QUEEN’S PARK — Marit Stiles, Ontario NDP Education critic, is calling on the provincial government to make menstrual products available free in school washrooms.
Since Stiles introduced her motion this spring, school boards in Thames Valley, Toronto and Waterloo Region have taken the initiative to do this locally. If passed and put into action, Stiles’ motion would close gaps and ensure consistent access by expanding free menstrual products to schools province wide.
“No student in Ontario should have to miss school or suffer embarrassment or shame due to lack of access to menstrual products,” said Stiles. “But this happens all too often right here in our province because of period poverty.”
Cost has posed a barrier to accessing menstrual products for one in three Canadian women under 25, according to a Plan International Canada survey.
“We can remove this barrier for Ontario students by providing free menstrual products in school washrooms,” said Stiles. “That’s why I’m urging the government to support my motion and help end the stigma around menstruation and promote health and well-being in our classrooms.”
Ontario would be in good company, with B.C. and Nova Scotia leading the way on providing free menstrual products in school washrooms.
Stiles announced her motion Friday at a press conference, where she was joined by Stephanie Donaldson, Toronto District School Board Trustee for Ward 9; Maya Larrondo, a student who manages a ‘period locker’ at her Toronto high school; and Hannah Legault, who runs the Red Box Project in Niagara, which collects menstrual products for distribution at schools.
“All students should be able to access the menstrual products they need to feel comfortable and secure during their period,” said Legault. “I hope the government will answer this call to action and tackle period poverty in schools across the province.”