Momentum is building for the Canadian government to strengthen the health of all Canadian children and youth by investing in school food programs. Over the last few years, more and more breakfast, mid-morning snack and lunch programs have been started, with increased provincial, parent and community support.
At the same time, two important federal initiatives would be strengthened if the Canadian government joined the rest of the G7 countries -- Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy -- in a cost shared national, universal, school food program in Canada.
Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, which focuses on “improving healthy eating information; improving nutrition quality of foods; protecting vulnerable populations, supporting increased access to and availability of nutritious food.”
A Food Policy For Canada, which was set into motion by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's November 2015 mandate letter. In this letter the Prime Minister asked the Minister, Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, to develop a food policy that “promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country”. As well in October 2017, the mandate letter of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the Minister of Health, asked her to "work with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to align the new regulatory initiatives with food policy”.
Nourish Kids Now - Calling on the federal government
#NourishKidsNow is a grassroots campaign launched by the Coalition for Healthy School Food calling on the federal government to make a cost-shared investment in healthy, universal school food programs, which would build on the investments of provinces, municipalities and communities.
One component of that campaign is a House of Common Petition addressed to the Minister of Health:
The Government’s Healthy Eating Strategy “aims to improve the food environment in Canada to make it easier for Canadians to make the healthier choice”;
The “What we heard report; A Food Policy for Canada” calls for “increasing access to affordable, nutritious and safe food among vulnerable groups such as children”, and communicates that “during consultations, many specific calls for the implementation of school food programming were made”;
In 2015, the preventable cost of nutrition-related disease in Canada was estimated at $13.8 billion annually, putting the health of children unnecessarily at risk;
UNICEF’s 2017 Report Card ranked Canada 37th of 41 rich countries with regards to children’s food access;
School food programs improve children’s nutrition, long-term health, school performance, attendance, social cohesion and contribute to local economies, as recognized by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (1997);
Grassroots organizations, charities, and provincial funding enable one in five children in Canada to access a school food program; and
A federal investment would leverage these efforts to expand their impact and improve all children’s health and educational outcomes, lowering future healthcare costs while supporting farmers and local economies.
We, the undersigned, residents and citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Health to implement an adequately-funded national cost-shared universal healthy school food program, enabling children to develop the food and nutrition habits they need to lead healthy lives and succeed at school. This aligns with Senator Eggleton’s Senate Motion No. 358 in June 2018, so that Canada joins the G7 and many countries with a national school food program.”
You can do your part!
Sign the Petition
Contact your MP - Let them know that you would like the government to make a cost-shared investment in healthy, universal school food programs
For more information, contact Debbie Field, Coordinator, Coalition for Healthy School Food email@example.com, 416 537-6856.