Federal Budget 2024 hits the spot with $1-billion for national school food program

Heart & Stroke also applauds federal government’s pharmacare funding pledge and vape tax hike

Heart & Stroke is thrilled the 2024 Federal Budget includes funding for a Canada-wide school nutrition program that will support an estimated 400,000 kids annually by providing a nutritious meal at school.

“We congratulate the federal government for taking children’s health to heart,” says Doug Roth, Heart & Stroke CEO. “This will make a positive difference in the lives of so many kids in Canada, improving their learning and mental health and reducing their risk of developing chronic disease, including heart disease and stroke. We look forward to supporting the federal government on the September 2024 implementation of the program.”

The Liberal government first committed to developing a National School Food Policy in its 2021 election platform. Many families face challenges in providing healthy meals for a variety of reasons, including affordability and parents working long hours. Initiatives like the school food program can address those gaps.

The school food program is one of several important health measures in the 2024 budget.

In February, the federal government announced the first step toward national pharmacare. The budget backed up that pledge with $1.5 billion over five years for the program. The program will cover prescription drugs for diabetes and contraception. Heart & Stroke is asking the federal government to work quickly to expand the program in a fiscally prudent way by adding key essential medicines, including prescription drugs for heart conditions and stroke.

The budget also included a 12% vape tax hike that will take effect on July 1 to help lower vaping rates among youth. Since the introduction of vaping in Canada, vaping skyrocketed among youth and young adults, with one in four Grade 10 to 12 students identifying as vapers.

Heart & Stroke is pleased to see a tobacco tax increase this year, a key component of the federal Tobacco Control Strategy, which commits to driving down tobacco use to less than 5% of the population in Canada by 2035. The budget increases tobacco taxes by $4.00 per carton of 200 cigarettes as of midnight April 17. 

About Heart & Stroke

Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke has been leading the fight to beat heart disease and stroke for more than 70 years. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, with the generous support of our donors, partners, and volunteers, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy. Heartandstroke.ca @HeartandStroke

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Natalie Lian