Funding applications are not being accepted at this time as we are in the process of transitioning to an online grant system. For more information, please contact

Municipal funding may be available for student nutrition programs not previously funded that are offered by independent schools. Please note, independent schools that would like to apply for funding must first complete the screening and needs assessment used to determine eligibility for funding, in addition to an application. Eligible schools can apply and receive funding for only one of the following student nutrition programs: breakfast, morning meal, snack AM. For more information, please visit the Funding for New Programs in Independent Schools page.

The City of Toronto awards funding to eligible schools to help them offer a healthy meal or snack to their students. The goal of the funding is to help student nutrition programs serve healthier foods, operate on more school days each week and ensure those with the greatest need have access to food, within the context of universal access for all students.

All applications will be considered for funding from two separate levels of government:

  1. City of Toronto Student Nutrition Program funding.
  2. Ontario Student Nutrition Program funding offered by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Information about this funding is available from the Ministry’s website.

There is limited funding available to meet the needs of all interested applicants. The priority is to increase the sustainability of currently funded student nutrition programs that continue to meet the funding criteria by providing stable government funding.

The municipal student nutrition program funding:

  • Can only be used to support the cost of nutritious food for the student nutrition program, and;
  • Will cover up to 20% of the total program’s operating costs.

The balance of the program costs must be raised by the funded site. These costs are often raised from parental contributions, local fundraising, other grants, and donations.

Each year, the number of programs awarded funds and their dollar amount awarded changes depending on the funds available and the nature of applications submitted. Student Nutrition Program funding allocations are based on:

  • The number of students participating per day.
  • The number of days the program is offered during the school year.
  • The type of meal or snack served.
  • The level of need in the school community.
  • The total amount of funding available from the City of Toronto and Province of Ontario.

It is not possible to award funding to all qualified applicants or to all programs that received funding in the past. Funding priority is given to student nutrition programs that have received municipal and/or provincial funding within the last three years and continue to meet eligibility requirements.

  • Municipal funding may be available for student nutrition programs not previously funded that are offered by independent schools. For more information please visit the Funding for New Programs in Independent Schools
  • All student nutrition program funding is:
    • Subject to meeting funding criteria;
    • Based on review and recommendations by Student Nutrition Ontario-Toronto, the partnership which provides oversight and support for student nutrition programs in Toronto; and
    • Determined by the funding amount provided by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario.

To be eligible for student nutrition program funding, your program must;

  • Provide breakfast, morning meal, snack or lunch to school-aged children or youth,
  • Physically operate in the City of Toronto, and
  • Operate in an elementary or high school in Toronto, unless the program has maintained funding since 2007.

Programs not eligible for student nutrition program funding:

  • Lunch, afternoon snack or dinner programs that have not been funded within the last three years
  • Summer programs
  • Camps
  • Before- and after-school programs
  • Preschool programs

Breakfast and morning meal programs receiving provincially enhanced funding are encouraged to operate five days per week, offer meal programming during the morning hours and offer full meals. Other programs must operate a minimum of two days per week.

All programs receiving municipal and/or provincial funding are required to meet the criteria outlined below. Programs will be monitored for adherence to the criteria for nutritious food, food safety and financial accountability.

Serve nutritious food

  • Plan a menu cycle based on the Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guideline that offers a variety of healthy food choices, suitable to the cultures of your community.
  • Meal menus include at least three of the four food groups, including: Vegetables and Fruit, Milk and Alternatives.
  • Snack menus offer two to three food groups, including Vegetables and Fruit.
  • A Public Health Dietitian may visit your program and is available for consultation regarding program menus and meeting the Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines.
  • Information about the updated Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines to reflect the updated 2019 Canada’s Food Guide will be available for September 2021. For the time being, student nutrition programs should continue to use the existing Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines.

Safe food handling

  • Always have at least one person on-site when the program is running who has completed the Student Nutrition Program Food Safety and Nutrition Training within the past two years.
  • Have facilities to safely prepare and store food, in accordance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493/17.
  • Encourage all volunteer student nutrition program coordinators and other volunteers to complete this free training offered by Toronto Public Health.
  • A Public Health Inspector will inspect the kitchen facility and/or food preparation areas.

Universally accessible

  • The program is offered to all children/youth regardless of their ability to contribute financially.
  • The program is non-stigmatizing or efforts to reduce stigma are made.
  • All children/youth are made to feel welcome and respected.
  • The location of the program is safe, clean and comfortable.
  • Measures are taken to ensure that all children/youth are aware of the program.

Ethnocultural sensitivity

  • Menus and educational components are inclusive and consider the faiths, cultures and preferences of the children/youth and their families.
  • Serve foods that promote faiths and cultures of students.

Financial accountability and liability

  • The site must have a separate bank account for the student nutrition program. Where not possible, please contact the Toronto Foundation for Student Success  or the Angel Foundation for Learning  for assistance.
  • Each cheque must be signed by at least two signing officers, one being the Site Authority.
  • The program must submit monthly financial and activity reports on how the grant was spent.


  • A budget is completed based on the number of children/youth planning to attend the program to estimate program costs.
  • Programs must operate according to the number of children/youth estimated to attend the program AND the number of days the program is operating as stated on the application.
  • Any changes to numbers estimated on the Funding Application must be reported.
  • A minimum of 70% of program costs should be spent on food.

Local fundraising/community partnerships

  • An operating budget should be used to set targets for fundraising. Local fundraising from businesses, faith groups, charities and/or the community is required in order to supplement the funding received from this municipal and/or provincial grant.

Local program planning and consultation

  • A local program committee is established to plan and administer the program and meets a minimum of twice a year.
  • This committee may include, but is not limited to: school principal, parents, students, volunteer coordinators and other volunteers, as well as other interested individuals such as local business people, faith group members, community agency staff, and school board representatives.
  • For a youth student nutrition program, the majority of the committee members should be youth participants.
  • This committee will collaborate with the Site Authority, such as the principal or executive director.
  • This committee is responsible for:
    • Choosing the type of program.
    • Approving the menu and budget.
    • Recruiting, training and coordinating volunteers.
    • Communicating with youth/parents and receiving contributions.
    • Organizing fundraising:
      • Fundraising involving food sales should be focused on healthy food choices.
      • The School Food and Beverage Policy  (PPM 150, The Ministry of Education) outlines food and beverage standards related to on-site school fundraising.
    • Contributions:
      • For a youth student nutrition program, the local program committee may request non-financial contributions from youth to facilitate life skill development and to provide the opportunity for youth to be actively involved in the program, for example participation in fundraising, menu planning, cooking and clean-up.


  • Programs must ensure that the names of program participants and their financial contributions are kept confidential. All information on volunteers, including name, address and telephone number must also be kept confidential.

Food donations

  • Donated food can be used by student nutrition programs as long as;
    • Donated food is fresh, safe to eat and meets the Nutrition Guideline, and;
    • Donated food does not originate from the emergency food system (e.g., food banks).

Other principles of program operation

When possible:

  • Aim to reduce waste through minimal food packaging.
  • Recycle and compost.
  • Offer Ontario grown and/or produced foods.
  • Incorporate nutrition education and physical activity promotion for children/youth in the program. Information is available from a number of sources, including Toronto Public Health.
  • Involve youth in learning skills related to the nutrition program, for example, budgeting and financial skills or healthy food shopping.

Information on timelines for funding for new student nutrition programs in independent schools is available here.

Date Funding Cycle Description
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Student Nutrition Program Grant Applications are available.
December 2020 – February 2021 Foundation and school board staff are available to answer questions about completing applications.
Friday, February 12, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. Funding Applications are due for September 2021 funding.
February 2021 Student Nutrition Ontario – Toronto partner staff review applications. Applicants may be contacted if further information is required to assess the application.
April 2021 Student Nutrition Ontario – Toronto partnership finalizes funding decisions for eligible applicants.
May 2021 The municipal funding allocations report is prepared for the Toronto Board of Health and City Council for approval.
Early June 2021 All applicants are notified if they will/will not receive municipal and/or provincial funding.
September 2021 First of three funding installments sent to programs (second installment in January 2022 and third installment in March 2022).
Friday, October 29, 2021 Late funding applications and appeals for 2021/22 are due for January, 2022 funding.
Late November 2021 Student Nutrition Ontario – Toronto partnership finalizes funding decisions for late funding applications and appeals.
Early December 2021 All late applicants and appellants are notified if they will/will not receive municipal and/or provincial funding.
January 2022 First of two funding cheques are mailed to late funded applicants (second cheque in March 2022).