Coalition for Healthy School Food welcomes historic federal investment in schools;
urges federal government to create a National School Food Program
Media release - For Immediate Release
August 27, 2020 - $2 billion in new federal funding will be provided to provinces and territories so that schools can safely reopen during COVID-19 this fall.
School food program practitioners will advocate for these funds to cover additional cleaning and equipment costs so that essential lunch, breakfast and snack programs can be operated safely.
“Nourished kids learn and behave better. Drinking water and eating a variety of nutrient rich vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein foods support a healthy immune system.” Said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Peterborough Medical Officer of Health, “ To top it off, growing evidence shows connections between healthy eating and positive mental health, and eating together helps us feel more connected (even when we are 2 metres apart).”
Read more from Dr. Salvaterra about easy to implement additional safety measures to ensure that school food programs operate safely.
“We welcome this funding” said Debbie Field, Coordinator of Coalition for Healthy School Food, “because it shows that there is nothing stopping the Canadian government from investing in student health and education. We see that this is a step towards Canada joining the other G7 countries in creating a universal cost-shared National School Food Program.”
The Coalition for Healthy School Food, a group of more than 130 health, education, Indigenous and environmental organizations from every province and territory, is calling on the federal government to allocate $200 million towards a dedicated School Food Fund to support the health and wellbeing of children, families and communities, stimulate the Canadian economy and inform the government's development of a National School Food Program. This investment would not only invest in essential Canadian-made kitchen equipment for schools, but could support pilots that would inform the federal government as they work with provinces and territories to implement a full program as promised in their Budget 2019 with an annual investment of $360 million to start.
The $2 billion federal investment comes one day after the Quebec government’s announcement of additional $11 million in funding for lunch, snack and breakfast programs. “La Cantine pour tous and the Quebec Collective of the Coalition for Healthy School Food welcome this decision of the Government of Quebec” said Thibaud Liné, director at Cantine pour tous. “We are calling on all governments to provide universal access to school meals beyond the emergency response to the current crisis and creating long term sustainable programs.” See more about the Quebec announcement here and how it can lay the basis for a universal school food program.
For more information :
Lorraine Grouvel, Communications manager, Cantine pour tous, firstname.lastname@example.org