Canada to launch its first national school food programme

2 April 2024
The Canadian government has committed $1 billion in its upcoming budget to be invested in school food.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have announced $1 billion will be invested in school meals over the next five years. The National School Food Program will be part of the federal budget announcement later in April, and fulfils a promise made by politicians three years ago.

School food in Canada is currently regionally organised, meaning children’s access to good nutrition at school can depend too much on where they grow up. The plan is to provide school meals to around 400,000 additional children to those already fed by local schemes. It will also shore up those existing, regionally managed schemes. The government hopes to roll out the programme in time for the new school year in September 2024.

This devolved policy landscape means the government will have to work with various provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous groups to implement a federal programme. You can find out more about school food in Canada from our conversation with Canadian food educator and campaigner, Brent Mansfield.

The announcement is testament to campaigners like Brent from across Canada. Similar to our School Food Review, Canada’s Coalition for Healthy School Food brings together school food champions from across the nation, and calls for delicious, nutritious and sustainable school food for all.

Three cheers for Brent and all those who have successfully campaigned for this significant progress!