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Examining Canadian School Food Models to Inform Decision-Making for a Universal and Nationally-Harmonized School Food Program

Two smiling women serving youth in a school cafeteria

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture (via

This research responds to a need for insight into the operational details of school food programs that are responding to the diverse needs of communities across Canada. For example, many elementary schools in Canada do not have an industrial kitchen for food service or a cafeteria/designated eating area. Understanding these barriers and alternative opportunities for implementing SFPs is needed to promote successful scale-up. Investigating school food supply chains, the SFP actors that support program operations, and the costs associated with each model is vital information. Accordingly, our research will compare and contrast different models in different locations, such as for-profit, non-profit, or student-led catering; partially subsidized or free models; models that vary in their sources of food; multi-component SFPs (i.e. incorporation of food literacy, local foods, culture and heritage, and/or environmental sustainability), and Indigenous-led SFPs.


Rachel Engler-Stringer, University of Saskatchewan
Debbie E. Field
Jason Gilliland, Western University
Gary Hoyer, George Brown College
Sara F. Kirk, Dalhousie University
Mustafa Koc, Toronto Metropolitan University
Charles Z. Levkoe, Lakehead University
Geneviève Mercille, Université de Montréal
Ian Mosby, Toronto Metropolitan University
Kerry Renwick, University of British Columbia
Amberley T. Ruetz, University of Saskatchewan
Kelly Skinner, University of Waterloo



CIHR, Public, Community and Population Health $275,400

Project Dates