In October 2022 the Coalition for Healthy School Food submitted its Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2023 Budget. We used this opportunity to recommend that the Government of Canada:
Allocate $1 billion over five years and collaborate with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners to provide them with an initial $200 million as soon as possible to fund their existing school food programs.
Create a separate School Food Fund grants program of, at minimum, $50 million that would provide infrastructure and capacity building funding.
Enter into discussions with First Nation, Inuit and Métis leadership to negotiate independent School Food Policy agreements for long-term and sustainable funding for Indigenous school nutritious meal programs.
Such an investment would:
Take pressure off of the family budget and be a support for the millions of children and youth who are increasingly unable to access healthy food given the substantial rise in food prices.
Help level the playing field and ensure that all students are able to access a healthy meal or snack each day.
Support job growth while helping to strengthen the physical and mental health and wellbeing of students, their families and communities.
Create jobs in diverse sectors, including agriculture, food services, food manufacturing and distribution, construction, environmentally sustainable industries, and health.
Directly advance Canada’s commitments towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
We stated that these actions in Budget 2023 would be the initial steps towards more comprehensive medium-term actions including the establishment of a National School Food Policy, negotiated funding agreements with provinces and territories and negotiated funding agreements with Indigenous Nations and leaders.
Read our full pre-budget submission, which shares more details about how the development of a School Food Program for Canada could help advance the health and wellbeing of children, youth and families in Canada as well as the Canadian economy.