Children across Canada will have to wait
Boucherville, March 28, 2023 – Following the tabling of the federal government’s 2023 budget, Breakfast Club of Canada is concerned that no financial commitment to implementing a national school nutritious meal program has been put forward.
“At the rate the federal government is moving, Canada risks remaining the only G7 country without a school nutrition program for months, if not, years to come. Despite the federal government’s goodwill to implement such a program, we must recognize that the 2023 budget sends contradictory signals,” comments Tommy Kulczyk, President and Chief Executive Officer at Breakfast Club of Canada.
Nutrition is key to children’s overall health, well-being and learning. It is well documented that a healthy and nutritious diet is important to ensure optimal health, growth, and development, prevent various chronic diseases, and support learning. However, many children and youth across Canada are at risk to start their school day on an empty stomach. In fact, this situation may worsen, as inflation and higher interest rates make it more difficult for families to afford sufficient and healthy foods. As a result, many Canadians are adjusting their behaviour to cope with rising food prices: over 30 percent are eating less nutritious food and nearly 20 per cent are reducing meal sizes or skipping meals.
“There has never been a more critical time to invest in school nutrition programs and ensure that all children across the country have access to the nutritious foods they need to develop their full potential,” adds Judith Barry, Co-Founder and Director, Government Relations. “Despite the federal government’s commitment to develop a National School Food Program, four years following the first budget mention related to creating such program, in 2019, there is still no committed funding.”
A first substantial, multi-year funding in 2023 would have assisted in strengthening existing school nutrition programs in all provinces and territories, accelerating the impact of resources invested by all stakeholders, and filling the gaps in their reach and quality.
Breakfast Club of Canada is committed to continuing to collaborate with all donors and stakeholders as well as federal, provincial and territorial governments, to ensure that Canada becomes a country where no children go to school on an empty stomach.
About Breakfast Club of Canada
Since 1994, Breakfast Club of Canada has been working with partners from all sectors to help children access a nutritious breakfast and reach their full potential. Accredited by Imagine Canada for its effective governance and recognized for its promotion of local food products, the Club helps reach more than 580 000 children in over 3,500 programs in academic and community settings across the country. The ultimate goal: access to a nutritious breakfast for every child, every day. To learn more, visit breakfastclubcanada.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Source: Breakfast Club of Canada
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