Canada is the only G7 country without a nationally harmonized school food program, lagging most of the world’s wealthiest nations in providing universal access to healthy meals and snacks at school.
This is a critical gap, felt more strongly in a time of skyrocketing grocery bills, high inflation, and stressed family budgets. By establishing a national school food program, Canada would take steps to ensure children across the country can obtain the healthy food they need to succeed in the classroom and in their communities.
A healthy diet is important for everyone, and especially crucial for children. School nutrition programs also have far-reaching benefits. Countries with a national school food program have documented better academic performance, improved short- and long-term health for children, help for family budgets, and improved efficiency in the healthcare system.
By integrating nutrition education into established curricula, a national school food program would also encourage children to adopt lifelong healthy eating habits. It is time for Canada to catch up to its peers in the G7 and establish a universal, comprehensive and culturally appropriate National School Food Program in collaboration with local communities, provinces, territories and Indigenous leaders.