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Dietitians of Canada Applauds School Food Program Investment but Presses Government for More Action on Household Food Insecurity and the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Dietitians of Canada (DC) welcomes the federal government’s commitment to investing in the health and well-being of Canadians through a National School Food Program that will help provinces, territories and Indigenous partners expand their existing school food programs. The allocation of 1 billion dollars over 5 years towards this initiative demonstrates a significant step forward in promoting healthier eating habits among children and youth.
We commend the federal government for recognizing the importance of nutrition in education settings and prioritizing the health of our future generations. The investment in school food programs will not only ensure that children have access to nutritious meals but will also contribute to improved academic performance and overall well-being.
DC also applauds the government’s efforts to address food insecurity by proposing to provide 62.9 million dollars over three years, starting in 2024-25, to renew and expand the Local Food Infrastructure Fund to support community organizations across Canada with priority to be given to Indigenous and Black communities, along with other equity-deserving groups.
However, while we celebrate this progress, it is crucial to acknowledge the ongoing challenges faced by many Canadian families in accessing affordable and nutritious food. There remains a concerning lack of economic responses to household food insecurity and the persistently high cost of food for many Canadians.
DC urges the federal government to consider additional measures to address these pressing issues and to ensure that all Canadians have access to food that is affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate. We call for continued collaboration and investment in economic policies that prioritize food security and support the health and well-being of individuals and families across the country.
Moreover, DC is disappointed that Budget 2024 announced the government’s intent to introduce amendments to the Canada Student Financial Assistant Act and the Canada Student Loans Act to permanently expand the reach of the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program to more health care and social services professionals working in rural and remote communities but did not include registered dietitians among the targeted health care professionals.
Dietitians play a crucial role in promoting health and preventing disease. Excluding dietitians from the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program means there will be fewer dietitians to support the health of individuals living in rural and remote communities, many of whom already cannot access evidence-based nutrition care. Dietitians of Canada urges the government to include registered dietitians when amending these Acts. 
Dietitians of Canada is the nation's leading organization of food and nutrition professionals with nearly three decades of history. Committed to advancing dietetics and healthier eating, our 4,000+ members enhance the health and well-being of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. DC is a trusted source for evidence-based nutrition information for dietitians and the Canadians whom they serve.
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