More than six months after the Liberals pledged to create a monthly equity fund, the federal government has proposed a pilot project in its 2022 budget.
Beginning in 2022, the government will provide $ 25 million over two years to build a national pilot that helps provide monthly products to Canadians.
Women and Gender Equality Canada will be responsible for creating the project.
Kevin Hiebert, director of business development at Changing the Flow, said the lack of access should lead to a discussion on how groups directly affected by the lack of access can get their monthly balance properly.
Hibbert said that this means reaching out to people who have experienced racial, gender, disability and other forms of polarization.
“Go where they are and say, ‘What do you think is the solution to period poverty?'” He said.
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Vanvi Sachdeva, a young lawyer at Plan International Canada, said the work must be done to meet the needs of those groups, as well as the climate.
This means moving from single-use products to reusable products, Sachdeva said.
Palwashah Ali, advocacy co-chair of Bleed the North, said he noticed that similar government programs often hit gender-based and minimum standards for equity.
“There are different types of people with different gender identities, with different experiences, who go through menstruation,” Ali said.
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Women and Gender Equality Minister Mercy Yen’s mandate gave her the task of creating a fund so that nonprofits and shelters could make products freely available to “vulnerable women.”
The budget removes gender references and instead says the fund will help “unnecessary Canadians.”
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NDP MP Leh Ghazan, a critic of women and gender equality, said on Monday that these products should be considered as an essential hygiene product like toilet paper.
“It’s about dignity, and ensuring that people have what it takes to live with dignity, and that includes monthly hygiene products, especially for those who can’t afford it,” Ghazan said.
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Conservative critic for women and gender equality MP Karen Vechio said on Tuesday that she does not support subsidies for monthly products and wants to look at the issue differently.
“Is it a subsidy that we’re still paying $ 10 for a box of tampons, or are we going to try to do something different?” Vechio says.
Vechio said he would like to focus on the main reasons that explain why the prices of monthly products are so high, be it due to tariffs or markups in the supply chain.
“People are making money from people who need these products. I don’t think it’s an official fix, “he said.
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Yen told the House of Commons on March 22 that he was consulting with agencies on monthly equality to inform them of their work.
Riyadh Nazareli, a spokesman for Yen’s office, said in a statement on Wednesday that the minister and his team had begun consultations with educational institutions, business, nonprofits and other government departments.
When asked if the yen would create a formal advisory process, Nazarelli did not respond directly, but said they would continue to advise on “making monthly equity a reality.”
“Menstruation is part of our government’s plan to help people with long-term delays and to build a more just Canada,” she said.
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The Liberal government has created a public consultation mechanism to provide monthly products to the federally regulated workplace, which closed in September 2021.
Hibbert of Changing the Flow said it would be valuable to use the results to find out what people need to use the funds and to use those results to better meet those needs.
“Unless it’s happening – it’s not necessary. In general, we know what needs to be done,” he said.
Gabriel Trepanier, another advocacy co-chair at Bleed the North, said he thinks full consultation is needed to make sure the program is a success for anyone trying to reach it.
The information spread about menstruation does not always highlight all the people who experience it, says Trepanier.
“Often we have people with abnormalities or menstrual disabilities who miss out on these programs because there is not that much counseling,” he said.
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