British Columbians could soon have better access to period products.
Ten projects totaling $220,000 are currently looking for the best ways to deliver free menstrual products to communities around B.C., including Hope, Kamloops and Cranbrook.
United Way BC is handling the projects, which help people who experience menstruation and struggle to pay for period products.
Poverty Reduction Minister Shelia Malcolmson said no one should have to choose between paying for food and period products.
“(They) should be available to people who can’t afford them,” said Malcolmson. “That’s why we’re funding community projects to help people access the supplies they need.”
Nikki Hill, chair of the provincial Period Poverty Task Force established in 2022, said the projects not only help people in need now but also in the future.
“They are an important step to ensure people have increased access to menstrual products in our communities.”
United Way BC Chief Executive Officer Michael McKnight said ending period poverty requires a complete picture of challenges and stigmas.
Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity Kelli Paddon said people with lower incomes who menstruate face stigma and social isolation, when caught without necessary products.
Money for the grants is coming from a provincial fund of $750,000 announced in May 2022, when the provincial government also established the task force.
In 2019, the province required all public schools to make menstrual products available at no cost in washrooms.