Air Canada and Breakfast Club of Canada Reach New Heights in Promoting Children’s Health and Wellness

4 mins read

Breakfast Club of Canada is celebrating its 15th year of partnership with the Air Canada Foundation, a partnership that has helped grow its reach outside of the province of Quebec into a national organization serving healthy meals to more than 250,000 students a day.


“They actually were a founding partner to help us take flight, if you will, to expand our operations outside of Quebec,” says Lisa Clowery, BCC’s director of corporate sponsorships. “It was a big milestone for us to have them as a partner.”That initial support of free flights helped BCC expand its operations to every province and territory. And it grew from there, with financial support from the Air Canada Foundation helping to fund programs that promote the health and well-being of children across the country, including in Canada’s Indigenous communities. 

“Air Canada aims to reflect Canadian’s values, which embody those of unity and diversity,” says Air Canada Foundation spokesperson Valerie Durand. “In setting up these programs, it was important for us to support as many communities as possible, including Indigenous communities. Breakfast Club of Canada was already doing it through their programs, so it was a perfect alignment.”


Since their relationship began, the Air Canada Foundation has invested more than .2 million dollars and their contributions to BCC have helped them serve close to 2 million breakfasts to more than 11,000 students. In addition, 1,500 Indigenous students from high-need communities in Alberta and Manitoba now have access to healthy food options via newly established school breakfast programs.

Programmes petits déjeuners

In 2019, the Air Canada Foundation also committed to funding the opening of two priority breakfast programs in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. They are also sustaining three breakfast programs in remote schools by covering the costs of food purchases and kitchen equipment.


“Our mission is the health and wellness of kids and we do this through three main pillars: helping sick kids get better, alleviating child poverty and making dreams come true,” explains Durand.


When it comes to that last pillar of making dreams come true, Durand points to the Shooting for the Stars initiative. Every year, three to four Indigenous youth from British Columbia enjoy a trip to Montreal to meet their hockey idol, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Children are selected from communities where Price played hockey as a youth.


As an FNMI ambassador for BCC, Price is a role model for young people across the country, but especially for those who share his Indigenous heritage. Clowery says that the five-year Shooting for the Stars initiative was a real highlight of the organizations’ partnership and one that has had a real impact on the communities that the children come from.


“Air Canada was one of the first partners to help us with funding for the Indigenous community and that was a huge milestone for us,” says Clowery. “Over the years, every time we needed them to be part of something, they’ve always raised their hand.”

Programmes petits déjeuners

Last year, the Air Canada Foundation designated Breakfast Club of Canada as a recipient for the cash donations collected from passengers aboard their flights in their Every Bit Counts program. Despite the reduced amount of passenger traffic during the pandemic, the program still collected just over 6,000 for BCC. Of that total, ,000 was earmarked for their Back to School campaign to combat food insecurity, which has been on the rise during the health crisis.The pandemic has exacerbated the problem in remote Indigenous communities, like Grise Fiord on Ellesmere Island. The Nunavut community is the northernmost in Canada, but one BCC ambassador made the effort to ensure students received food during pandemic-induced school closures in May and June 2020. 

For many of the 25 kindergarten to Grade 12 students of Umimmak School, the healthy breakfast served there was the one sure meal they would receive each day. Teachers were concerned about how students would access the nutrition they need. So one teacher named Zuzanna took it upon herself to create food hampers to deliver to the hamlet’s families. Due to health restrictions, no one else could help her, so she assembled the food parcels by herself and personally delivered them by sled once a week.When Air Canada announced winners for its Gift of Travel campaign last holiday season to celebrate community heroes who went above and beyond during 2020, Zuzanna was one of the recipients. 

“We are extremely grateful for our relationship with the Air Canada Foundation and we just want to continue to grow and soar with them and see what other horizons we can achieve together,” says Clowery.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Breakfast Club of Canada.