The provincial Department of Education and Early Childhood Development recently announced it will give more than $115,000 to school districts to provide free menstrual hygiene products to students through the “Never be Caught Off Guard” program.
The New Brunswick Union (NBU) has been advocating for menstrual products to be made available for free in all provincial buildings after a resolution was passed by NBU membership during the 2020 Biennial Convention.
For our members, they viewed this as an equality issue. Since menstruation is part of women’s health and the cost of the products can be prohibitive for some, the NBU believes these products should be available free of charge.
This program is a great start as it will help reduce the stigma and stresses students may have. Menstrual products can be costly, so this also helps alleviate some financial pressure and will allow students to focus on learning.
According to the government of New Brunswick’s press release, “The hygiene products will be available in female and gender-neutral washrooms and locker rooms in schools with Grade 6-12 students, eliminating the need for students to request these products from school administration.”
The NBU believes the province should now explore expanding the program to other provincial buildings beginning with public libraries.
Public libraries are a great next step as it would make menstrual products available to the general public through easy to access facilities. We know people from all walks of life use libraries, so we feel this is the right move.
Susie Proulx-Daigle is the president of the New Brunswick Union, the largest union of civil service employees in the province.