NEWS RELEASE OCSTA Welcomes National Food Program Announcement TORONTO-April 2, 2024-The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) welcomes the federal government’s investment of $1 billion over five years to support…

By Editor

Apr 2, 2024

NEWS RELEASE

OCSTA Welcomes National Food Program Announcement

TORONTO-April 2, 2024-The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) welcomes the federal government’s investment of $1 billion over five years to support a new National School Food Program.

OCSTA has recently advocated for a national school food program as part of the government’s National Review of Food Policy. We believe the program has many benefits including:
• improving access to nutritious food for students, allowing all students to focus on learning in school;
• addressing food insecurity and the resulting anxiety and mental health challenges that affect students;
• improving the social determinants of health for marginalized communities;
• improving student achievement and well-being.

The National Program should allow for operational flexibility. To ensure successful and equitable implementation of the program, funding must cover all additional costs, including administrative supports, and must be sustained throughout the life of the program. An equitable, universal, fully funded program would resolve inequities and inconsistencies, and offer a solid foundation for all students. We agree with the concept that meals must be culturally adapted and appropriate for each community.

“As publicly funded Catholic Schools focused on Christ-Centered learning, we are committed to ensuring our students’ well-being. A sustainable, universal and fully funded food program will be of significant benefit for student achievement and support overall well-being of students,” stated Patrick Daly, President of OCSTA.

OCSTA believes that funding allocations need to consider related capital costs. This could include new, or upgrades to, food preparation and handling areas, equipment, and related infrastructure. Many of our Catholic schools, including their kitchens and other programming spaces, are used by community partners outside of the regular school day.

The National Food Program set a standard both for securing food for schools as a fundamental human right and ensuring that right is delivered consistently, sustainably, and within a context of transformative action to end poverty, improve students’ health and achievement outcomes. We look forward to working with the federal, provincial governments, Catholic School Boards and other partners as the program is implemented

The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association is the provincial voice for publicly funded Catholic education. Founded in 1930, OCSTA represents the interests of Catholic school boards that collectively educate approximately 570,000 students in Ontario, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.

 

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