moved for leave to introduce Bill C-212, An Act to develop a national school food program for children.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce my bill proposing the school food program for children act. I would like to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre for seconding this bill and for her tireless advocacy and support of food security.
This legislation would require the Minister of Health to develop a national school food program to ensure that all children in Canada have access to healthy food. The program would operate at little or no direct cost to children or their families; build on existing 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. Prior to COVID-19, more than 1.5 million children lived in families who struggled to put food on the table in this country. Food insecurity has grown dramatically through the pandemic. A national school food program would not only give every student in Canada access to nutritious food, but it would make healthy eating a daily lesson for our kids.
I call on all parliamentarians to work together to support this important health and social justice initiative that so many other countries around the world are already doing.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)