Since the beginning of this year, cities and local organizations across Canada have announced initiatives to make tampons and pads free for women in their communities. The latest city to take part is Coquitlam in Metro Vancouver. According to the city's website, Coquitlam will offer free menstrual products in several parks around the city starting this week. This initiative is a pilot project that will last into the new year.
In February of this year, a B.C. school district became the first in Canada to offer free pads and tampons to students. Just a couple of months later, B.C. became Canada's first province to require all schools to offer free pads and tampons.
Menstrual products are expensive so naturally, this decision was met with praise. Now, the City of Coquitlam has taken the initiative a step further by making free products available in local public parks.
According to a press release issued by the city, as of November 8, 2019, five parks around the city will be offering free menstrual products in their washrooms.
The products will be offered in the women's and universal washrooms at Town Centre Park, Mundy Park, City Centre Aquatic Complex, Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex, and Pinetree Community Centre.
The city plans to run the project until the middle of March 2020. According to the city, the pilot project is taking place in order to “reduce the barriers to recreation and promote gender equality."
During the four-month trial, the city will work to replenish the push-button dispensers that will hang on the bathroom walls.
In order to gauge the success, the city will conduct a public survey. The results of that survey will then be reported to the council in spring 2020 where steps moving forward will be discussed.
The city has stated that factors affecting the decision will include costs, public feedback, product quality, and dispenser quality, reliability and placement.
The project will cost an estimated $20,0000 and will be funded by the facilities division budget.
If the city were to do this in all 72 women’s and universal washrooms around Coquitlam, it would cost about $35,000 for the dispensers and $25,000 per year for the product.