and follow two main requirements:

  • Non-service dogs are allowed on patios only and must not pass through any indoor food handling areas, such as dining and food preparation areas.
  • Customers must keep their dogs on a leash or in a carrier and have physical control of the dog at all times.

Quick facts

  • Service dogs are allowed in indoor and outdoor dining areas.
  • An Alberta Health information sheet offers guidance to restaurants and outlines best practices to support food operators who choose to allow dogs on patios.
  • Municipal bylaws and fines are applicable to issues related to responsible dog ownership. The provincial Food Regulation focuses on food safety only.
  • Prior to this change in the Food Regulation, an operator of a food establishment was required to request authorization from AHS before allowing non-service dogs in outdoor eating areas and a public health inspector would assess the facility’s plan.
  • This regulation update applies to any food establishment with a permit from AHS that provides an outdoor eating area for customers.
  • The amendment in regulation to remove the requirement of AHS approval is for dogs only. Other animals are not included in this change.