NUPGE fighting against “period poverty” in Canada

boxes of tampons, pads

January 23 2023

The cost of products people need while menstruating keeps going up, to the point where some have to choose food over their health. 

NUPGE and its Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues have been raising awareness for years about women and girls facing period poverty in Canada. 

People who menstruate spend a great deal of money on the products they need, like tampons, pads, liners, and menstrual cups. And the cost of those products continues to increase. Some people simply can’t afford to buy these products or in sufficient quantities. This is referred to as period poverty.  

NUPGE’s paper Period Poverty in Canada examines the economic, health and emotional issues associated with having a menstrual cycle. 

For women, girls, gender-diverse people, and women who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour (BIPOC) who are living in poverty, in domestic violence shelters, living with disabilities, or experiencing homelessness, the cost of these products can mean that they are forced to choose food over their health. 

Over the last few years some provinces have provided funds to schools to ensure that free menstrual products are available. These are positive steps, but more must be done. 

Working with its Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues, NUPGE will continue to lobby all levels of governments to provide free menstrual products in schools, shelters, community centres, and other public buildings. These products must be available in bathrooms of both sexes to ensure that transgender and non-binary people have access as well.