Results of an IRIS Study on School Food Programs

2 mins read

Additional arguments put forward in favour of a universal school food program for the province


Montreal, August 31, 2023 —The members of the Steering Committee for a Universal School Food Program in Quebec (PASUQ) expressed their concern about the data from a new study led by the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS) confirming a significant school nutrition gap in Quebec and the rest of Canada. It is the members’ hope that this report on the current situation will accelerate thought leadership and help make a universal school food program a reality in Quebec. IRIS statistics show that only 12% of elementary school children have access to a school food program, compared to the 61% average among high-income countries. Food insecurity affects more than 1 out of 5 children in Quebec, or some 200,000 students in the public education system. Major government investments are required to close this gap.


“We can and must do much more to provide our children with healthy and affordable meals in all of our public schools. A universal school food program would have major beneficial impacts in terms of public health, the reduction of social inequalities, educational success, the economy and the environment, in addition to significantly reducing the mental burden on parents.” — Maëlle Brouillette, PASUQ Steering Committee Coordinator


Taking a page from other countries

The investments required to set up a universal school food program would be substantial yet comparable to those made in other jurisdictions, many of which are much less affluent than Quebec. And, as the PASUQ Steering Committee points out, a reasonable portion of these costs could be covered by parents.

“Feeding our kids shouldn’t be seen as an expense. It’s an investment. No fewer than 25 countries have a school food program in place that extends to all of their children. Close to a dozen more run a quasi-universal program that provides at least 75% coverage. What’s stopping us from doing the same for our own children?” — Maëlle Brouillette


About the Steering Committee for a Universal School Food Program in Quebec

The PASUQ Steering Committee brings together a number of partners working in the areas of school nutrition, food security, the environment, sustainable development and before-and-after-school care. The Steering Committee’s objective is to document, assess and analyze school nutrition practices and to use this information to issue shared recommendations leading to the implementation of a Quebec-wide school food program for all students. The initiative is being led by Breakfast Club of Canada and members of the Collectif québécois pour une saine alimentation scolaire, part of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.

For more information:

Maxime Bordeleau
Cellulaire : 819 698-3105