May 6, 2019 6:00 pm

Halifax looks at making menstrual products free at municipal facilities

WATCH: The Halifax Regional Municipality is considering a program that would make menstrual products free at its facilities.

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The cost of purchasing menstrual products each month can quickly add up, and for some, it is simply too much.

“Single moms or moms, in general, are making the decision between food for their children and these products that are very costly,” said Coun. Lorelei Nicoll.

Last week at Halifax Regional Council, Nicoll put forward the motion to have staff look into providing menstrual products for free at all municipal facilities.

“This is just a piece we could do as a municipality to make it more affordable,” she said.

The motion passed unanimously, and a staff report is now being prepared.

In the meantime, some places across Halifax Regional Municipality have already taken it upon themselves to provide such products free of charge.

WATCH: Mount Saint Vincent University to offer free pads, tampons on campus


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Mount Saint Vincent University started making these products available on campus last year, and now, the airport is doing the same.

Just last month, two Dartmouth PharmaChoice pharmacies took it a step further by providing the products free of charge to customers in need.

“I saw a lot of comments on a Facebook post and realized there was a great need,” said Highfield Park store manager Cassidy Bellefontaine.

“We (now) get at least five to six people a day coming in, whether it’s for an entire box of pads or tampons or a diva cup or just a single one.”

READ MORE: Halifax pharmacy to offer free feminine hygiene products to customers in need

Now, the federal government is also looking to tackle the issue.

On Friday, the Liberal government released a proposal that looks at putting menstrual products in the same group of supplies that federally regulated employers must provide, like soap and toilet paper.

Nicoll says she is glad the issue is now in the spotlight.

“Because at the end of the day, it’s gender specific,” she said, a sentiment echoed by Bellefontaine.

“It’s not a luxury item, it’s a basic necessity of life. Either bring the cost down, help people be able to afford it or just make it free,” she said.

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