The City of Coquitlam will offer free menstrual products at five of the city’s parks and recreation facilities for the next few months.
The initiative is part of a city-run pilot project and will begin on November 8. Dispensers with free tampons and pads will be provided at women’s and universal washrooms at Town Centre Park, Mundy Park, City Centre Aquatic Complex, Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex, and Pinetree Community Centre.
The city says the pilot will run until the middle of March 2020 and is “intended to reduce barriers to recreation and promote gender equity.”
“It was triggered by a presentation to Council in May by Dr. Charles Best Secondary students, who noted that B.C. schools will be required to provide free menstrual products by the end of 2019,” notes the city.
Over the four-month trial, staff will replenish supplies and track product use and dispenser condition.
The city will then conduct a public awareness campaign targeting the community and facility users, and they will send out a survey to gauge the effectiveness of the pilot project.
The pilot is estimated to cost $20,000 and will be funded by an existing Facilities Division budget.
The movement for free and accessible period products has been growing in Canada over the past several years.
The NDP brought forward a motion calling for the tampon tax to be removed in Canada in 2015, and it was unanimously passed in the House of Commons.
Canadian post-secondary schools like Centennial College in Toronto have joined in on the Free the Tampon initiative, which works to provide free feminine hygiene and menstrual products in women’s washrooms.
In the spring of 2018, Centennial College announced that all dispensers on campus would provide free menstrual products.
Centennial was one of the first Canadian institutions to make menstrual products free for women, and schools in Halifax, Calgary, and Montreal have followed suit.
In Vancouver, YVR announced in January 2018 that tampons and sanitary pads would be available for free at any information desk at the airport.
In April 2019, the Government of British Columbia announced that all schools in the province would provide free menstrual products to students.
The Liberal government is also committing to making menstrual products free in federally regulated workplaces.
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