Ottawa Seeking Feedback on Proposed National School Food Policy

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The federal government is seeking feedback on creating a national school food policy that would bring a meal program into public schools across the country.

“One in five children in Canada are at risk of going to school hungry on any given day,” said a Nov. 16 release from Employment and Social Development Canada.

“School meal programs can help reduce hunger and food insecurity, improve children’s access to nutritious food, improve academic outcomes and achievement, and help support families by reducing food costs.”

The Liberal party promised a national school food policy in the lead-up to the 2021 federal election, stating that it would “work with our provincial, territorial, municipal, Indigenous partners, and stakeholders to develop” the program.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Karina Gould, federal minister of families, children, and social development, with creating a meal program when she took on the role last fall.

The Liberals have said the cost of the program would be about $1 billion dollars over five years.

The federal government is now seeking feedback from Canadians about the potential food policy through an online questionnaire, which will be open until Dec. 16.

The questionnaire asks individuals their opinions on the most “important objectives” for creating a national school food policy and also about “their experiences with current school meal programming.”

The government also asks for opinions on how to “help feed the most children while reducing stigma.”

“Programming (even if targeted) should ensure that students do not feel singled out on the basis of their family’s financial situation,” reads a government discussion paper titled, “Consultation on building a pan-Canadian school food policy.”

“Nor should they [students] feel ashamed of ‘needing’ to use the school meal program.”

‘Diverse Realities’

The discussion paper also said a national school food policy would need to account for the “diverse realities” of children and families and said the government is “engaging directly with Indigenous partners, provinces and territories.”

“We recognize that First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have unique rights and priorities,” said the paper.

“For these reasons, experts and stakeholders recommend avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach for a shared school food vision in Canada. The unique circumstances of Indigenous children require particular consideration. The policy should be flexible enough to encourage programming that reflects local community and cultural contexts.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Gould’s office for details on how the government would go about creating a multicultural food policy but didn’t hear back immediately.

The consultation period is set to last a month, but there is no timeline for when the school food policy will be completed.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report. 

Peter Wilson

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Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.



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