Halifax municipal officials backtrack, say budget to include menstrual products
Staff last month did not budget for menstrual products in municipal facilities
It appears the provision of free menstrual products at Halifax municipal facilities will be part of next year's budget after all, and at a fraction of the original estimate.
Regional councillors asked for the service last fall and were disappointed to discover it was not part of the budget presentation in January.
At the time, municipal officials estimated the move would cost up to $369,000. Councillors threatened to cut the corporate communications budget to cover the cost of the products.
During a budget debate on Wednesday, the director of customer service, Jerry Blackwood, said staff last month had not completed the costing and the initial estimate had been based on what was spent in other Canadian cities.
Blackwood added the new estimate was based on the annual costs of the Halifax Public Library and the provincial school systems, which are already providing free menstrual products.
"We're confident that we'll be able to deliver that program" at a cost of between $20,000 and $30,000, said Blackwood, "and we are going to absorb that."
Coun. Lorelei Nicoll was pleased with the change.
"I always knew there was a more economical solution and I'm glad staff listened," said Nicoll.
The free menstrual products will be available in municipal facilities such as community centres and arenas as of April 1.