On behalf of the Toronto District School Board, I am writing you to request that the Government of Ontario provide funding for free menstrual products in all schools across the province.
There are girls and women around the world, including here in Ontario, who cannot afford menstrual products. This lack of access due to economic factors is often referred to as period poverty, which can be damaging at puberty, when school interactions are crucial to a students’ development and mental well-being.
Menstrual hygiene products are not a luxury. They are necessary and essential to menstrual health, comfort and participation in school, work and society. One-third of people who menstruate under the age of 25 in Canada struggle to afford menstrual products, and 70 per cent of people who menstruate say they have missed work or school due to their period. This is unacceptable. No student should have to worry about having access to menstrual products.
In 2019, the Board authorized the Director of Education to enter into a partnership with the charitable organization, Brands Canada, to secure access to menstrual products at no cost to the Board, and decided that free menstrual products be provided in all elementary and secondary schools beginning in the 2019-20 school year. However, in some cases, free menstrual products are provided to students only at a student’s request, which invades student privacy. The products currently provided in TDSB schools are funded by charitable organizations, and not guaranteed to all students who need them.
Therefore, we are asking that the government provide funding for free menstrual products in all schools across the province.
As always, I am available to continue this conversation at your earliest convenience.
Chair, Toronto District School Board