Vancouver civic washrooms could soon provide free pads and tampons

Mar 10 2020, 2:53 pm

A motion on the agenda for Tuesday’s Vancouver city council meeting proposes that free menstrual products be provided in all civic washrooms.

Co-submitted by councillors Melissa De Genova and Rebecca Bligh, the motion requests the council to “direct staff to explore a plan for providing free menstrual products in civic facilities” and consider partnerships with manufacturers of menstrual products, non-profit organizations, and senior levels of government to boost funding initiatives for the cause.

The motion follows the 2018 Women’s Advisory Committee recommendation that requested council to “work to get free-vending tampon and pad dispensers in schools, colleges, government service centres, and homeless shelters.”

Last month, the Vancouver Park Board approved a motion to establish a policy to make tampons and pads available at no cost at all of its facilities with washrooms.

According to the motion, the policy will be part of Vancouver Park Board’s Washroom Strategy, which “takes into consideration the basic biological needs of all washroom users to ensure comfort and equity of access to all parks and recreation facilities.”

The push for free and accessible menstrual products in public spaces has been spearheaded by the United Way of the Lower Mainland Period Promise Campaign, which focuses on making products available to individuals living in poverty.

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In 2019, the BC provincial government pledged $95,000 to the Period Promise and also declared a ministerial order for all schools in the province to provide free menstrual products to students.