Canada menstrual equity plans should hear from affected groups: advocates

By The Canadian Press

The federal government is outlining plans to create a national project to help make menstrual products available to Canadians in need.

Budget 2022 proposes to put up $25 million over two years to establish the pilot project for a Menstrual Equity Fund.

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Gabrielle Trépanier, advocacy co-chair of Bleed The North, believes there’s absolutely a need for the government to have a full consultation on the project before anything is decided.

“I think that the information that circulates out there in terms of menstruation is limited and doesn’t always highlight all the people that experience menstruation. Often times, we have folks like Indigenous folks or people who have menstrual disabilities who get missed in these programs because there isn’t that lengthy consultation,” she said.

The latest budget notes difficulties in accessing menstrual products — a basic necessity — can create barriers that make it difficult for some women, girls, trans, and non-binary Canadians “to fully participate” in society.

Kevin Hiebert, director of business development at Changing the Flow, says the groups directly affected by lack of access should lead the discussion on how to do it right.

“Folks that are living with housing insecurity, financial insecurity, disability, trans, racialized, so forth, go to where they are and say, ‘What does solving period poverty look like to you?'” he said.

Bhanvi Sachdeva, youth advocate for Plan International Canada, also notes this work should keep the climate in mind, moving from single-use period products to reusable ones.

Women and Gender Equality Minister Marci Ien said on March 22 in the House of Commons that she is consulting with organizations about menstrual equity to inform their work.

In its budget unveiled Thursday, the Liberals said they are “committed to addressing the barriers related to affordability and stigma” that some people face.

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