Standard Operating Practices



Issued under the authority of the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada

Policy Bulletin 85

1. Purpose

To provide direction to Food Services staff in those institutions that are providing meals to inmates through Small Group Meal Preparation.

2. Legislative Authority

Commissioner’s Directive 880: Food Services.

3. Cross References

  • Standard Operating Practices on Materiel Management;
  • Sanitation Code for Canada’s Food Service Industry;
  • CD 345 and Standard Operating Practices on Fire Safety;
  • Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating;
  • Religious Diets: General Guidelines;
  • CSC Security Manual: Part 1: Operational and Preventive Security Guidelines and Standards;
  • Memorandum of Understanding between CORCAN Agribusiness and CSC Food Services;
  • Canadian General Standards Board Food Standards;
  • Minimum Quality Standards for Agribusiness Products;
  • Treasury Board of Canada: Hospitality Policy;
  • Financial Administration Act.

4. Inmate Meals

Inmates shall be responsible for all aspects of meal delivery namely meal planning, food purchasing and storage, food preparation and service, and hygiene and sanitation with no direct supervision from Food Services Staff.

Inmates shall receive, prior to or upon transfer to the independent living units, appropriate training to ensure that the knowledge and skills required for making sound food related decisions are made available to them.

4.1 Inmate Training

The training, which shall be provided by qualified CSC staff or contract employees, shall address the following specific areas:

  • Nutrition and healthy eating practices;
  • Basic cooking methods;
  • Menu planning;
  • Grocery shopping/budgeting; and
  • Kitchen safety and sanitation.

To foster the appropriate social and learning experiences, including household budgeting and cost control, inmates will be strongly encouraged to pool resources and cooperate in the daily food-related activities.

Food Services shall provide on-going support to inmates on food related questions/problems at their request. Food Services shall also ensure that basic food preparation cookbooks and instruction manuals for unit kitchen equipment are available on the unit’s premises for consultation by inmates.

4.1.1 Approval of training packages

A registered dietitian shall review Small Group Meal Preparation training packages to ensure that the nutrition education content and sample menus are based on and follow Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating guidelines and standards for normal healthy individuals.

Food Services personnel shall review the kitchen safety and sanitation content of training to ensure that it incorporates the principles of safe food handling appropriate to a household setting.

Any changes or amendments to training manuals or menus will also require approval from a registered dietitian or Food Services personnel, as appropriate, to ensure that they follow the standards mentioned above.

4.2 Nutrition

Inmates shall be responsible for the quality of their food intake and, consequently, their nutritional well being.

5. Food Costs

5.1 Purchasing

The Food Services Manager or Coordinator shall follow CSC rules and regulations on purchasing outlined in the Standard Operating Practices on Materiel Management.

5.1.1 CORCAN Agribusiness

In those regions where CORCAN operates an Agribusiness Program, Food Services should purchase and use food products produced by the institutional farms.

Business dealings between CORCAN and CSC Food Services shall be managed according to the Memorandum of Understanding.

5.2 Food Specifications and Standards

All food products made available to the inmates through institutional grocery stores/food distribution centres shall conform to:

  • the requirements of the Canadian Acts and Regulations governing food products as outlined in the Sanitation Code;
  • the requirements of the Food Standards set by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB);
  • the Minimum Quality Standards for Agribusiness Products issued by National Headquarters.

Food Services should refer to the most up-to-date list for food standards, which includes details on latest issues and amendments, and ordering instructions.

Government inspected and/or graded foods should bear the appropriate stamp indicating such inspection and/or grading has been carried out.

In institutions where the Small Group Meal Preparation initiative requires inmates to carry out food purchases in the community, only grocers who conform to provincial and/or local standards, as applicable, will be approached.

5.3 Receipt of Food Deliveries

Food deliveries should be checked upon receipt. Particular attention should be paid to the following:

  • foods and quantities received should correspond to what was ordered;
  • perishables should be checked for freshness or bruising;
  • canned foods should be checked for swelling or leaks;
  • frozen foods should be checked for evidence of thawing.

Commodities that are found to be unsatisfactory and do not meet the standards prescribed must not be accepted and should be returned to the supplier for replacement.

5.4 Maintenance of Living Unit Budgets and equipment

Inmates shall be responsible for managing their food costs within a budget approved by the Institutional Head.

Inmates shall be held accountable for any willful loss/waste of food products in their care.

5.5 Use of Living Unit Food Stocks

Foods issued to inmates during the course of their participation to this initiative shall be used solely for the purpose of meal preparation.

Inmates cannot remove food stocks from institutional premises upon transfer or release. Inmates, upon transfer or release, cannot distribute food stocks from their living unit to inmates in other units.

Appropriate procedures should be established to ensure the proper disposition of grocery items found in the unit kitchen or in an inmate’s possession, and considered to be either an unauthorized item or in excess of the group entitlement.

5.6 Waste

Food Services shall endeavour to minimize wasting of food stocks by tracking usage of food items as well as by obtaining input from the inmate committees.

6. Diets

Inmates shall be responsible for adhering to the requirements of their religious or therapeutic diets.

Inmates may require specialty food items to adhere to the requirements of their religion or therapeutic diets. The specialty food items required for such diets shall be stocked in institutional grocery stores/ food distribution centers except for institutions where the SGMP initiative requires inmates to carry out food purchases in the community.

Chaplaincy or Health Services, as appropriate, is to provide support to assist inmates in following their prescribed diets. Discontinuation of the special diet should be reported to Food Services so that food distribution centers can be advised to stop stocking specialty food items.

Food Services shall consult the Religious Diets, General Guidelines to familiarize themselves with their role/responsibilities.

7. Other Food Service Activities

In addition to providing food to inmates and staff meals (if applicable), Food Services can be responsible for providing food and services as required in the following programs:

7.1 Hospitality

Subject to the provisions of the Financial Administration Act and Treasury Board of Canada: Hospitality Policy, hospitality (i.e. meals and/or non-alcoholic refreshments) may be provided to staff members, authorized guests, eligible organizations outside of an institution and inmates.

All expenses incurred in the provision of food and beverages for hospitality (group programs, functions, special events and/or club activities) as approved by the institutional head shall be recovered by Food Services in the form of journal vouchers from the appropriate budget manager.

Hospitality wherever possible should be extended at the Institution using the resources and the facilities of the Food Services section subject to the operational requirements of it.

7.2 Socialization

Socialization is the provision of foodstuffs and/or non-alcoholic beverages to authorized guests, members of the general public and inmates participating in approved programs and activities such as annually programmed social activities.

Food costs for the approved social functions shall be borne by the responsible organization, activity centre or trust account of the sponsoring group such as the Inmate Welfare Fund and recovered to the Food Services budget.

7.3 Private Family Visits

The Chief, Food Services shall credit each inmate eligible for a private family visit for an amount equal to the approved per diem X the duration of the visit (number of days).

The provision of food to inmates for the private family visits program should preferably be arranged with local grocery suppliers. In such a case, inmates should purchase the required foods directly from the grocery supplier.

Costs for the inmates and visitors who participate in the Private Family Visiting program shall be recovered to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The amount of food ordered shall be subject to the approval of the institutional head.

8. Health

8.1 Hygiene and Sanitation

The storage, supply and handling of food in the institutional grocery stores/food distribution centres shall comply with the Sanitation Code of Canada’s Food Services Industry, issued by the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association.

Inmates shall be responsible for applying the hygiene and sanitation practices appropriate to a household environment within the living unit kitchens.

CSC does not assume responsibility for any food item obtained from sources other than those described above and brought into the institution by inmates for their own use.

8.1.1 Food Services Staff Duties in Sanitation

Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator:

The Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator shall be responsible for:

Adherence to the sanitary standards in all aspects of the food services program, including the kitchen facilities located in the living units.

On-job-training of food services personnel in the techniques of how to maintain proper sanitation and hygiene standards;

The Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator must ensure that he/she and all of the Food Services staff have the knowledge of food borne diseases. An explanation of food borne illness can be found in the Sanitation code, Section A.

Food Services Employees:

Food Services Employees, in the normal course of daily duties, shall be responsible for adherence to hygiene and sanitary regulations and the Sanitation Code.

Particular attention should be paid to the following:

8.1.2 Sanitation Inspections

Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator:

The Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator shall inspect the food storage and distribution areas of the institutional grocery stores/food distribution centres at least weekly. A sanitation inspection checklist is to be used and records of the inspections to be kept for a period of at least three (3) months. Sample Inspection forms and schedules can be found in the CSC Food Services Quality Assurance Guide.

Careful attention shall be given to refrigerator and freezer temperatures.

The supervisors shall ensure that all related equipment and facilities are in a hygienic condition and that proper procedures are being followed.

Any deficiencies which may cause health or safety hazards are considered unacceptable and shall initiate remedial action immediately.

The Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator or his authorized representative shall perform regular safety and sanitation inspections of the kitchen facilities located in the independent living units. Deficiencies shall be reported to the responsible Manager to ensure that they are being corrected and prompt action is being taken. A sample unit inspection form can be found in Annex "B".

8.1.3 Employee Hygiene and Health: (Sanitation Code: section E)

Hand washing signs should be posted within the institutional grocery stores/food distribution centres in proper and prominent areas, e.g. washrooms, food preparation areas near the sinks or wash basins.

Personal hygiene checklist should be posted throughout the institutional grocery stores/food distribution centres and staff dining areas and enforced.

Staff and inmates shall wear clean, Food Services clothing, including hats or hairnets if necessary or proper work attire authorized and issued by CSC.

Such clothing should not be worn outside of the food service establishment.

Rings or jewellery that may constitute a safety hazard shall not be worn.

8.1.4 Inmate Workers

In addition to the above and where required by Provincial regulations, inmates engaged in food handling and packaging in the institutional grocery stores/food distribution centres should be subject to an initial medical examination to ensure that they are fit for work in a food service environment.

Food Services Manager or Co-ordinators are expected to refer inmates with the following conditions to Health Services for treatment:

  • uncovered, open, weeping skin lesion or wound;
  • upper respiratory infection (cold, flu);
  • gastro-intestinal infection (gastro, diarrhea);
  • poor personal hygiene;
  • any other health problem they believe should be referred for treatment.
8.1.5 Infectious Diseases

A correctional environment poses unique challenges in the area of control of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and tuberculosis. For these reasons, food services employees should be trained in the prescribed methods to handle the presence of blood or body fluids resulting from accidents or inmate altercations in the institutional grocery store/food distribution centres.

All food services employees shall exercise universal precautions shall be exercised regardless of infection status.

Information on proper methods to handle blood and body fluids is available from the Occupational Health and Safety Agency of Health Canada or may be obtained from each institution’s Health Services.

Certified first aid kits in the Food Services area shall contain the supplies needed to protect staff from direct contact with blood or body fluids (disposable gloves, etc.). The institutional Occupational Health and Safety Committee is responsible for monitoring the first aid kits to ensure they contain these supplies. The Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator is responsible for renewing the first aid kit supplies.

9. Safety

9.1 General Requirements

It is the policy of CSC Food Services to provide and maintain a safe work place and safe working conditions.

Employees shall perform their work in a proper manner and familiarize themselves with their responsibilities toward maintaining a safe and healthy workplace and the regulations that pertain to their jobs.

All accidents (NO MATTER HOW SMALL OR INSIGNIFICANT) shall be reported, recorded and remedial action taken to prevent reoccurrence.

All food services workers should be encouraged to discuss possible work hazards and be allowed to recommend remedies.

For more information on occupational safety and health regulations and procedures, please contact your regional Return to Work Advisor and/or Occupational Health and Safety Advisor.

9.2 Fire safety

Food Service Managers or Co-ordinators shall become familiar with all fire safety regulations and procedures of the Correctional Service of Canada, as outlined in CD 345 and the Standard Operating Practices Fire Safety.

Inmates residing in Independent Living Units where kitchens or cooking facilities are provided should follow fire safety rules and regulations as established by the institutional head as well as the Standard Operating Practices on Fire Safety issued by NHQ.

10. Security

10.1 Security of food

All storerooms and refrigeration units in the grocery store/food distribution centre shall be lockable and access is to be limited to staff only.

All storerooms and refrigeration units shall be kept locked at all times except for receiving and issuing foods and supplies.

The security keys for opening of the storerooms shall be kept in a secure location.

Any discovery of theft of food must be reported immediately to the appropriate authorities.

Inmates should be checked at random, or whenever theft of an item is suspected, for contraband before leaving the institutional grocery store/food distribution centres.

Regular inspections of the entire institutional grocery store/food distribution centres premises should be undertaken to minimize the possible production of any unauthorized substances (brews, etc.).

10.1.1 Bartering of Food

Foodstuffs purchased by CSC Food Services, using public funds, are for daily meals and/or other functions for inmates and staff (if applicable). Such foods are not to be sold or bartered to any individual or organization for personal gain.

10.2 Security of Equipment
10.2.1 Control of knives and sharp tools

Institutional heads shall be responsible for ensuring that appropriate procedures are in place for effective tool control through institutional standing orders. Food Services staff shall ensure that control of knives, meat forks and other sharp instruments is performed according to these standing orders.

10.2.2 Control of Other Equipment

All equipment, including the living unit kitchen equipment, should be regularly checked to ensure that they have not been altered, vandalized or stripped of parts (particularly electrical).

All incidents of equipment dysfunction or unauthorized alterations should be reported immediately.

Inmates shall be held accountable for any wilful damage/loss of the living unit kitchen equipment in their care.

11. Inmate Employment

Wherever possible and appropriate, Food Services should provide meaningful employment opportunities for inmates to assist them to become law-abiding citizens by developing work, social and life skills.

Under the direct supervision of Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator, Food Service Inmate Workers shall perform all duties related to the proper daily operation of the institutional grocery store/food distribution centre.

The Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator shall write the job descriptions for Food Services inmate workers. A signed copy of the inmate position descriptions will be prominently posted in the Food Services area. The workers shall nonetheless receive a verbal and written explanation concerning all general rules and procedures.

11.1 Work Schedules

The Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator shall prepare, distribute and post a work schedule for all institutional grocery store/food distribution centre inmate workers.

Unless there is prior approval by the Food Services Manager or Co-ordinator, the posted schedule shall not be changed except in the case of an emergency.


Original signed by:
Ole Ingstrup
on February 21, 2000

Annex 880-02"A" - Food Services Monthly Report

Food Services managerial and financial information shall be reported on the Food Services monthly report.

The report shall summarize data for food issued to inmates, meals issued to staff (where applicable), other institutions and/or eligible outside organizations, but exclude foodstuffs purchased from the inmate canteen.

The following information is required to complete the FSMR. In order to ensure that the information is comparable from one institution to another, the information noted on the FSMR should be collected in the suggested manner.

Inmate Meal Days
This figure should be calculated by adding the actual daily physical inmate counts for each day of a given month.
Officer Meal Days
(Number of staff receiving meals) x (the number of days in the month) x 0.45
Officer Overtime Meal Days
All overtime meals x 0.45
Purchases from outside suppliers
The sum of all foods purchased during the reporting period.
Purchases from agribusiness
The sum of all food purchased from CORCAN agribusiness operations during the reporting period.
Purchase Credits
This includes all Other Food Services activities for which the cost of foods used were credited back to Food Services.
Opening and closing Inventory
These figures should be based on the results of an actual physical inventory of all foods stored within the Food Services area performed at the end of each reporting month.

The closing inventory is the total value of the food inventory on-hand at the end of the reporting month.

The opening inventory is the total value of the food inventory on-hand at the beginning of the reporting month. It should be equal to the closing inventory of the preceding month.
Ration Account
The budget forecast for purchasing food supplies other than CORCAN Agribusiness products. The total budget should be divided by the number of reporting months. The resulting figure should be entered each reporting month.
Agribusiness Account
The budget forecast for purchasing CORCAN Agribusiness products for the current fiscal year. The total budget should be divided by the number of reporting months. The resulting figure should be entered each reporting month.
Unrecoverable Credits
This includes the cost of all Other Food Services activities for which the cost of foods used were not credited back to Food Services. Meals, therapeutic and religious diet items, hospital extras, hospitality, socialization and private family visits must be reported separately.

Once the Food Services monthly report has been completed and checked for accuracy, a copy of the report must be forwarded to NHQ Food Services prior to the last day of the month following the reporting month.

The form that is required to complete the FSMR is now available in electronic format from NHQ Food Services.

Annex 880-02"B" - Sample Living Unit Kitchen Inspection Form

Kitchen Inspection Unit Report

Accommodation Building #

Unit #

Please be advised that an inspection of the kitchen was conducted on . Below, please find a list of noted deficiencies. You are required to correct the items indicated by . A follow-up inspection will be conducted at that time.

If you require assistance in maintaining the kitchen to the required standards, please seek systems from Food Services, as they will advise you in the appropriate manner.

Problem Area Description

Small Group Meal Preparation
Quality Assurance Inspection Form



  Accept. Non-Accept. Comments
Refrigerator & Freezer      

- racks clean


- interior clean and free of spills


- no offensive odour


- outside doors and handles clean


- inside and outside clean and free of spills


- no food left inside


- no evidence of food spills


- no pots left to stand

Microwave Oven      

- inside and outside clean and free of spills


- no offensive odours


- no foods left inside

Vent Hood      

- no grease build-up


- clean and free of spills

Small Appliances      

- clean


- neatly stored away in the appropriate location


- no octopus plug-ins or dangling cords


- neatly organized


- insides and outsides clean


- clean


- no debris


- not cluttered


- hand washing soap available


- clean


- no dirty dishes


- no debris or spills

Cooking and Serving Utensils      

- knives, forks, spoons stored in clean compartments with handles pointing outward


- glasses and cups stored inverted on sanitary surfaces


- pots and pans properly stored


- no evidence of food particles on dishes

Dining Area      

- table and chairs clean, no debris




Safe Food Handling
  Accept. Non-Accept. Comments
Refrigerator and Freezer      

- open tin cans not used for food storage


- leftovers stored in covered containers


- raw foods not stored on top of cooked foods


- ground grown vegetables kept on bottom shelf


- appropriate temperature


- no open bags of food


- no cleaning products stored next to foods


- proper quantities of food in storage

Waste Disposal      

- tightly fitted lids on garbage cans


- no overflow of garbage from garbage cans

Cleaning Gear      

- neatly stored


- sufficient quantities of cleaning products available


- all cleaning products stored with lids


- clean wiping cloths




Equipment Condition
Equipment Accept. Non-Accept. Comments