The City of North Vancouver is starting a pilot program which will provide free menstrual products in some facilities and public places around the region.
In a move the city says is “addressing barriers, promoting gender equity, and supporting those in need,” the products will be at six locations around the city, including 14 women’s, men’s, and universal washrooms at City Hall, MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver, North Vancouver City Library, and The Shipyard Commons. Ray Perrault Park and Waterfront Park will also be piloting the program.
In a statement, the city said the pilot supports its council’s priority of “creating a city that is welcoming, inclusive, safe, accessible, and supports the health and well-being of all.”
The two-year pilot project is in partnership with United Way British Columbia as part of the Period Promise initiative, and in collaboration with North Vancouver City Library and MONOVA.
“No one in our community should ever be left out or feel excluded,” said Mayor Linda Buchanan. “Unfortunately equitable access to menstrual products remains a barrier for many. That’s why we are proud to partner with United Way and pilot the Period Promise initiative. By making free menstrual products accessible in civic facilities, we are creating a more inclusive city for all people.”
Staff initially brought the pilot report to city council in December of last year, with the report budgeting for the pilot to cost approximately $12,600 for the two year period.
The city said the program is aimed at ensuring people who have periods don’t experience barriers to participating in school, work, and recreational activities.
United Way’s CEO Michael McKnight said the city joining the Period Promise initiative is one way the municipality can build healthier, more inclusive communities.
“This is how we strengthen vital connections and alleviate period poverty,” McKnight said.
People who access the free products are being invited by the city to provide feedback on the pilot. The city said comments it receives over the next two years will guide any future decision on the initiative once it is completed.
Charlie Carey is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.