Action Needed From Education Ministers, Federal Government on Student Nutrition, says The Coalition for Healthy School Food

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Briefing: Wednesday, July 6, from 2:30-3:30pm EST, Committee Room 1, Toronto City Hall (100 Queen Street West).

Toronto, July 4, 2016 – As Canadian Education Ministers meet in Toronto on July 7 & 8, the Coalition for Healthy School Food is calling on provincial and federal leaders to work together to feed schoolchildren. Canada is one of the only industrialized countries without a national school food program to ensure all children are fed healthy food in schools every day.

One-third of students in elementary schools and two-thirds of students in secondary schools do not eat a nutritious breakfast before school, undermining their health and academic potential. School food programs, which currently receive piecemeal funding from provinces and municipalities, have shown to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, improve physical and mental health, decrease behavioural and emotional problems, improve educational outcomes, and increase graduation rates.

Given all the positive impacts, it is difficult to understand why Canada remains one of the only industrialized countries not to fund a school food program. With leadership emerging on healthy school food programs from the Governments of Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the City of Toronto, the federal government has an important role to play in leading a collaborative approach on school food with provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous governments.

“This is a problem we can no longer afford to ignore,” says Sasha McNicoll, Coordinator of the Coalition for Healthy School Food at Food Secure Canada. “A federal investment will leverage provincial efforts to improve the health and educational outcomes of all Canadian children.”

The Coalition for Healthy School Food, along with Toronto City Councilor and Board of Health Chair Joe Mihevc, will host a briefing on the state of school food programs in Canada for media and Ministries of Education on Wednesday, July 6, from 2:30-3:30pm EST, Committee Room 1, Toronto City Hall (100 Queen Street West). All are welcome. Healthy snacks will be served.

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Food Secure Canada is a pan-Canadian alliance of organizations and individuals working together to advance food security and food sovereignty through three inter-locking goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and sustainable food systems. Food Secure Canada convenes the Coalition for Healthy School Food, which comprises over 30 regional, provincial and national organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of Canadians, working toward a national school food program for Canada.

More information: Sophie Nadeau Media Consulting, info@sophienadeau.com, 613-266-7587;
Sasha McNicoll, Coalition for Healthy School Food Coordinator, Food Secure Canada, cell: 647-770-8388, schoolfood@foodsecurecanada.org