Province provides progress update on new school lunch program

    Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan (Communications N.S. Photo)

    HALIFAX: Nova Scotia is seeking vendors to support the new school lunch program coming to elementary schools this fall.

    The regional centres for education and the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial began issuing requests for proposals on June 10, to support schools that require a third-party provider to prepare and serve lunches.

    The evaluation criteria prioritize vendors using local suppliers and businesses when sourcing ingredients and supplies.

    “It’s so exciting to see the details of the school lunch program taking shape,” said Becky Druhan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

    “The team has been working non-stop behind the scenes to make sure we understand and respond to the needs of each unique school and build a lunch program that makes a real difference for students and families.”


    The Department worked with schools, regions, vendors and volunteers throughout the spring to understand the many food programs already in place in Nova Scotia’s schools and what is needed in schools to offer the new program.

    This work informed how it will be delivered in individual schools – whether with on-site or off-site food providers or operated by the school.

    Starting in October, the school lunch program will operate in 256 schools, making lunch accessible to more than 75,000 students with a focus on pre-primary and elementary students.

    The program will be affordable for all and free for those who need it, supported by ordering and payment technology that prioritizes confidentiality and makes ordering stigma-free.


    It was informed by lunch programming introduced in the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education as part of Nova Scotia’s response to the Mass Casualty Commission’s recommendations.

    The new program directly supports the government’s work to transform the healthcare system by providing nutritious meals in schools and helping children and youth develop healthy eating habits that lead to better long-term health and lessen pressure on the healthcare system.

    Quick Facts:
    – the Province announced the new school lunch program as part of Budget 2024-25 with an $18.8-million investment for the 2024-25 school year
    – the school lunch program will operate in addition to the many food programs already in schools, including the daily universal free breakfast program in all schools
    – the final report of the Mass Casualty Commission recommended all orders of government fund community well-being initiatives that take into account rural and remote contexts (recommendation C.16)