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Dairy Plant Licensing & Inspection

BCCDC licenses and inspects dairy plants on behalf of the BC government.



The Milk Industry Act and Regulations require that dairy products be produced in dairy plants that conform to the provisions of the legislation, including being in possession of a valid operating licence. Dairy Plant and Dairy Worker licenses are valid until December 31 of the year issued.

The Act and Regulations also specify standards for construction and equipment, dairy product quality (including strict microbiological and chemical controls), dairy plant worker education, pasteurization requirements and other operational standards. Dairy plants must be designed and operated in a hygienic and sanitary manner to reduce the likelihood of contamination of dairy products.

Food service establishments can make dairy products for immediate consumption as per the Milk Industry Act, Dairy Plant Exception Regulation (BC Reg. 224/2019). Please refer to Guidelines for the Production of Dairy Products in Food Establishments for more information as well as your local health authority or Environmental Health Officer for inspection and approvals related to your food service establishment.

New Dairy Plants

If you are interested in constructing a provincially licensed dairy plant, please contact Food Protection Services to discuss the application steps with a dairy inspector. A detailed proposal including the building plans must be approved by a dairy inspector prior to the start of any construction. Please refer to the overview of the application process  and documents needed for an application to inform your planning. 

Existing Dairy Plants

Once the plant is licensed, you must renew your license each calendar year.

Dairy plant licenses are not transferable to a new owner (e.g. sale of dairy plant) or to a new operating location (e.g. new dairy plant). Please contact Food Protection Services and the dairy inspectors in advance so that an inspection can be completed and outstanding issues be corrected. When requirements have been met, the original license is cancelled and a new dairy plant license is issued to the new licensee.   

If you are planning to make substantial changes to critical equipment (i.e. pasteurizers), renovations, construction, or add new products and production lines, you will need to contact the dairy inspector for their pre-approval. Please contact Food Protection Services with information about any planned significant changes to a licensed plant or new product lines so the dairy inspectors can advise on the next steps and what information must be submitted.

In BC, under the Act, “dairy plant personnel” are persons engaged in specific duties in relation to dairy products for the performance of which licenses are required under the standards and qualifications established by regulation and must be licensed as dairy processing plant workers (dairy workers).

Dairy plants apply for dairy worker licenses on behalf of their dairy workers. A dairy worker may receive a license with or without restrictions. Restrictions are noted by the license being marked “Temporary” under the Restrictions section , if the applicant has not completed the mininimum food safety training requirements at the time of application.  

In order to qualify for an unrestricted dairy worker licence, an individual must meet all of the following:
  1. Demonstrate at least 3 months dairy plant work experience that is authorized by a dairy inspector or gained under the supervision of a licensed dairy worker;
  2. Hold a certificate that confirms the satisfactory completion of a recognized dairy course, or pass a qualifying examination to ensure proficiency;
There is no continuing education requirement for workers with an unrestricted license.

BCIT currently offers the only recognized dairy courses (Food 1151 and Food 2151) in BC.

If you have received your dairy training elsewhere, please contact Food Protection Services with information about the course(s) to receive a determination of the equivalence of the content.

To receive an unrestricted license in BC, workers with experience and/or education from outside BC must:
  • Be deemed to have education and experience equivalent to those of BC dairy workers with unrestricted licenses
  • Successfully challenge the Dairy Worker Exam.

Workers with a “Temporary” restriction on their license must only work under the direct supervision of a dairy worker with no restrictions on their license. Workers are encouraged to attain their educational requirements as soon as feasible to receive a license with no restrictions. 


Plants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications by email to Food Protecton Services to reduce processing time and avoid the risk of applications being lost or delayed in the mail. Faxed submissions are no longer accepted. Submissions by mail are also accepted.

New Worker At Currently Licensed Plant (Mid-Year Application)

If you are applying for a license for a worker new to a currently licensed plant during the calendar year, please use this form. This includes workers who were previously licensed in BC and workers seeking their first license in BC. This application form is for a worker to receive a license for the current calendar year. The process typically takes 1-2 months depending on the invoice payment method chosen by the plant.

New Plant Licensing with Initial Dairy Workers Application

If you are applying for a license for a new dairy plant with your initial workers, please use this form . This form will allow you to apply for your plant license. 

Submit as many copies of this form  as needed for all dairy plant process workers with your new plant application. If you add additional workers later during the calendar year, please submit the New Worker at Currently Licensed Plant (Mid-Year Application).

Annual Plant and Worker License Renewal Application

In mid-September, all currently licensed dairy plants will receive a custom application package via email for plant and worker licenses for the next calendar year. A letter was sent to all dairy plants on September 11, 2023 with information about the changes to the process and the application package. 

Plant and worker licenses are not issued until after payment is received for worker license fees. It is highly recommended that plants submit their license applications for 2024 by midday (12:00 pm) of November 30, 2023 to ensure they can pay their invoice and receive their licenses prior to January 1, 2024.

Plants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications by email to to reduce processing time and avoid the risk of applications being lost or delayed in the mail. Faxed submissions are no longer accepted. Submissions by mail are also accepted. 
There is no license fee for a dairy plant. 

There is a $20 fee annually per dairy worker (worker license fee). The worker license fee is not prorated for licenses issued during the year. Worker licenses are not issued to dairy plants until invoices are paid in full.

Renewal of plant and worker licenses occurs each fall season so that plants have new valid plant and worker licenses as of January 1st of the next calendar year and are compliant with the Act and Regulations. The process and general timelines are shown here.

A $250 administrative late fee is charged to plants, in addition to the worker license fees, that do not submit their dairy plant applications prior to 12:00 PM of November 30, 2023 for worker licenses for the next calendar year.

If a plant has not paid its worker license fees and the $250 late fee (if applicable) in full by end of day of January 11, 2024, a Prohibition Notice will be issued  on January 17, 2024 to cease operations until payment is made and licenses are issued.

Invoices for worker license fees are issued by Provincial Health Services Authority to the billing contact information in the plant’s application. Do not send payments to Food Protection Services. Please see PHSA’s FAQ page  for more information about payment methods. 

It is strongly recommended that payment to PHSA is made over the phone via credit card to prevent lost or delayed payments in the mail.



Authority to inspect dairy processing plants located in BC is granted under the BC Milk Industry Act and delegated by the Minister of Agriculture.

For provincially licensed dairy processing plants, BCCDC Food Protection Services exercises delegated authority and operates an outcome- and risk-based inspection system. 

This system relies on the knowledge and expertise of Food Safety Specialists who conduct onsite visits at every provincially licensed dairy processing plant to identify potentially high risk processes and situations and to assess sanitary conditions. The inspection of federally licensed dairy plants has been primarily delegated to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Dairy plants list


Finished product testing requirements

All provincially licensed dairy processing plants are required to submit monthly finished product samples to an independent laboratory for rigorous microbiological and chemical testing to ensure that relevant dairy product standards are met. 

If a finished product does not meet its relevant dairy product standard, follow-up action by the BCCDC is initiated and, depending on the case, can range from ordering a plant cleanup and follow-up inspection through to suspension of the dairy processing plant’s license to operate.

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