British Columbia

Fort St. John, B.C., considers supplying free menstrual products in public spaces

A city councillor in the northeastern reaches of the province wants to make menstrual products free in community centres, arenas and parks.

'We need to look at some changes to serve what amounts to 50 per cent of our population'

Fort St. John, B.C., is examining the cost of providing free menstrual products in public spaces. (CBC)

A city councillor in Fort St. John, B.C., wants to make menstrual products free and available in all public spaces in the community.

Byron Stewart presented a resolution at Tuesday's council meeting calling for staff to report on the feasibility and cost of putting items like tampon and pad dispensers in cultural spaces, parks, arenas and more. It passed unanimously.

"Menstrual products should be ... no different than the supply of toilet paper water, sewer, soap hand towels," Stewart told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

"I think the taboo or the stigma that has just been with periods or menstrual cycles has gone on too long.

"We need to look at some changes to serve what amounts to 50 per cent of our population."

All B.C. public schools will be required to provide free menstrual products for students in school bathrooms by the end of 2019, a move the Ministry of Education says is a first among provinces.

Advocates have long said that access to menstrual hygiene products is a basic matter of dignity and for some women, especially impoverished women, poor access to tampons or pads can be a barrier.

Stewart said staff have been directed to report back to council as soon as possible.

Listen to the full interview:

Following news that all B.C. schools must provide free menstrual products, Fort St. John city councillor Byron Stewart wants to see cities do the same. 6:34

With files form CBC Radio One's Daybreak North

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