Free Menstrual Products: What You Need To Know About The New Legislation Changes in Canada

Aunt flow Tampon dispenser and sanitary napkin dispenser units

Updated on April 29, 2024

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As the experts in providing Period Dignity Washrooms, we have your turnkey solution to the changing legislation, from products to services.

Canada has made a landmark leap towards equality in the workplace! 

As of December 15, 2023 new legislation in Canada has made it mandatory for all federally regulated workplaces to begin providing free menstrual products

Every company in Canada should be familiar with this new legislation and begin prioritizing the provision of free menstrual products in the workplace as the drive for menstrual equity continues to grow across the country. 

Scroll down and learn:

  • What the new legislation means
  • Why period positive spaces matter
  • How to start creating a period positive space in your workplace today 

“We’d never ask people to bring their own toilet paper to work. So why do we do that with menstrual products?”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour 

Understanding the New Canadian Legislation 

The new changes to the Canada Labour Code mean that federally regulated employers are now required to provide pads and tampons in workplace washrooms for employees who need them at no cost. 

The new regulations made under the Canada Labour Code (Menstrual Products) require employers to provide:

  • Free clean and hygienic tampons and menstrual pads in each toilet room 
  • Free menstrual products in another location when it is not feasible to provide them in a toilet room 
  • A covered container for the disposal of menstrual products in each toilet compartment 

ALSO READ: The Benefits of Tampon and Sanitary Napkin Dispensers in Public Restrooms

 

Why did the Canadian Government begin to require free access to menstrual products?

The Canadian Government made amendments to the labour code, requiring the provision of free menstrual products, to fulfil its mandate to maintain healthy and safe workplaces. 

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The Canadian Government has estimated that approximately 35% of their employees require menstrual products on a regular basis

The main objectives of the new government legislation is to:

  • Better protect the physical and psychological health and safety of menstruating employees
  • To address systemic inequities, such as gender-based discrimination and inequities faced by all vulnerable populations 
  • To stand up for fairness and equality 

While the free provision of menstrual products currently only applies to federally regulated workplaces, it’s important for other companies to recognize the significance of this issue and take action in their own workplaces. 

Benefits for federally regulated employees

After undertaking a quantitative analysis, the Government of Canada has outlined a number of benefits the provision of free menstrual products in workplaces brings, including:

  • Increased productivity 
  • Reduction in absenteeism 
  • Improved health and safety

But the benefits don’t stop there. Period anxiety, shame and stigma can be significantly reduced when menstruators have pads and tampons readily available when they need them. 

Furthermore, studies have shown that providing menstrual products in public restrooms can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

TikTok Video - Period Equity

 

The Importance of Free Access to Menstrual Products

Free access to menstrual products isn’t just a matter of convenience. 

Menstrual equity recognizes that similar to using the washroom to urinate, menstruation is a natural and unavoidable part of life, and that access to menstrual products should not be a privilege, but a basic human right. 

Menstrual equity is a matter of social justice and gender equality. It strives to remove the financial, educational and social barriers that prevent people from managing their periods with dignity. 

 

What is menstrual equity in Canada? 

Menstrual equity in Canada means providing equal, fair, and accessible access to tampons and sanitary napkins for those who need them, in a dignified and shame-free way. Now in Canada, federally regulated workplaces will be required to offer free period products in workplace washrooms. 

Already, provinces across Canada, such as Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and others have begun programs to make period products available within school systems. 

5 startling menstrual equity quick facts

  1. 86% of women have started their period in public without the supplies needed – Aunt Flow
  2. 70% of menstruators have missed school or work because of their period – Canadian Public Health Association  
  3. 1 in 5 girls, women and people who menstruate in Canada struggle to afford menstrual products – Plan International
  4. More than 4 in 5 menstruators (83%) believe period products are too expensive – Government of Canada 
  5. 75% of menstruators believe that period products should be offered free EVERYWHERE to ALL menstruators, all the time – Citron Hygiene
See also  The Unequal Price of Periods: Why are Tampons Expensive?

ALSO READ: 5 Reasons Why Period Products Should Be Free

Changing the cycle: Menstrual equity around the world 

Canada is just one country that recently took action to make menstrual products free for anyone who needs them. 

Scotland passed a law last year making it a legal requirement on local authorities and education providers to make free menstrual products like tampons and sanitary pads available “to anyone who needs them.” Scotland is the first country in the world to make period products free for all.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill makes it clear that freely accessible period products means:

  • People should not have to ask for sanitary napkins or tampons
  • People should not have to justify why they need menstrual products
  • Visibility and normalization is important to offering a dignified response 

In 2021 New Zealand ensured that all schools have access to tampons and menstrual pads to combat school absenteeism due to period poverty. 

Other countries including South Africa, Australia, and France have also begun providing free menstrual products in schools. 

Aunt flow Tampon dispenser and sanitary napkin dispenser units

Be Workplace Ready: Create Period Positive Spaces in Your Workplace Today

Even if not legally mandated, companies across the country – big and small – should prioritize the provision of free menstrual products and create period positive spaces as part of their commitment to employee welfare and gender inclusivity. 

By providing free menstrual products, companies can contribute to creating an inclusive and supportive work environment for all employees. 

Providing free period products in the workplace:

  • Shows a commitment to gender equality 
  • Breaks down stigmas surrounding menstruation 
  • Promotes the physical and mental well-being of employees 

Providing free period products in your workplace

If you’re looking to create a more period positive space in your workplace washrooms, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here are three steps to get started:

  1. Tampon and Pad Dispensers: Learn how the Aunt Flow Menstrual Product Dispenser works to provide organic, sustainable free-vend tampons and pads in your business. Discover Aunt Flow.  
  2. Sanitary Disposal Units: Upgrade your tampon and sanitary napkin disposal units to offer a dignified, touch-free and hygienic solution in each bathroom stall. Explore Sanitary Disposal Units.  
  3. Talk with an Expert: Book a free, no-obligation consultation with our certified technicians who can help you learn more about how to create a period positive space in your washroom. Book a consultation to ensure you are compliant for the new legislation. 
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Here at Citron Hygiene we are experts at helping to bring menstrual equity to life in public and workplace washrooms of all shapes and sizes. We would be thrilled to partner with you to help roll-out free menstrual products in your workplace this year! 

ALSO READ: The Tampon Dispenser Dilemma: Why It’s Not As Complicated As You Might Think

Common Questions

Q: What would happen if period products were free?

If period products were free, research done by the Government of Canada shows that physical and psychological health and safety risks for menstruators would be significantly reduced, including: lower shame and anxiety, no longer needing to macgyver a makeshift pad or tampon out of toilet paper, and more hygienic and sanitary experiences in the washroom. 

Q: Will people take too many tampons? 

Our experience at Citron Hygiene shows that no, people don’t take too many tampons from free tampon dispensers. Similar to how you offer toilet paper for free, people will use as much as they need. 

Q: How many Canadians can’t afford period products?

According to research done by Plan International Canada Inc. approximately 34 per cent of menstruators in Canada had to make budget sacrifices “often” or “occasionally” to afford menstrual products. 

Find out how we can elevate your washroom experience today.