British Columbia

New Westminster schools to provide free tampons and pads

The city's board of education voted unanimously to provide free menstrual products in all of its schools in September.

Period product dispensers will be in place by September, board says

Members of the New Westminster school board backed calls by Period Promise to provide free menstrual hygiene products in schools. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

The New Westminster board of education passed a motion Tuesday night to provide free menstrual products in all its schools.

Board members voted unanimously to install period product dispensers in women's and universal washrooms by the start of the school year in September.

According to United Way, nearly one in seven Canadian girls have missed school because of their menstrual cycle, because of stigma or the lack of access to hygiene products.

"For women, I'd accepted it to be OK that there were no provisions made for products I needed for natural bodily functions like my period," said Anita Ansari, one of the school board trustees who supported the motion.

Selina Tribe with the Period Promise campaign, which advocates for access to free menstrual products, said it's about time it is written into law. 

"My endgame is a national change, possibly a change to the health and safety act which requires toilet paper to be in every bathroom," said Tribe.

"I'm looking to get an amendment eventually that asks for tampons and pads to be in every accessible bathroom."

Selina Tribe of the Period Promise campaign plans to visit other school boards around Metro Vancouver to push them to put free tampons and pads in school bathrooms. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

Board staff said it will cost $10,000 to install dispensers at all district schools and another $7,000 a year to keep them stocked.

The New Westminster board said it hopes its decision will inspire other districts in B.C. to take similar action.

With files from Eva Uguen-Csenge

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