moved for leave to introduce Bill C-201, An Act to develop a national school food program for children.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce my bill, the school food program for children act. I would like to thank the hon. member for Vancouver East for seconding the bill.
This legislation would require the Minister of Health, in consultation with the provincial and territorial governments and other relevant stakeholders, to develop a national school food nutrition program to ensure that all children in Canada would have access to healthy food. The program would operate at little or no direct cost to children or their families, build on existing school food programs across Canada, use best practices from other jurisdictions and promote evidence-based healthy food education.
In a country as prosperous as Canada, no child should have to struggle through the school day on an empty stomach. However, today, more than 1.5 million children live in families that have difficulty putting food on the table. Canada remains among the few industrialized countries without a universal school food program.
A national school food program would not only give every student in Canada access to nutritious food, it would make healthy eating a daily lesson for our kids.
I am pleased to see in budget 2019 that the government announced its intention to establish a national school food program in Canada. This legislation represents an important first step toward making that goal a reality.
I call on all parliamentarians to work together to support this important health and social justice initiative.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)