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City of Kamloops Provides Access to Free Menstrual Products in Period Product Initiative

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Kamloops, BC—The City of Kamloops is taking action to address period poverty in our community by piloting an initiative to offer free period (menstrual) products to City staff and to the public in select public washrooms. Significant research spearheaded by the United Way British Columbia has brought to light the extent to which our population is negatively affected by barriers limiting access to these essential products. By providing these products to the public for free, the City aspires to minimize those barriers and build a more equitable society.

According to research conducted between 2019-2021, “Half of everybody who menstruates in BC – women, girls, nonbinary people and trans folks – have struggled to buy product at some point in their life,” explained Alexa Graf, the Period Promise Community Capacity Builder at United Way. “More than a quarter have gone through a period without having menstrual products whatsoever, and nearly 15% grew up in homes where they didn’t have access to period products.”

When people don’t have access to period products, they often miss school or work, or use unsafe alternatives to make it through their days.

For several years, the City of Kamloops has participated in the United Way’s Period Promise campaign, collecting donations to provide period products to those in need through community organizations. The United Way campaign also encourages governments, public schools, and other employers to provide period products free of charge to their employees and communities. The City of Kamloops is following the example of several communities who have already taken that pledge including the City of North Vancouver, the City of Victoria, and Thompson Rivers University.

“For too many members of our community, menstruation is a matter of social stigma and financial hardship that prevents them from fully participating in City life,” says Colleen Quigley, the City’s Director of Human Resources and Safety. “Those barriers shouldn’t exist. By providing free access to period products, we make Kamloops more equitable and inclusive for all residents.”

The City of Kamloops period product pilot initiative will begin rolling out on January 23 with period products dispensers being installed in washrooms in the following facilities:

  • City Hall
  • 105 Seymour Street
  • Tournament Capital Centre (TCC)
  • McArthur Island Sport & Event Centre

The City is eager to learn how the availability of products in these public locations will be received by local residents, and is hoping to expand availability to other public washrooms if the pilot is successful. Residents are encouraged to provide feedback through a short survey about the initiative at Kamloops.ca/PeriodProductInitiative. The survey is also available by QR code where period products are being provided.

For more information on the United Way’s Period Promise Campaign visit: PeriodPromise.ca