The Halton District School Board will provide free menstrual products for students in all HDSB schools by September 2021 as part of the Free Menstrual Products Initiative, a program designed to address some of the gaps in access to menstrual products to promote awareness and alleviate the stigma of menstruation.
Dispensing machines will be installed in all female, gender-neutral, and multi-stall female washrooms in all HDSB schools, with installation completed during the Spring Break and summer months.
This initiative was first implemented for a trial period in Fall 2020 at four HDSB secondary schools (White Oaks SS, Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS, Craig Kielburger SS and Georgetown District HS).
“Access and availability of menstrual products in schools impacts the dignity and self-esteem of menstruating students and can impact class attendance and student achievement,” says Jewel Amoah, the Board’s Human Rights & Equity Advisor.
“Whether for reasons of economics, convenience or safety, access to menstrual products in public spaces, including schools, has become a matter of public commentary and concern in recent years. In keeping with similar initiatives in neighbouring and regional school boards, as well as municipalities in Canadian and international jurisdictions, free access to menstrual products supports both gender and economic equity as well as to raise awareness of, and destigmatize, the natural biological process of menstruation.”
The Free Menstrual Products Initiative was supported by senior leadership at the HDSB and the Board of Trustees in response to feedback from students. The Board’s Research and Accountability Department conducted a study on the availability of menstruation products in HDSB schools. The report concluded that awareness of the availability of menstrual products was inconsistent across HDSB schools and the lack of access to products has the potential to impact students’ school attendance and overall well-being.
For additional information, contact:
Stuart Miller, Director of Education
Halton District School Board