Monday, 17 June 2024
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Free menstrual supplies must now be available to employees in federally regulated workplaces

  • Ettinger is the founder of Her for Her, a community organization that focuses on health education across Canada. Along with other bodies, it made recommendations to the government for action.
  • Providing employees with free tampons and pads creates a more equitable work environment, White said.
  • One of the recommendations now required is the installation of menstrual product dispensing and disposal containers in all toilets.

A change to the Canada Labor Code announced in May 2023 requires, starting December 15, that these workplace restrooms have free tampons and menstrual pads, as well as a covered disposal container at each toilet stall.

Products are for employee use only and not for the public. Rachel Ettinger launched a petition for this in 2020, which was eventually presented to the House of Commons by her MP.

‘It’s an inclusive issue’

Ettinger is the founder of Her for Her, a community organization that focuses on health education across Canada. Along with other bodies, it made recommendations to the government for action.

“Knowing that they’re always there makes a huge difference, and you don’t have to carry one with you everywhere, whether it’s the bottom of your purse or the bottom of your school bag or your pocket,” said its managing director Megan White.

Providing employees with free tampons and pads creates a more equitable work environment, White said. “Knowing that they’re always there makes a huge difference, and you don’t have to carry one with you everywhere, whether it’s the bottom of your purse or the bottom of your school bag or your pocket,” said its managing director Megan White.

Providing employees with free tampons and pads creates a more equitable work environment, White said.”It is not appropriate to ask staff to go and find menstrual products on their lunch break, when they should be resting,” she said.

“When you get your period, there’s no way to manage it, and it’s remarkably isolating,” White added.”You either have to sit alone until your bleeding stops, or use toilet paper or some other inappropriate means to manage your period.”

One of the recommendations now required is the installation of menstrual product dispensing and disposal containers in all toilets.

“Women or people who identify as women aren’t the only ones who menstruate,” Ettinger said.

While some critics have taken to social media to condemn the push for menstrual products in men’s restrooms, Megan White has pointed out that limiting products to women’s restrooms would force everyone on their periods to go into the women’s restroom.

Proponents point out that a basket of individually wrapped tampons and pads somewhere in the washroom is sufficient and that disposal containers at every outlet accept incontinence pads.

Although the change in the labor code was announced seven months ago, many affected employers have yet to install dispensers and disposal containers, according to Citron Hygiene’s Canadian division’s marketing director.

While most federal ministries and Crown corporations may have sent the word from above, Christa Blues said it was more hopeless for federally regulated institutions like banks and airports.

In response to CBC’s request for comment, the ministry sent an email asking employees to report situations they believe violate the Labor Code to their employer using the internal complaint resolution process on the department’s website.

The department also wrote that financing the purchase of menstrual products and disposal containers is the sole responsibility of each employer.

The CBC sought comment from Public Services and Procurement Canada, the country’s largest facility manager of federally regulated workplaces, on possible delays in the rollout.

Federal Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan is part of the 1 p.m. ET announcement Friday that marks changes at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

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