Canada to require employers to provide free menstrual products in federally regulated workplaces

The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with tulips in bloom in the foreground. Photo: HR Law Canada/Canva

Canada’s federal government has announced that employers will soon be required to provide free menstrual products in all federally regulated workplaces.

As of Dec. 15, 2023, workers will have access to pads and tampons in washrooms or other areas controlled by their employers. The initiative is designed to provide equitable access to menstrual products for all workers who menstruate, including cisgender women, non-binary individuals, transgender men, and intersex individuals.

The changes to the Canada Labour Code were first announced in 2021, with the Government of Canada acknowledging that menstrual products are as necessary as toilet paper and soap, but are often not treated that way in most workplaces.

The final regulations, which have been developed following extensive consultations with stakeholders and experts, were published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.

According to Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr., the provision of free menstrual products will help create healthier and safer workplaces. It will also help reduce stigma and improve equity for workers who require access to these products during their workdays.

The initiative is part of the Government of Canada’s wider efforts to promote menstrual equity and gender equality. The Menstrual Equity Fund, which is set to launch in the coming months, will provide menstrual products to Canadians in need, including those accessing women’s shelters, not-for-profits, charities, community-based organizations, and youth-led organizations.

Employers will be provided with guidance materials in consultation with them to help them implement the changes before the coming-into-force date.

However, they can also contact the Labour Program at [email protected] if they require further assistance in understanding the regulations.