Healthy meals for our kids

Healthy meals for our kids

Healthy meals for our kids

Every child deserves the best start in life. But today, too many children in Canada don’t get the food they need. Study after study has shown that kids learn better on a full stomach. That’s why school food programs are so important – they support families and help kids get the nutrition they need to learn and grow.

With Budget 2024, we’re making sure every generation gets a fair, healthy future – starting right from childhood.

Today, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, unveiled the federal government’s National School Food Policywhich outlines our plan to create and deliver the National School Food Program across Canada.

With an investment of $1 billion over five years, the National School Food Program, included in Budget 2024, will provide meals to up to 400,000 more kids every year, beyond those served by existing school food programs. This will mean peace of mind for parents and healthy meals for kids – helping them learn, grow, and get the best start in life. On average, the National School Food Program is expected to save participating families with two kids up to $800 a year in grocery bills.

The new Policy sets out a vision, principles, and objectives for school food programming across Canada, and will guide the creation of the National School Food Program in collaboration with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners, with a focus on accessibility, flexibility, inclusivity, sustainability, and better health.

The National School Food Program is part of our work to support families and make life cost less. This includes the Canada Child Benefit, which is providing families with up to $7,437 per child this benefit year, Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care, which has already reduced fees for regulated child care by half on average across the country, and the Canadian Dental Care Plan, which will make trips to the dentist more affordable for up to 9 million uninsured Canadians. Confident countries invest in themselves, and these investments grow and build our communities, our families, and our economy.

These are just some of the things that we’re doing in Budget 2024 to build a better and fairer future for every generation. We’re also building more homes, improving health care, and investing in innovation – so that every Canadian has a fair chance to succeed.

Quotes

“Fairness for every generation starts right from childhood. Supported by this new policy, our National School Food Program is a direct investment in the future of our kids. This will support families, parents, and kids by providing school meals, so our youngest can reach their full potential – feeling healthy and happy.”

“Today, the rising price of groceries is making it tough for families, especially Millennial and Gen Z parents, to afford the food their kids need. Our new $1 billion National School Food Program will help 400,000 more kids get the food they need to thrive ‒ so that every single child across Canada can have a fair chance at a good, healthy life.”

“Fairness for every generation means we support each other at every stage of life – and that starts from childhood. The National School Food Policy is a roadmap to supporting parents with the higher cost of groceries and getting more healthy food on the plates of growing kids so they can focus on learning and reach their full potential.”

“No child should be left with an empty stomach and no parent should have to worry about whether their child will be hungry at school. That’s why we launched the National School Food Program, to ensure that children in every community are healthy and happy in school.”

Quick Facts

  • The $1 billion National School Food Program includes investments that will support school food programming for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities as well as Self-Governing and Modern Treaty partners, many of whom have some of the highest rates of food insecurity in Canada. Investments will also support capacity building and engagement with Indigenous partners to develop culturally appropriate solutions. These partnerships will aim to tackle food insecurity by advancing Indigenous-led solutions and will further our work on reconciliation.
  • School food programs provide children and youth with meals and snacks at school, often at no-to-low cost for participating families. Providing food to children and youth provides many benefits, including reducing hunger, improving nutrition and health outcomes, supporting local economies, and reducing food-related spending for families.
  • According to Statistics Canada estimates, in 2022, 22.3 per cent of families and more than 2.1 million children under the age of 18 in Canada reported experiencing some level of food insecurity over the past 12 months.
  • To give every child the best start in life, Budget 2024 is also:
    • Increasing training for early childhood educators. We’re investing $10 million over two years to train more early childhood educators, building up the talent needed for the expansion of affordable, high-quality child care.
    • Improving child care access for military families. Military service often demands frequent moves and deployments, making quality child care more than just a convenience. Budget 2024 invests $100 million over five years to provide Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their families with better access to child care on bases across Canada.
    • Launching a new Youth Mental Health Fund to ensure that younger generations have the access they need to mental health supports, so they can have a healthy start to adulthood. Budget 2024 proposes an investment of $500 million over five years to ensure youth have access to mental health supports in their community.
    • Ensuring a brighter and more prosperous future for First Nations children, youth, and communities with a proposed new investment of $1.2 billion in First Nations’ kindergarten to grade 12 education and $242.7 million to increase access to post-secondary education for First Nations students.
    • Keeping our children safe by protecting them from online harm. Budget 2024 proposes an investment of $7.5 million over three years, starting in 2024-25, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support Kids Help Phone in their work providing mental health, counselling, and crisis support to young people.

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