Menstrual products now available at no cost to employees in federally regulated workplaces
December 15, 2023 Toronto, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
Menstruation is a fact of life, and our workplaces should reflect that.
Starting today, federally regulated employers are now required to provide pads and tampons to any employee who needs them while on the job at their workplace. Employers are required to provide these products at no cost to employees in an accessible and private workplace location, such as a washroom or office supply cabinet. This will benefit nearly half a million employees across Canada. The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour, made the announcement at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto, Ontario, alongside the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Member of Parliament for Toronto—St. Paul's.
Treating pads and tampons as the basic necessities that they are in federally regulated private and public sector workplaces will create healthier and more inclusive workplaces, improve gender equity, and reduce stigma around periods. With these changes, Canada takes another major step as a leader in workplace gender equity, creating one of the most comprehensive workplace menstrual product policies in the world. Alongside measures such as providing 10 days of paid sick leave in federally regulated workplaces, our Government is continuing to break down barriers and lead by example to create more equitable workplaces across Canada. And through initiatives such as the Menstrual Equity Fund Pilot, we are making sure nobody is left behind as we build a better, more just Canada.
Federally regulated employers are encouraged to consult guidance material from Employment and Social Development Canada or contact the Labour Program at 1-800-641-4049 for more information on these changes.
“We don’t expect you to bring your own toilet paper to work, so why should we expect you to bring pads and tampons? We’re providing menstrual products to employees in federally regulated workplaces because periods are a fact of life and there should be no stigma.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour and Seniors
“This is about basic health and hygiene. Every workplace should be providing free menstrual products. Today is a big day, but I hope this soon becomes the norm.”
– The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Member of Parliament for Toronto—St. Paul's
“At a time when Canadians are struggling to make ends meet, buying pads, tampons and other menstrual products shouldn’t be an additional source of financial strain. By making these products free and accessible in federally regulated workspaces, we are taking another step forward to end period poverty and advance menstrual equity. This is about putting money back in the pockets of people in need and building a more equitable country.”
– The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
This initiative is inclusive of all employees who menstruate, including cisgender women, non-binary individuals, transgender men and intersex individuals.
The Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code (Menstrual Products) were developed and finalized following extensive consultations with stakeholders, experts and Canadians. The Government:
- published a Government notice and a What We Heard Report;
- convened a roundtable of experts and published a summary of findings;
- launched a public consultation;
- held targeted consultations with stakeholders;
- pre-published the draft regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette on October 14, 2022, for a 30-day comment period; and
- published the final regulations in Part II of the Canada Gazette on May 10, 2023.
The Government is also currently working on amending the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to update the sanitation provisions and recognize all-gender toilets, and expects to pre-publish the draft regulations in 2024.
On May 28, 2023, to highlight Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Government issued the following statement and took part for the first time in the WASH United’s social media campaign to demonstrate support and raise awareness on menstrual equity.
- Requirements for employers to provide menstrual products in federally regulated workplaces
- Canada Labour Code to ensure access to menstrual products at work starting December 15
- Government of Canada one step closer to ensuring free access to menstrual products in federally regulated workplaces
- Minister O’Regan receives Task Force report on Employment Equity Act modernization
- Minister of Labour’s mandate letter (December 16, 2021)
- Food Banks Canada selected to run a national pilot addressing barriers to menstrual equity
For media enquiries, please contact:
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Minister of Labour and Seniors
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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