McGuinty Government Helping Students Get Ready To Learn With Student Nutrition Plan

Archived Release

McGuinty Government Helping Students Get Ready To Learn With Student Nutrition Plan

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

More Ontario Children And Youth Benefiting From Healthy Food Initiative, Community Partnerships TORONTO, May 29 - Student nutrition programs across Ontario are serving more than 361,000 elementary and secondary students healthy, nutritious meals and snacks this school year, Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers announced today. "More and more students are reaping the rewards of local nutrition programs supported by our government," said Chambers, at North Kipling Junior Middle school, where she was joined by Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MPP for Etobicoke North. "This innovative community-based program provides young people who choose to participate with healthy and nutritious meals that will help them perform better in school." Since 2004, the government has almost doubled its spending on student nutrition to $8.5 million moved to make the program more responsive to community needs. Funding is distributed to 15 regional agencies who work with schools and community centres to bring wholesome meals to school-age children and youth who may normally be faced with unhealthy food choices or arrive at school hungry. "By supporting this program we are promoting healthy eating and strengthening our community," said MPP Dr. Shafiq Qaadri. "This is a great example of community partners and schools working together for the benefit of children." The 361,000 students being served represent an increase of nearly 15 per cent over the 2005-06 school year. The program supports the McGuinty government's Best Start plan aimed at helping children enjoy healthy lives from birth. The McGuinty government is also supporting the health and well-being of children through the Ontario Child Benefit, recently passed as part of this year's Budget bill. The benefit provides help to low-income families by providing a one-time down payment of up to $250 per child this July, growing to a maximum of $1,100 annually per child by 2011. "The new Ontario Child Benefit is one of the steps we are taking to help alleviate poverty," said Chambers. "Our government is committed to supporting Ontario's children and families so no one is left behind." These are just some of the ways the government is helping children and families. Other investments and measures include: - Increasing Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program payments for the third consecutive year: 3 per cent in 2005, 2 per cent in 2006 and 2 per cent in 2007 - Increasing the hourly minimum wage to $10.25 by 2010 - Enhancing child care through an additional $25 million in 2007-08, growing to $50 million in ongoing support starting in 2008-09. Disponible en français www.children.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- STUDENT NUTRITION PROGRAM HELPING ONTARIO KIDS SUCCEED IN SCHOOL Contact Info The McGuinty government is committed to helping all Ontario students succeed and lead healthy, productive lives. That is why the government has nearly doubled its investment in student nutrition programs to $8.5 million annually and moved to a community-based, decentralized program to provide more nutritious food to more students. Good nutrition is vital to a child's growth, development and well-being. Research studies say students are able to concentrate better and learn more effectively when they are well-nourished. When children arrive at school hungry or are exposed to unhealthy food choices, they are less ready and able to learn and are at risk of developing chronic illnesses later in life. Interventions such as breakfast programs help students perform better in school and develop better eating habits that contribute to their long-term health. Nutrition program responds to local needs Government funding is distributed directly to community nutrition program providers through 15 regional agencies. More assistance is provided to areas, such as northern and rural communities, where some families require additional support in providing nutritious meals to their children. Community nutrition programs are locally run programs developed by schools and other community partners to respond to local needs. Government funding supports these community-driven initiatives, which are largely run by volunteers, including parents, teachers and school staff. About 80 per cent of these programs are delivered in schools. Others are offered in community centres and other community-based locations such as YMCAs. In the 2006-07 school year there are more than 2,900 local programs offering meals to more than 361,000 students. Of these, 530 local programs in Toronto are serving more than 80,000 elementary and secondary school students. Supporting Ontario's families The McGuinty government is also supporting the health and well-being of children through the Ontario Child Benefit, part of the recently passed Budget bill. This benefit provides help to low-income families with a one-time down payment of up to $250 per child this July, growing to a maximum of $1,100 annually per child by 2011. Disponible en français www.children.gov.on.ca For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416) 212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (Cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416) 212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (Cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156