BH.01.JAN1119.C01 - Hedgehog Inspection Database Upgrade

To: Board of Health
Meeting Date: January 11, 2019
Report No.: BH.01.JAN1119.C01
Prepared By: Jessica Morris, Manager, Environmental Health; Kelly Briscoe, Public Health Inspector, Environmental Health; Teema Saliba, Program Assistant, Environmental Health
Approved By: Christopher Beveridge, Director, Health Protection
Submitted By: Dr. Nicola J. Mercer, MD, MBA, MPH, FRCPC, Medical Officer of Health & CEO

Key Points

The Hedgehog Inspection Database System (Hedgehog) was upgraded October 2017 to link with new internal business processes, such as Check Before You Choose.

  • The upgrade was extensive, combining changes to program layout and functionality, in addition to multiple staff training sessions and working with the internal Information Technology (IT) team. New hardware was tested and issued to public health inspectors.
  • The upgrade resulted in enhanced data quality and improved functionality for public health inspections in the field, elevated professionalism with the client interface and on-line data reporting for public access to inspection results disclosure.
  • Hedgehog is used to collect, sort, display and share inspection information for the food safety, safe water, rabies control, health hazard, vector borne disease, personal service settings and Smoke-Free Ontario Act program areas.

Directions & Goals

Service-Centred Approach

  • We are committed to providing excellent service to anyone interacting with public health.

Organizational Capacity

  • We will improve our capacity to effectively deliver Public Health programs and services.

Operational Plan Objectives

  • Improve health and quality of life
  • Reduced morbidity and mortality

Summary of OPHS Program Requirements

OPHS Program: Food Safety, Safe Water, Environmental Health, Health Hazard Prevention and Management, Rabies Prevention and Control, Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control


  • To prevent or reduce the burden of infectious diseases of public health importance.
  • To prevent the occurrence of rabies in humans.
  • To prevent or reduce the burden of food-borne illness.
  • To prevent or reduce the burden of water-borne illness related to drinking water. To prevent or reduce the burden of water-borne illness and injury related to recreational water use.
  • To prevent or reduce the burden of illness from health hazards in the physical environment.
  • To enable and ensure a consistent and effective response to public health emergencies and emergencies with public health impacts.


  • To publicly post results of routine and complaint-based inspections

Accountability Indicators:

2018 Inspection Disclosure Indicators 2018 Actual

Food premises inspections


Public pools and spas inspections


Recreational water facilities inspections


Personal services settings inspections


Tanning beds inspections


Recreational camps inspections


Licensed child care inspections


Convictions of tobacco and e-cigarette retailers


Infection prevention and control lapses


Small drinking water systems water advisories


Performance varience or discrepancy identified:

  • None


Hedgehog has been used in Ontario since 2008, when the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care offered one-time grants to public health units if they adopted the system. The system has been slowly evolving since.

A significant upgrade to Hedgehog occurred in October 2017, which affected the day-to-day inspections and operations of the Health Protection Inspection Teams. Most other public health units in Ontario also undertook this upgrade.

Prior to launching the upgrade, a pre-implementation process prepared a project plan for the new version of the database. Consultation with other public health units and Hedgehog software developers was key to a smooth transition. All inspection staff required training, which was provided by both the vendor and internal Hedgehog Administrators. Three days of administrator training was followed by three days of public health inspector user training provided by the vendor, via webinar.

The conversion/upgrade process took over a week to complete. During this time a system shutdown was required to allow the upgrade to occur. To maintain business continuity, public health inspectors continued their daily work using paper/manual processes and were required to back-enter inspections that were completed during the blackout period once the new database was operational.

The updated version of Hedgehog has resulted in enhanced data quality and improved functionality for public health inspections in the field, and elevated professionalism with the client interface. In addition, the upgraded system allows daily Check Before Your Choose updates increasing disclosure efficiency and public satisfaction.

The user interface is more efficient resulting in a shorter learning curve for new staff and ease of use for staff for day-to-day functions. Currently, a new public health inspector accredited educational institution (i.e. Conestoga College) has begun incorporating this inspection software system into their curriculum. This will potentially create training efficiencies during the onboarding process with future new inspectors and practicum placement staff.

As with any software system, Hedgehog will continue to require internal time commitments necessary for ongoing system upgrades, training and additional development and database enhancements.

Related Reports

BOH Report BH.01.SEP0518.C12 – 2018 Mid-Year Inspection Disclosure Program Performance Indicator Summary Program/Service Information Report.