Unsafe eateries exposed on web: Health region lists violators on Internet
A controversial new website, according to this story, offers Calgarians easy access to health inspection reports, letting them know which eateries have been closed for violations and which homes were used for marijuana grow ops.
The Calgary Health Region unveiled a new section on its website Wednesday featuring details of closure notices for restaurants, rental housing, day cares, tattoo parlours and recreational facilities like swimming pools.
Rob Bradbury, director of health protection for the health region, was quoted as saying, "It's part of our commitment to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of people."
Lindy Rollingson, president of the Alberta Restaurant and Foodservices Association, was quoted as saying, "They really should have had some input from restaurateurs before doing anything like this."
Jennifer Hillard of the Consumer Interest Alliance Inc. was quoted as saying, "The more open you are, the more confidence people have in the system."
The story says that the health region website displays closure notices -- also known as executive officer orders -- which health officials issue when a facility is deemed to pose a public health risk.
The full notices, including details of infractions, are posted on the region's site, beginning with orders issued in 2006. Because closure orders can be temporary, the website shows whether the notices are active or if they're inactive, meaning infractions have been corrected and the order lifted.
Bradbury conceded there's no way to guarantee all of the closure order information on the website is accurate. The organization posts a disclaimer saying the health region can't be held liable for any losses related to the site.
Bradbury was quoted as saying, "We're looking at all the opportunities and processes to minimize any mistakes and errors."
Rollingson was further cited as saying that another potential problem is the inspection system used by many health authorities, which contains broad categories that can make the violations seem worse than they actually are. For instance, fruit flies are included in the "vermin" category in some inspection systems.
The executive officer closure orders are available at the Calgary Health Region's website,
www.calgaryhealthregion.ca, under "Region News."