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Port Coquitlam to offer free hygiene products at local facilities

City to find money in its budget, joining Port Moody, Coquitlam and School District 43 in the initiative
Port Coquitlam will allocate $22,000 in its budget next year
Port Coquitlam will allocate $22,000 in its budget next year to install dispensers and provide feminine hygiene products for free in civic facilities.

Port Coquitlam is getting behind a campaign to make menstrual products free and will find money in the city budget next year to pay for them.

The city is joining Port Moody, Coquitlam and School District 43, which have already provided the service in civic facilities.

Mayor Brad West said feminine hygiene products, like toilet paper and baby changing tables, should be provided in PoCo facilities.

“These aren’t nice to haves, these are basic requirements and cost the city very little but can help people, especially low income people immensely,” he told The Tri-City News.

According to a staff report, it will cost an initial $22,000 to provide access to menstrual products in 12 civic facilities, and approximately $8,800 a year in ongoing expenses depending on the volume used.

Last year, Coun. Nancy McCurrach introduced a motion to have menstrual products placed in city facilities.

“This is a step up from the schools to move into the next level for the communities, which makes sense,” said McCurrach, a mother of three daughters. 

“It will just lift people out of poverty,” she said at the time.

Other municipalities around B.C. — including Coquitlam, Port Moody and School District 43 —  now offer free hygiene products in their civic buildings.

The initiative comes as a result of the United Way’s Period Promise campaign to end “period poverty” for girls and women.

United Way president and CEO Michael McKnight said almost 25% of Canadian women claim they’ve struggled to afford feminine menstrual products for themselves or their daughters.

A trio of Dr. Charles Best students also promoted the initiative to ensure women and girls had access to menstrual products, improve equity and remove stigma surrounding female menstruation.

They encouraged the city of Coquitlam to put free menstrual products in civic facilities. That program started as a pilot program and was expanded this year.