Public schools in Nova Scotia have joined a growing list of places to offer free menstrual products.
The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon at Halifax West High School by both Kelly Regan, the minister for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and Zach Churchill, the minister of Education.
“We know that sometimes we may forget to plan ahead or we may find ourselves in an emergency, and sometimes the cost of pads or tampons can be an issue,” said Regan.
“We want to ensure every student has access to menstrual products when they need them and we want students to be comfortable accessing them without stigma.”
Starting immediately, all 367 schools across the province with students in grades four to 12 will provide free menstrual products for students, though it will be up to each school individually to decide how and where the products will be offered.
Some schools have already been offering products to students, but Churchill says this will ensure universal access to these products.
“Students should be able to focus on learning,” said Churchill. “No student should come to school worrying about where and how to access menstrual products.”
While some schools and school boards across the country have taken on similar initiatives, Nova Scotia becomes only the second province after B.C. to implement a province-wide initiative.
It’s not just schools fighting against period poverty. Earlier this year, libraries across HRM started offering free menstrual products in their washrooms. The year before, Mount Saint Vincent University starting offering products for free to their students.
Since then the Halifax airport has also gotten on board, and Halifax Regional Council is looking into offering products for free at all municipal facilities.
WATCH: Halifax considering making menstrual products free at municipal facilities
For many, it’s a long time coming as these products are a necessity, not a luxury.
“This is not something over which women have a choice, This is something that happens naturally every month,” said Regan.