Kitchener-Waterloo

Kitchener to offer free pads and tampons in city facilities as part of pilot project

Kitchener is starting a pilot project to offer free menstrual products in the washrooms of city-owned facilities. It follows other groups, like the Kitchener Public Library, offering free menstrual products.

Washrooms at The Aud, community centres and city hall to have free menstrual products

Free menstrual products will be available at the washrooms in Kitchener-owned facilities like The Aud and Activa Sportsplex. It's part of a six-month pilot project. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

People who need a pad or tampon will be able to get one free in Kitchener-owned facilities like The Aud or a community centre as part of a new six-month pilot.

The menstrual products will be either in coin-free dispensers or set on stainless steel trays, the city said in a release Tuesday morning.

Washrooms that will be part of the pilot include ones located in The Aud, Chandler-Mowat Community Centre, Victoria Hills Community Centre, Breithaupt Centre, Lyle Hallman Pool, Activa Sportsplex, and Kitchener city hall.

Coun. Sarah Marsh said in the release that providing the products for free is "an issue of menstrual equiality" and provides products to people who need them without any barriers.

Infrastructure services general manager Denise McGoldrick said the cost of the pilot will be less than $5,000 and the city is working with partners to "negotiate a favourable rate" for the pads and tampons.

McGoldrick says the pilot will "give council the information needed to make informed, evidence-based decisions about the services we provide to Kitchener residents."

The move comes after Cambridge council voted against placing the products in city washrooms or running a pilot project.

But it also follows other groups who have gone ahead with offering free menstrual products, like Kitchener Public Library, Guelph Public Library with donations from a Tampon Tuesday fundraiser run by local business owner Holly Mastrogiacomo and the Waterloo Region District School Board.

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