Canada introduces legislation for free access to menstrual products in workplaces

As of 15 December, federally regulated employers will be required to provide free menstrual products to their employees in the workplace, the Canadian government announced on 10 May.


This means placing sanitary pads and tampons in restrooms (or other places controlled by the employer) so that any worker who needs these products at work has access to them. The initiative is aimed at anyone who may need menstrual products during the workday: women, non-binary individuals, transgender men, and intersex individuals.

The imposition of an obligation on federally regulated employers to provide employees with free menstrual products in the workplace was announced by the Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr.

“Tampons and pads are basic necessities. So we’re making sure they’re provided to workers at no cost, because it’ll make for healthier and safer workplaces,” he explained.

The Canada Labour Code regulations, developed after extensive public consultation, apply to the federal offices and agencies, as well as a number of other institutions. They will be in effect at airports and post offices, banks and means of transport (trains and buses), among others. The obligation to implement the new provisions of law has been imposed on the Indigenous peoples’ governments, as well as local governments and private companies in three regions: Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

“Adding menstrual products to the list of other basic sanitary items at no cost just makes sense. Our government is leading by example to address menstrual equity and encourages other businesses to consider how they can advance gender equality in all workplaces,” explained Jenna Sudds, Parliamentary Secretary to the Canadian Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.

With these changes to the Code, Canada is following in the footsteps of such provinces as British Columbia and other countries such as Scotland, which provide free and universal access to menstrual products in the workplace.