B.C. schools must provide free tampons, pads to students by end of year

The province issued a ministerial order, along with $300,000 in funding

Schools across B.C. must carry free menstruation products for students by the end of 2019.

Education Minister Rob Fleming issued the ministerial order Friday, saying access to tampons and pads will help create a better learning environment.

“Students should never have to miss school, extracurricular, sports or social activities because they can’t afford or don’t have access to menstrual products,” said Fleming.

READ MORE: New Westminster school district to give students free tampons, pads

READ MORE: Study aims to help women with painful periods

The province announced $300,000 in startup funding for B.C.’s 60 school districts to install dispensary machines in washrooms.

The government also announced a one-time grant of $95,000 to support a United Way initiative that provides menstruation products for up to 10 non-profit agencies.

One in seven Canadian girls have missed school because of their menstrual cycle, according to the United Way, often because of stigma or the lack of access to pads and tampons.

“Having your period is a part of life, and easy and affordable access to menstrual products should be simple,” Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, said in a news release.

In February, New Westminster’s school board voted unanimously to provide free products for students.

At the time, they estimated that the total cost would be roughly $9,700 for installing dispensary machines, with an annual cost of $7,000 for supply.

They also estimated 2,800 tampons and 1,800 pads would be used across 13 schools each year.


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