The City of Victoria will be the first municipality in B.C. to sign on to the “Period Promise,” offering menstrual products at no charge in a number of civic facilities.
Beginning this year, tampons and pads will be available in places such as City Hall, the Crystal Pool and public washrooms, the city announced.
“We know that not having access to menstrual products when you need them can be a risk to people’s health and socially isolating,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a statement.
“Providing free menstrual products in city facilities is a small, practical thing we can do that will make a big difference in the lives of many people in our community.”
WATCH: What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products
The Period Promise is an initiative by the United Way acknowledging that menstrual products are a monthly necessity for nearly half of the population, yet remain unaffordable to many low-income people.
A 2018 study by Plan International Canada found that one-third of women under 25 say they’ve struggled to afford menstrual products, and that they were among the top three material costs of being a woman in all age groups.
The charity has begun a national campaign to help collect them and fund their distribution to people in need.
“Monthly menstruation products are a necessity, but if you’re living in poverty — or vulnerable in other ways — access to menstrual products can be challenging,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Greater Victoria.
“We thank the City of Victoria for joining the Period Promise movement and breaking down barriers by providing access to free products in their facilities.”
In April, the B.C. government announced it would ensure the distribution of free menstrual products in school bathrooms by the end of the year.