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Nova Scotia’s education minister says school lunch program to be ‘pay what you can’

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Education Minister Becky Druhan says the province’s school lunch program will use a “pay what you can” model when it is rolled out in October.

Druhan told reporters following cabinet today that program details are still being worked out and will be released over the coming weeks, but she added the payment method will not create stigma because no one will know who paid or how much.

Druhan says the program will be free for some families, while others will pay an amount that will be affordable for all who participate, however she wouldn’t say whether payment would be voluntary or based on a family’s means.

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill says he’s not satisfied with the lack of specific detail on the program and believes it should be completely free for everyone.

NDP Leader Claudia Chender says it’s not clear what “pay what you can” means, and she says her party also believes access to school lunches should be completely free.

The provincial government committed $18.8 million for the first year of the lunch program in its 2024-25 budget.

Druhan said the first phase of the program will target elementary school students across the province. The minister added that her department is also working on a program to help food ordering in schools without kitchen facilities or cafeterias.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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