CA Gov to Provide Healthy Meals to 400,000 More Kids

Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Hamilton, Ontario

Every child deserves to have the best start in life. But today, one in four children in Canada live in food insecure households, which makes it harder for them to get the healthy food they need. That impacts their health and their opportunities to learn and grow, including in school. Study after study has shown that kids learn better on a full stomach. With Budget 2024, we're making sure every generation gets a fair, healthy future - starting right from childhood.

Today in Hamilton, the Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, and the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), highlighted the National School Food Policy, which sets out a vision, principles and objectives for school food programming across Canada, and will serve to guide the creation of a National School Food Program.

School food programs provide children and youth with meals and/or 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, reducing food-related spending for families.

With an investment of $1 billion over five years, the 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. A National School Food Program will also help support families by reducing food costs. Research shows that school meal programs can provide an estimated $800 per year in relief to participating families with two children. This will mean peace of mind for parents and healthy meals for kids - helping them get the best start to life. The Program will also be a safety net for the kids who need this support the most. We're going to work with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners to get this program to schools across the country.

The National School Food Program is part of our work to make life cost less for families. This includes the Canada Child Benefit, which this year, is providing families with up to $7,437 per child, per year; Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, which has already reduced child care fees for regulated child care by half on average across the country and also helped over half of the provinces and territories deliver regulated child care for an average of $10-a-day or less; and the Canadian Dental Care Plan, which will cover trips to the dentist for up to 9 million uninsured Canadians.

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 our economy - so that every Canadian has a fair chance to succeed.

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