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Call for a National Universal Healthy School Food Program has Municipal Support!

Updated: Jan 23, 2019


As many of you know, in June of this year Senator Art Eggleton introduced a motion calling on the federal government to launch a National Nutrition Program for children and youth.


The development of a universal healthy school food program has been at the centre of the Coalition for Healthy School Food's work since its inception in 2013, and the 40-group Coalition worked with Senator Eggleton to see this motion introduced. You can read our full statement supporting Senate Motion 358 here.


In addition to Senator Eggleton’s motion at the federal level, we are thrilled to share that momentum has been building at the municipal level in support of a national universal healthy school food program.


Here is the support that has been unfolding:


2017

On June 21 the Vancouver Food Policy Council passed a motion for a National School Food Program:


BE IT RESOLVED that

  • the Vancouver Food Policy Council recommends that the City of Vancouver advocate to the provincial and federal governments regarding investment in a cost-shared universal healthy school food program that would enable all students to have access to healthy meals at school every day, as advocated by the Coalition for Health School Food.

  • the Vancouver Food Policy council recommends that the City of Vancouver advocate to other municipalities through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to adopt this motion and advocate to provincial and federal governments.

The full text of this motion is available on the VFPC's Children and Youth Working Group website.


On June 27, the City of Vancouver passed a motion to bring a resolution to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for them to advocate for a Universal Healthy School Food Program to provincial and federal governments.


On October 3, the City of Toronto passed Motion MM32.9 Supporting a National School Food Program whereby the council agreed to:

  1. Endorse the Coalition for Healthy School Food's National School Food Program campaign.

  2. Request the Government of Canada to implement a cost-shared universal healthy school food program that would enable all students to have access to healthy meals at school every day, as advocated by the Coalition for Healthy School Food.

2018

In March, thanks to the City of Vancouver's leadership, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Board passed a resolution to advocate for a Universal Healthy School Food Program to the federal government:


WHEREAS, 1.7 million Canadian households experience food insecurity, and the current patchwork of school food programming reaches only a small percentage of our over 5 million students, with Canada remaining one of the only Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations without a national school food program;


WHEREAS, the Coalition for Healthy School Food is working at a national level to advocate for the creation of a cost-shared Universal Healthy School Food Program that will enable all students in Canada to have access to healthy meals at school, serving culturally appropriate, local, sustainable food to the fullest extent possible;


RESOLVED, that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities advocate for a Universal Healthy School Food Program to the federal government.


In April, the British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) passed a motion specifically endorsing the Coalition for Healthy School Food, which you can read in full on page E42 here:


(a) endorse the Coalition for Healthy Schools Food’s national Universal Healthy School

Food Program campaign;


(b) request that the Ministry of Education, the federal Ministry of Health and the provincial

Ministry of Health provide new money to invest in a cost-shared Universal Healthy

School Food Program;


(c) enter into a dialogue with the Canadian School Boards Association to support the

Coalition for Healthy School Food’s initiatives; and,


(d) advocate for collaboration between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and

the Ministry of Children and Family Development to support the Coalition for Healthy

School Food’s initiatives.


In April, the Vancouver School Board also joined other British Columbia school districts to advance efforts by passing a motion directing staff to report back on steps that can be taken to develop a universal meal program in the district:


“IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT the Board ask staff to provide a report on the steps to be taken and costs associated with a district wide plan to address food security and healthy eating through food programmes in all our schools so that no child is hungry and every child eats healthy.”


This summer, the City of Toronto's Board of Health passed a motion endorsing the Coalition’s call for a national universal healthy school food program. The minutes can be viewed here, where the Board of Health:

  1. Requested the Medical Officer of Health to consider opportunities to address the identified gaps in student nutrition programs and work with Student Nutrition Ontario-Toronto to develop a plan to address these needs.

  2. Supported and endorsed the call by Senator Art Eggleton and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for a federal universal health school food program.

  3. Requested Ontario-based public health boards to express their support and endorsement for a federal universal health school food program called for by Senator Art Eggleton and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

  4. Directed that the Board of Health's decision and the report (June 28, 2018) from the Medical Officer of Health be forwarded to appropriate federal government officials.


We've been excited to see this support for a national school food program grow as schools and governments increasingly realize the unparalleled value and significance of good food in all schools.


If you would like to see your local government take action in support of the momentum that’s building, we encourage you to reach out to them today!


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Coalition for Healthy School Food

At Food Secure Canada

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schoolfood@foodsecurecanada.org

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© 2018 by the Coalition for Healthy School Food. The Coalition for Healthy School Food is a network coordinated by Food Secure Canada.