Canada is a privileged country, yet it is the only G7 country without a national school nutrition program. As a result, close to 2 million Canadian children are at risk of going to school on an empty stomach. The COVID-19 pandemic only worsened economic and food insecurity for Canadian families, affecting the most vulnerable the hardest and disrupting in-person learning from coast to coast to coast.
Since 1994, Breakfast Club of Canada has worked to help provide children with a nutritious breakfast every morning. Before the pandemic, the Club and its community partners reached 250,000 students daily. Today, the organization is helping more than 500,000 children enrolled in 3,500 programs across Canada.
The Club’s overarching goal is to establish a National School Food Policy (NSFP) to help children reach their full potential and positively influence other essential areas of children’s well-being, including food security social development, nutrition, and mental health, and supporting Indigenous communities. The challenge was how to convince the Federal government that a critical part of building a better Canada should include a National School Food Policy.
Breakfast Club of Canada engaged Crestview Strategy to support the development a comprehensive strategic advocacy designed to positively influence and encourage the federal and provincial governments to take the necessary steps towards a NSFP.
The Crestview Strategy team leveraged Breakfast Club of Canada’s strong brand and reputation, to ensure that the Club was consistently and appropriately engaging with the right people at all levels of government and supported by assertive positive messaging. A comprehensive government relations calendar was developed to allow the Club to plan, establish deadlines, and assign appropriate resources to ensure the Club engaged with relevant ministers, members of parliament, vital public servants, and other partners and influencers to advance advocacy objectives.
By effectively strengthening its reputation with the federal government, Breakfast Club of Canada became a trusted ally and expert in school nutrition and food delivery, which led to federal funding from the Emergency Food Security Fund (EFSF) during the pandemic. More recently, the Club and the student nutrition goal of establishing a NSFP continues to be supported by the government. The program was referred in the AAFC and ESDC mandate letters as well as in the 2022 Federal budget as part of the government’s recovery plan. The Club continues to advocate for additional funding and support for the National School Food Policy in the next federal budget to make the program a reality.