Some parents of Nova Scotia school children say the province's rule on selling sweets at fundraisers is leaving a sour taste in their mouth.
The Departments of Education and Health are banning "foods of minimum nutrition" from fundraisers – including cakes, the top prize in popular 'cake walks'.
The government sent a memo to parents in mid-May, pointing out that unhealthy fundraisers aren't in line with the Food and Nutrition Policy for public schools.
"Quite frankly, it's up to the parents to determine whether or not we want to allow our kids candy," said Pamela Lovelace, head of the Home and School Association at Hammonds Plains Consolidated School.
'Cake walks can include cakes of moderate or maximum nutrition'—Memo from the Government of Nova Scotia
She points out that fundraisers which include sweets raise thousands of dollars every year. She said the timing of the memo – just weeks after cuts were announced in schools across the province – is distasteful.
"It's a real concern considering the tens of thousands of dollars that schools need to fundraise for to put back in the classrooms."
The government's memo said fundraisers, such as the cake walks, can continue, but they must "include cakes of Moderate or Maximum nutrition." Other sugary treats, including cotton candy, are also banned from school fundraisers.
"What I would say to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health is I would hope that you have better things to do than to tell parents what they can and cannot fundraise with," said Lovelace.
Cake walk continues
On Saturday, Hammonds Plains parents broke the rule as kids entered a draw to win one of dozens of cakes. Lovelace said they were given just one week's notice that the policy would apply, and after months of planning, she said the parents weren't going to cancel the event.
"This is the peak season for spring flings across the province. We have no time to respond to that."
Many parents at the event said they don't agree with the government.
"This is bringing fun back into the kids' world," said Jeff Thompson. "I don't think these are things to be getting rid of."
Lovelace agrees that it's important to teach children healthy eating habits, but she draws the line at banning fundraisers.
"I would hope that the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Wellness would determine the amount of money that we're actually losing by not being able to fundraise and put that money back into education, and back into classrooms," she said.