Case Study

Toronto, ON

The City of Toronto was formed in 1998, with a population of around 2.6 million residents. 6 former cities and Metropolitan Toronto were amalgamated, resulting in the sixth largest government in North America and the fifth largest city in the continent. 

The Challenge

The Public Health Department is responsible for a long list of environment health considerations throughout the city. This included the regulation of approximately 18,000 food establishments. The city’s food inspection branch found itself under scrutiny after prominent newspaper articles raised questions on the effectiveness of the process, raising citywide concern. The Public Health Department started looking for a new system that would make the inspection process more efficient and transparent.

The Solution

With the help of AMANDA from CSDC, Toronto reinvented the Food Safety Inspection restaurant program. It became the second city in all of North America to post its inspection result on a public website; Dine Safe.

Though the core reason for implementing the new system was food safety, the department later started using AMANDA for other programs as well, such as the Healthy Environments groups and Infection Control. Inspection results on day nurseries and smoking bylaw infractions are managed within the system. Information related to the department’s vaccine cold chain inspections are also tracked within the system.

CSDC’s AMANDA also manages programs like pool safety, barber shops, and tattoo parlors. Whenever a complaint comes in, the investigation process is automatically initiated through the software solution.

The Details

Any member of the public can access the City of Toronto DineSafe website to search for inspection status of the city’s eating establishments. The new system consolidated and organized all the data related to this program, providing information to make the program transparent for the city.

Public Health inspectors have greatly benefited from the new system. Accessing data to keep track of which restaurants are due for inspection has become simpler. The department also ensures that the same information is recorded by each inspector, allowing more consistent comparisons. On-site inspectors use an external mobile application which is connected to the main database.

Along with improving the workflow efficiency, the department uses data stored in the AMANDA database to support prosecutions against restaurants that violate food safety codes.

Other Uses Within Public Health:

Though the core reason for implementing the new system was food safety, the department later started using AMANDA for other programs, such as the Healthy Environments groups and Infection Control. Inspection results on day nurseries and smoking bylaw infractions are managed within the system. Information related to the department’s vaccine cold chain inspections are also tracked within the system.

AMANDA also manages programs like pool safety, barber shops, and tattoo parlors. Whenever a complaint comes in, the investigation process is initiated automatically through the software solution.

Security Considerations:

Municipal legislation requires that all personal data including all health-related information must be protected.  AMANDA includes built-in security measures to ensure complete security.

Future Plans:

The Public Health Department of Toronto’s main goal is to improve reporting functionalities with more standard reports to support the business area’s need for infomation to respond to inquiries, and to manage their activities and plans for the future. The second goal is to move into a more web-based user interface.  CSDC’s AMANDA is helping the Public Health Department of Toronto meet these goals. The flexible framework of the system is ready to take on any challenges that the Public Health Department of Toronto is faced with.

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