Free Menstrual Products in Civic Buildings

Moved by Councillor Santos,

WHEREAS menstruation is a biological process experienced by most young girls and women, it is not a choice, and access to menstrual hygiene products and information about menstruation is a basic human right;

AND WHEREAS there can be detrimental health implications for unsanitary measures taken during menstruation such as infections that lead to toxic shock syndrome, a potentially fatal condition;

AND WHEREAS the high cost of menstrual products still causes these essential items to be out of reach for homeless, low-income, and marginalized women;

AND WHEREAS these products must not only be free of charge, but be provided in ways that also protect privacy, are barrier free and easily accessible, are consistent in delivery and availability, and are non-stigmatizing;

AND WHEREAS current regulations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code require employers to provide supplies such as toilet paper, soap, warm water, and a means to dry hands. The Government of Canada is considering adding menstrual products to that list;

AND WHEREAS countries like Scotland and New Zealand have started providing menstrual products free of charge; provinces like Quebec and British Colombia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia have already moved to provide free menstrual products in schools and other public places along with Canadian cities like London, Ottawa, Vancouver, Hamilton, Halifax, as well as countless educational institutions;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development direct the Winnipeg Public Service to provide the following:

1. Report back within 60 days on cost effective options to provide free menstrual products in civic facilities, including but not limited to, the following options:

A. All public facing civic facilities;

B. Civic facilities that accommodate civic employees;

C. Community and Recreational Centres, Arenas, Pools and Libraries;

D. Public facing civic facilities in “Higher Needs Neighbourhood”;

2. To consider within the report noted above, funding initiatives including, but not limited to, partnerships with manufacturers of menstrual products, non-profit organizations and other levels of government;

3. To conduct a cross jurisdictional scan to determine cost effective solutions that provide free menstrual products to young girls and women, and civic employees.