Manitoba's premier says his government is taking a step towards ensuring one of his biggest campaign promises is in place by the new school year.

Premier Wab Kinew tells the Canadian Press in a year-end interview that the government is putting up $1.5 million to eliminate a waitlist at the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba for the remainder of the current school year. There are currently 51 schools waiting on funding from the non-profit organization which helps school meal and snack programs that ask for assistance.

Kinew and the NDP campaigned on a universal school nutrition program that would cost the province an estimated $30 million per year. He says the program will be reading for the new school year in September 2024.

"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."

With files from the Canadian Press.