On February 10, 2023, the Ontario Chapter of the Coalition for Healthy School Food submitted its recommendations to the Ontario government’s pre-budget consultations.
The Chapter urged the government to increase its investment in school food programs, specifically to:
Increase the Government’s annual investment in Ontario’s Student Nutrition Program by 30%, from $27.9 million to $36.3 million to accommodate rising food costs2 and greater demand for the program in light of COVID. This will work towards the goal that all children and youth in Ontario can access a healthy and culturally appropriate meal or snack, in a non-stigmatizing manner, at school each day.
Include an infrastructure allocation of $3.5 million for Ontario’s student nutrition programs. Infrastructure used by student nutrition programs, such as fridges and freezers to store fresh, whole, nutritious foods, are in urgent need of repair or replacement. We ask your government to include an investment for infrastructure in the upcoming budget so that student nutrition providers are equipped to prepare and serve fresh, healthy foods, which will reduce reliance on pre-packaged items.
Invest $5 million in innovative research-based school food program demonstration models to build on the strength of current Student Nutrition Programs. Programs would include robust research and evaluation, test out costing, inform program expansion, and uncover cost efficiencies.
Consult with First Nation, Inuit and Métis leadership and provide additional funding to Indigenous Nations and communities in Ontario to advance Indigenous-led school food initiatives.
You can read the Chapter’s full submission here.