Boucherville, June 13, 2023 – As we enter the final stretch of the school year, a newly released study commissioned by Breakfast Club of Canada finds that the vast majority (84%) of Canadians say the federal Liberal government should make good on its election campaign promise as soon as possible to provide a $1 billion investment over five years to work towards a national school nutritious meal program.
Despite the Liberal Party of Canada’s promise in the 2021 federal election to invest $1 billion over five years to work towards a national school nutritious meal program, and the progresses made by Ministers Karina Gould and Marie-Claude Bibeau which led to several consultations to seek feedback regarding the development of such a program, no concrete funding has yet been put in place to deliver on that promise. Thus, Canada remains the only G7 country without a school nutrition program.
A majority (77%) of Canadians are upset and disappointed that nothing has yet to be put in place by the government to deliver on the expected meal program—and even one quarter (23%) believe the total amount promised is not enough.
1 in 4 children across Canada is experiencing food insecurity
Nutrition is key to children’s overall health, well-being, and learning. However, many children and youth across Canada are at risk of starting their school day on an empty stomach. In 2022, according to Statistics Canada, 1 in 4 children under 18 lived in a food-insecure household. That amounts to almost 1.8 million children, increasing from the almost 1.4 million in 2021.
Canadians are also firmly believing that the collective of the federal, provincial, and municipal governments should make child and youth hunger and malnutrition a priority (88%), and that students’ well-being should be taken into consideration so school-aged children do not feel stigmatized for receiving what they need (91%). In that regard, half (51%) of Canadians argue that a federal government-funded school nutritious meal program should not just be limited to school children in disadvantaged communities. All in all, Canadians expect the delivery of this collective effort to be provided in a safe, caring environment, centred on students’ well-being.
“We are now in the final throes of the countdown to this year’s school end. If nothing changes, next year just as many, if not more, children will be going to school on an empty stomach, preventing them from improving their learning capacities experiencing less stress, and ultimately being able to reach their full potential,” said Judith Barry, Co-Founder and Director of Government Relations at Breakfast Club of Canada. “There has never been a more critical time to invest in school nutrition programs and we urge the federal government to finally commit to a long-term investment for the development of such a program with an immediate investment in the upcoming months.”
About the survey
This Maru Public Opinion survey conducted on behalf of Breakfast Club of Canada was undertaken by the sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue. 1,517 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panellists were surveyed from May 24th – 25th, 2023. The results of this study have been weighted by education, age, gender, and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. When compared to the data tables, discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
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 school nutrition programs 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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