In a powerful letter published on International Women's Day, a Toronto student organization is calling on the province to provide free menstrual products in schools.
Written by the Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC), the letter calls on Education Minister Stephen Lecce to address the issue of "period poverty" — the inability to access menstrual products.
In the letter, the TYC said a lack of access to menstrual products can damage the social and emotional wellbeing of women, trans men, and non-binary people, and lead to more stigmatization.
"There should be no stigma around something as fundamental as menstruation. Menstrual products are a necessity and not a luxury," the organization said.
The TYC also said that a third of Canadian women under the age of 25 have struggled to afford menstrual products.
In a statement to Narcity, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Education said they know a lack of access can cause "significant stress" for students.
"We remain open and committed to finding innovative solutions to help girls and young women access menstrual products," the spokesperson said.
The TYC said other provinces and school districts in Ontario provide free menstrual products to students, which is why the organization is calling on the province to make it happen before the end of 2021.
"The simple truth is that for far too long we have ignored the issue about menstrual periods and that silence has hurt our young people," the TYC said.