By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is planning to take a step in the coming weeks toward its plan for a universal school meal program.
Premier Wab Kinew says the government is putting up $1.5 million to eliminate a wait list at the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba for the remainder of the current school year.
The non-profit council grants money for meal and snack programs in schools that apply for help, and there were 51 programs on a wait list as of earlier this year.
One of Kinew’s promises before being elected in October was a universal school nutrition program that would cost the province an estimated $30 million a year.
The education and early childhood learning department says the universal program is still in the early stages of development and there is no proposed cost right now.
Kinew says the universal program will be in place by the next school year in September, as promised.
“The idea is to have a universally accessible meal program,” Kinew said in a year-end interview.
“Not that every kid in Manitoba needs to eat as part of the school program, but that it has a reach across all the school divisions and regions of the province.”