B.C. government promises menstrual products for public schools

Ministerial order requires all public schools to provide menstrual products

Parliament Secretary for Gender Equity Mitzi Dean speaking at United Way in Burnaby. Photo by Liam Hill-Allan.
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Reported by Missy Johnson, Liam Hill-Allan and Agazy Mengesha

The B.C. government announced Friday that schools would have better access to menstrual products.

Speaking at United Way in Burnaby, the government announced a ministerial order that would require all B.C. public schools to provide free menstrual products to their students. The order takes effect immediately, but gives schools until the end of 2019 to comply with the order.

One in seven girls experience reduced education time due to lack of access to menstrual products, according to Education Minister Rob Fleming.

“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,” Fleming said.  “It’s critically important for the dignity of our students.”

The order comes with $300,000 in funding, and the ministry will work with public schools in the upcoming months to ensure they can meet the requirement.

Fleming said it would be up to the school districts on whether or not they will provide sanitary items in both female and male bathrooms to include trans and non-binary individuals.

Additionally, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson announced a $95,000 grant to United Way’s Lower Mainland project to provide better access to menstrual products for those experiencing poverty.

“Having your period is a part of life, and easy and affordable access to menstrual products should be simple,” said Mitzi Dean, the parliamentary secretary for gender equity.

“Seeing my male colleagues here is so supportive,” she said.

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