Nova Scotia

Free pads, tampons for MSVU students this September

Menstrual health products have always been available at the university's health office and for sale from dispensers in the bathrooms, but starting September they will be available for free in all main buildings.

Menstrual products will not be in bathrooms but at different locations throughout campus

Pads and tampons will be available to students for free beginning in September at MSVU. (La corneja artesana/Shutterstock )

Menstruating​ students at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax will no longer need to pay for pads and tampons on campus.

Menstrual health products have always been available at the university's health office and for sale from dispensers in the bathrooms, but starting September they will be available for free in all main buildings.

"We're very excited," Nikki Jamieson, president of the MSVU student union, told CBC's Maritime Noon Tuesday.

Advocates at universities and colleges across Canada have for some time been calling for free pads and tampons for menstruating students.

The MSVU student union made the announcement to students this week after receiving a commitment from the university.

Jamieson said the student union began heavily pushing the school to provide free pads and tampons in the last year. She said it was a major ask in the 2017-2018 budget.

Not in washrooms

But there is a hitch. Unlike other hygiene products, like soap and toilet paper, tampons and pads won't be in washrooms.

Instead, there will be signs in the bathroom that show nearby areas where they can be picked up.

The university said there are two reasons for this. The first is that it will be easier for distributors to drop off the products in central locations throughout the campus. The second is that it will allow the university to get a better sense of demand.

I wouldn't have to go ask somebody for a paper towel or a napkin if I needed to blow my nose, and I don't think you should need to ask somebody permission for a tampon or pad either.- Nikki Jamieson , MSVU student union president

Jamieson said the student union will lobby to have pads and tampons in washrooms throughout campus.

"I believe these products should be accessible everywhere all the time. I wouldn't have to go ask somebody for a paper towel or a napkin if I needed to blow my nose, and I don't think you should need to ask somebody permission for a tampon or pad either," Jamieson said. 

Jamieson said student reaction to free pads and tampons on campus has been really positive since the student union made the news public Tuesday.

Having menstrual health products for free on campus will help students, Jamieson said. Pads and tampons can be expensive for students, she said.

"I believe all female students face a financial burden with it. As we know, tax on menstrual health products as well as just the price is general is exuberant compared to any other products," Jamieson said.

with files from Maritime Noon

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