The movement for menstrual equity has gained considerable momentum over the last 18 months, as more facilities—ranging from schools to public spaces—are taking the initiative to offer free feminine hygiene products. This movement was supported in May 2023 when the Canadian government mandated free access to feminine hygiene products in all federally run workplaces.
The aim is not only to combat period poverty and promote gender equality, but also ensure those who menstruate have unconditional access to necessary products, similar to toilet paper and soap, that support healthy personal hygiene.
Here’s what you need to know about introducing menstrual products to your facility.
Federal Legislation: When Does It Take Effect?
Beginning December 15, 2023, federal workplaces will be required to offer menstrual products in all washrooms. The legislation aims to improve the well-being of nearly half a million Canadian workers who may require menstrual products during their workdays.
Treating pads and tampons as basic needs helps improve equity, reduce stigma, and create healthier, more inclusive workplaces.
|Did you know? In 2019, B.C. was the first province to require access to menstrual products in school washrooms. Several provinces have followed suit, including Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador and Manitoba.|
What Products Should You Offer?
Given the diversity of needs and preferences, offering a range of products from sanitary pads and tampons to reusable options like menstrual cups is recommended. For most facilities, sanitary pads and tampons are the standard offerings.
Dispensers: A Convenient Option
Dispensers, while not strictly mandatory, are highly recommended. They facilitate easy and hygienic access to menstrual products. Both manual and automated dispensers are effective, although automated ones offer additional sanitary benefits. Dispensers can also assist with tracking consumption and ensuring products are well stocked.
- Location: Ideal locations for dispenser installation are near sinks or adjacent to toilet stalls for maximum visibility and ease of access.
- Surface: You can install dispensers on a variety of surfaces—whether it’s tiles, drywall, or metal partitions. Bunzl technicians are trained for secure and effective installation.
- Type of Dispensers: Universal dispensers that accommodate both pads and tampons are convenient. However, if space allows, specialized dispensers for different products can be installed.
|Be sure to educate washroom users about proper disposal of feminine hygiene products. Used menstrual should not be flushed down toilets, as this can cause significant plumbing issues. Place sanitary napkin and menstrual waste containers near toilets to promote proper disposal.|
Providing free menstrual products is a significant step toward building an inclusive and equitable environment. With the federal government and various provinces in Canada already showing the way, the implementation of this essential service is becoming increasingly straightforward.
If you would like to know more about available dispenser and menstrual products options prior to legislation taking effect, please reach out to your local Bunzl Cleaning & Hygiene sales professional or contact us.