Federally regulated workplaces are expected to begin offering free menstrual products to workers by the end of 2023.

On Wednesday, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan announced changes to the Canada Labour Code that would ensure access to such products beginning Dec. 15. The changes would require federally regulated workplaces to provide menstrual products to workers at no cost while they’re in the workplace, including the placement of pads and tampons in washrooms or other spaces controlled by the employer.

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As part of its 2021 election campaign, the federal Liberal Party promised to make free tampons and pads available in federally regulated workplaces and to set up a fund to make menstrual products available to vulnerable people. The 2022 federal budget allocated $25 million to establish a national pilot for the menstrual equity fund, which aims to help make menstrual products available to people who may have challenges affording them.

Increased awareness of ‘period poverty,’ a term used to describe financial barriers to accessing menstrual products, has led various jurisdictions to make these products more widely available. Just last year, Scotland passed a law to make menstrual products free for anyone who needs them.

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