Main Container


Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister on a new National School Food Program to set kids up for success

Main Content


Good afternoon, everyone, and Happy Easter.

I would like to start by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat Peoples.

What a great day for us to all be here together in Scarborough.

I am here with the Prime Minister and with my colleagues Ministers Marci Ien, Jenna Sudds, and Mark Holland, and a great representation from our Toronto caucus.

I want to thank and recognize the educators, the people who care for our kids. We are so glad to be here with Utcha Sawyers, who is the CEO, and all the incredible people at the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club.

You are such an important resource for children and families in Scarborough and I can tell you, having spoken to some happy children who feel safe and loved here, that the work you do is truly essential.

I also want to recognize the work of some of the advocates for children who are with us today, like Tyler Arsenault, Debbie Field, Judith Barry, Amberley Ruetz, and Heidi Yetman.

We have some amazing teachers, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, and our friend Senator Hassan Yussuff championing this cause. Someone said to me today that today’s announcement is the culmination of 30 years of work and advocacy.

And to all the people who have been working so hard— building the case, making the arguments—thank you so much.

Today we are living in a pivotal moment—and we have a plan to help every generation of Canadians get ahead.

That’s because today, many younger Canadians feel as though the deck is stacked against them. They can get a good job, they can work hard, but far too often, the reward remains out of reach.

What many parents and grandparents have achieved for themselves—a degree of comfort, and security—we want for our children and grandchildren. We want their hard work to be rewarded, as it was for us.

And that is why we are acting now to build a Canada that works for younger Canadians—a Canada where they can get ahead and where their hard work pays off.

First, we are going to turbocharge the construction of new homes across the country.

Second, we are going to help make life cost less.

And third, we are going to grow the economy in a way that’s shared by everyone.

We are all here today because we have an important announcement to make in our next step in this plan. And this is an announcement that is going to make a big difference in the lives of children and families—especially younger families—across Canada.

In the upcoming federal budget, we will be announcing a new National School Food Program.

We are investing $1 billion over five years, which will provide 400,000 more kids across the country every year with food in school. That’s 400,000 more kids, beyond those currently served by school food programs.

We are going to get this done by working together with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners and expanding access to school food programs across the country.

And we want to get started as early as the 2024-2025 school year.

For moms and dads across Canada—especially those who are struggling with the high cost of groceries— this will mean peace of mind knowing that their kids will have healthy food and are well taken care of.

For kids, it means not being hungry at school, because when you are hungry, it’s really hard to learn.

And when you just had a healthy snack, it is a lot easier to focus, to learn, to play, to grow.

That’s why we are introducing this new National School Food Program—so that every single child across Canada can have a fair chance at a good, healthy life.

The federal government made a vow to strengthen and expand the middle class. We delivered on that pledge by reducing poverty, especially for children and seniors, and creating millions of good jobs for Canadians. Our work isn’t over.

Our renewed focus today is unlocking the door to the middle class for millions of younger Canadians. In all we do, we dedicate ourselves to making a better life within reach for our younger generations. Because that is what you have earned, and it is what you deserve. And it is what your parents and grandparents want for you, too.

Thank you.