FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At Monday’s Regular Council meeting Councillor Byron Stewart made a notice of motion regarding public facilities and free feminine hygiene products.
Councillor Stewart inquired if free feminine hygiene products were available in public facilities in response to the news of the provincial government now offering free hygiene products in schools.
“Wondering if we have a policy in place regarding feminine hygiene products in our public facilities,” said Councillor Stewart, “going forward with that in my mind it’s part of our bodies regular functioning as much as toilet paper, water and paper towel.”
The provincial government issued a press release Friday, April 5th, 2019, under a ministerial order, that all B.C. public schools will be required to provide free menstrual products for students in school washrooms by the end of 2019.
Education Minister Rob Fleming said it’s time to normalize and equalize access to menstrual products in schools, helping to create a better learning environment for students.
“Students should never have to miss school, extracurricular, sports or social activities because they can’t afford or don’t have access to menstrual products,” said Fleming, adding that current research indicates that one in seven students has missed school due to their periods because they cannot afford products.
“This is a common-sense step forward that is, frankly, long overdue. We look forward to working with school districts and communities to make sure students get the access they need with no stigma and no barriers.”
The ministerial order – takes effect immediately but allows districts until the end of 2019 to comply – comes with $300,000 in provincial startup funding. Over the coming months, the ministry will continue to work with school districts, community and education partners to look at the needs of each district, identify gaps and ensure they have the funding needed to meet this new requirement.