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Ontario Launches Free Menstrual Products in Schools

Menstrual hygiene products should be available to everyone who needs them. Unfortunately, inadequate access to menstrual products is a reality for many Ontarians, including our students. A recent survey showed that 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to regularly or occasionally sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products and 63% of women and girls have regularly or occasionally missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products or proper facilities.

Period poverty impacts the most vulnerable students — often from low income families and new Canadians — and is a situation that has been exacerbated by increased financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who cannot afford menstrual products may experience a higher rate of absenteeism from school, challenges to engage fully in the classroom, and negative health effects such as infections and toxic shock syndrome. It can also affect their social and emotional well-being.

The government recognizes this challenge and is committed to addressing it head-on through an innovative partnership leveraging the private sector to support this public health improvement. That’s why, the government partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart to improve access to menstrual products by providing school boards six million menstrual products per year free of charge.

This three-year agreement will help women and girls by removing barriers and promoting health and safety. It is an important step towards reaching period parity. The distribution will begin in the 2021-22 school year and will be provided to all 72 school boards and four isolate boards for student use. Today’s announcement builds on ongoing efforts to eliminate period poverty across our province, and it is another important way that we are helping to build more inclusive schools that empower all girls to have the confidence to succeed.

In partnership with @ShopprsDrugMart, we are removing barriers for young women & girls – to support #SaferSchools, we are providing 18M #freemenstrualproducts to school boards over the next three years! Learn more: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000941/ontario-launches-free-menstrual-products-in-schools