In a move to align with the Liberal government’s commitment to “inclusivity,” Canadian military bases are required to provide menstrual products, including tampons and pads, in men’s washrooms by December 15.
This directive, issued by Employment and Social Development Canada, extends to all federally regulated workplaces and military installations.
True North has independently verified the implementation of this policy in at least one Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) military base, where menstruation kits are now available in men’s washrooms.
Major Soomin Kim of the Department of National Defence confirmed that this decision aligns with federal government directives, emphasizing compliance with the Canada Labour Code.
“Starting December 15, 2023, as per the Canada Labour Code, all federally managed washrooms will be required to provide menstrual products to all employees,” Major Kim told True North.
The federal directive underscores its commitment to “better protect menstruating employees” by mandating the presence of menstrual products in all toilet rooms, irrespective of their designated genders.
According to a recent federal briefing note, the CAF is facing a recruitment crisis as it struggles to find willing Canadians to fill the military’s thinning ranks.
The directive also outlines specific requirements for employers, including the provision of covered containers for the disposal of menstrual products.
“The regulations specify that menstrual products must be in all toilet rooms, regardless of their marked genders. This means that every female-identified, male-identified and all-gender toilet rooms will need to have menstrual products. Unrestricted access to menstrual products better protects menstruating employees and makes sure that they feel safe to use the toilet room that best reflects their gender,” writes the directive.
“Employers must also make sure a covered container for disposal of menstrual products is provided. A disposal container must be placed in each toilet room that has one toilet. In rooms with multiple toilets, a disposal container must be in each toilet stall.”
The directive defines menstrual products as tampons “inserted into the vagina when menstruating, with or without an applicator” and pads which “absorb menstrual fluids by affixing to underwear during menstruation.”
Across Canada, other government entities are making strides to expand access to taxpayer-funded menstrual products in all washrooms.
The District of Saanich, for example, has announced plans to provide free menstrual products in all public washrooms, including men’s rooms.
Councillors supporting this initiative argue that it will benefit “people who menstruate” and those facing financial constraints.