All federally regulated employers in Canada are now required to stock free feminine hygiene products such as tampons and menstrual pads in all restrooms, including men’s.
The new regulations, which went into effect earlier this month under Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s left-wing administration, specify that menstrual products must be in “all toilet rooms, regardless of their marked genders,” according to Canada’s Employment and Social Development website.
“This means that every female-identified, male-identified and all-gender toilet rooms will need to have menstrual products,” the website says, noting that the availability of these items “better protects menstruating employees and makes sure that they feel safe to use the toilet room that best reflects their gender.”
The policy applies to all federal public service departments, crown corporations, banks, airports and train yards, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
The products are intended for employee use and not for members of the public, the publication reported.
Additionally, all affected employers are required to make sure a covered container for the disposal of menstrual products is also provided.
“A disposal container must be placed in each toilet room that has one toilet,” the policy reads on the government website. “In rooms with multiple toilets, a disposal container must be in each toilet stall.”
While the policy change went into effect on Dec. 15, many federally regulated employers had already started stocking their bathrooms with free menstrual products in the days leading up to the deadline.
Former Canadian conservative Senator Linda Frum set off a firestorm online three days earlier after she posted a picture of a basket of products inside a men’s bathroom for transgender members of Parliament.
“Back in the day, when only women menstruated, we had to pay for our own products,” Frum posted to X. “But now that men menstruate too, these products, as of this week, are mandated to be free in all men’s washrooms in all federal workplaces, including Parliament Hill — where this photo was taken today.”
The tongue-in-cheek post blew up online, generating nearly 900,000 views.
“Men do not menstruate,” one responder wrote, to which Frum replied, “Exactly.”
The drive to get the products into all bathrooms controlled by the Canadian government kicked off a few years ago when various advocacy groups such as Here For Her, United Way, Period Packs, and the Canadian Women’s Foundation began lobbying the Canadian government.
Rachel Ettinger, the founder of Here For Her, a group focused on health education, launched a petition that was eventually presented in the House of Commons of Canada.
“Not only women or those who identify as women menstruate,” Ettinger told CBC. “Trans-men, gender-non-conforming and two-spirit folks menstruate as well, and everyone who menstruates deserves to menstruate with dignity.”
Megan White, the executive director of Period Packs, said that limiting the products to women’s restrooms raises equity issues.
“We can’t ask people to self-identify in the workplace,” White told CBC. “Why not accommodate everyone if you can? Why not set the highest standard as a federally regulated agency?”