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N.S. school lunch program will use pay what you can model

By Evan Taylor May 31, 2024 | 4:27 PM

Photo Courtesy of: Nourish Nova Scotia

The province plans to roll out its new school lunch program this fall and Education Minister Becky Druhan says it will operate on a pay-what-you-can model.

The details of how that will work are set to be ironed out over the summer but Druhan says it will lead to some people getting entirely free lunches while others will pay some amount.

“This is a program that will enable people to receive an affordable lunch for their children,” Druhan said. “It’s also a model that will let us do it in a stigma-free way, so no one knows who paid or how much.”

Phase one of the school lunch program is set to begin this fall, starting with 256 elementary schools. The schools selected have already been notified, as have the parents of students attending them.

Opposition concerned about lack of details

Both the provinces’ Liberal and NDP leaders however have questions about the model the province is planning to use.

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill wasn’t pleased at the news that some families will be paying, whatever that amount ends up being.

“It is incredibly disappointing to learn that the Houston government expects some families to pay when so many Nova Scotians are struggling with the high cost of living and our province is facing record food insecurity, ” Churchill said.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Claudia Chender says there is still so much unknown about the program.

“I have no idea what pay what you can mean,” Chender said. “We in the NDP have always taken the position that this should be a free, universal program.”