EASTERN ONTARIO – The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) has announced that it has installed menstrual product dispensers in all of its schools across Eastern Ontario.
Last spring, then Student Trustee Tain Hughes brought forward a motion asking the UCDSB to formulate a policy to provide free menstrual products to students.
As a result of Hughes’ effort, the UCDSB purchased and has now installed 337 dispensing units.
“At all our schools, we want students to feel accepted and understood, and allow for open communication to resolve the issues we face with a goal to improve ourselves daily,” said incumbent UCDSB Student Trustee Eshal Ali. “This policy is a large step in the right direction as it helps resolve the issue of economic strain, increase equitability and accessibility, and the awareness of student needs.”
UCDSB Chair John McAllister said that this measure makes access to menstrual products consistent across all of the board’s schools.
“While we have always had menstrual products available in schools, it was made apparent that we weren’t being consistent across the board. Now, all students will know where to get the products they need, when they need them, without having to worry,” said McAllister. “We’re also appreciative that the province has recently added support to this initiative by supplying free products to our schools.”
This comes one-week after the province announced a plan to distribute six million free menstrual products to school boards per year.
The products will be provided through a deal between the province and Shoppers Drugmart.
“Through the strong advocacy of young leaders in our schools, it has become extremely clear that menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury,” said Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “This agreement will help remove barriers for women and girls by allowing them to access products at school, free of charge. It is another important way that we are helping to build more inclusive schools that empower all girls to have the confidence to succeed.”