e-4586 Food and drink
Julie Dabrusin
October 20, 2023, at 10:52 a.m. (EDT)
Petition to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
    Families are struggling. Inflation and affordability pressures mean that more and more children are finding it difficult to access nutritious food, with food insecurity affecting 1 in 4 children (1.8 million);
    School food programs improve children’s nutrition, mental health, 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) and countless research studies;
    The quality of student diets across all socio-economic backgrounds is poor;
    The preventable cost of nutrition-related disease in Canada is estimated at $15.8 billion annually;
    School meals can take pressure off household budgets;
    A national school food program would join universal childcare and the Canada Child Benefit as crucial family supports;
    In 2017, UNICEF ranked Canada 37th out of the 41 wealthiest nations regarding providing healthy food for kids;
    The Rockefeller Foundation reports that US school meal programs return double their cost in human health and economic benefits; and
    Federal Budget 2019 committed to school food under the National Food Policy, Budget 2022 re-stated the federal commitment, and the Liberal Party’s 2021 election platform promised $1 billion over five years.
    We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to provide $1 billion over 5 years for school food with an immediate investment of $200 million in Budget 2024, an investment, negotiated with provinces, territories and Indigenous leaders, which will help children develop the food and nutrition habits they need to lead healthy lives and succeed at school.