Canada Labour Code to ensure access to menstrual products at work starting next month
As of December 2023, federally regulated employers will be required to make menstrual products available to workers at no cost while they are in the workplace.
Beginning next month, federally regulated employers will be required to make menstrual products available to workers at no cost while they are in the workplace.
The initiative, which was announced in the spring by Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr., will require federally regulated employers to put pads and tampons in washrooms (and other spaces controlled by the employer) so that workers have access to them when needed.
“Menstrual products like pads and tampons are as necessary as toilet paper and soap, but they are not treated that way in most workplaces,” reads a release by the Government of Canada. “That is why, in 2021, the Government of Canada committed to making changes to the Canada Labour Code to ensure access to menstrual products in all federally regulated workplaces.”
This initiative is inclusive to all workers who menstruate, and it aims to improve the well-being of workers who may require menstrual products during their workdays. This includes cisgender women, non-binary individuals, transgender men, and intersex individuals.
“Treating pads and tampons as basic needs will help improve equity, reduce stigma, and create healthier, more inclusive workplaces. It also aligns with other efforts by the Government to break down barriers to equality, such as the Menstrual Equity Fund, through which women’s shelters, not-for-profits, charities, community-based organizations and youth-led organizations would make menstrual products available to Canadians in need. Women and Gender Equality Canada will launch this national pilot project in the coming months,” reads the release.
Federally regulated private sectors (parts I, II, III and IV of the Code) include air transportation, banks, grain elevators, First Nations band councils and Indigenous self-governments, most federal Crown corporations, marine shipping and postal services.
They also include radio and television broadcasting, railways that cross provincial or international borders and some short-line railways, road transportation services, telecommunications, uranium mining and processing and atomic energy any business that is vital, essential or integral to the operation of one of the above activities.
The federally regulated public sector (parts II and IV of the Code only) includes the federal public service, Parliament (such as, the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament) and Private-sector firms and municipalities in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (part I of the Code only).
The final Regulations were developed following extensive consultations with stakeholders, experts and Canadians and this requirement will come into effect on December 15, 2023.