Submission to the BC Pre-Budget Consultations in advance of the 2021 Budget
The BC Chapter of the Coalition for Healthy School Food urged the Government of British Columbia to build on existing commitments and allocate funding and resources to create more local school meal programs for K-12 students in BC, as part of the public 2022 BC Budget Consultation.
Following the Provincial Election in October 2020, the BC Chapter was pleased to see that mandate letters to Ministers of Education and Agriculture, Food and Fisheries included directives to “work with school districts to create more local school meal programs based on district data and priorities'' and to “integrate Feed BC into this plan so that districts can include locally grown food”. However, no provincial funding has yet been dedicated to fulfilling this mandate.
In their written submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, the BC Chapter requested that Budget 2022 act on this commitment to “ensure students are properly fed for learning”, by allocating funds for the design, implementation and evaluation of school food programs in BC. In particular, they asked that the Government of British Columbia:
1. Commit to securing $50 million/year for three years, to design, implement and evaluate research-based school program pilots at a minimum of six school districts in diverse locations (rural, remote, urban) throughout the province;
2. Allocate an additional $3 million funding so that every school district in BC can hire a dedicated School Meal Program Coordinator, to build capacity for school food programs, and;
3. Assemble internal and external provincial school food task forces to advise and support the development of universal, healthy school meal programs for all BC students.
This investment would advance multiple provincial priorities including improving the health, well-being and education of BC children, strengthening and stimulating local agriculture and food sectors, and building a low carbon economy. The investment would also support families experiencing food insecurity, advance economic recovery, and significantly reduce the $3.3 billion in costs of the treatment and productivity losses due to nutrition-related chronic disease in BC (BCCDC, 2018).
To read the full submission, including detailed recommendations, click here.