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Periods matter

Help all youth in Canada access free menstrual products in schools like in British Columbia.

Access to menstrual hygiene products and information about periods is a basic human right – not a luxury.

This Menstrual Hygiene Day, Plan International Canada is calling on Canadians to Defy Normal and bring periods to the start of conversation.

Female and male views on menstruation in Canada

Limited access to menstrual hygiene products and education is experienced by girls, women and other menstruators around the world, including in Canada. A 2019 national survey of 2,000 women and girls (ages 14-55) and 1,000 men and boys (ages 14-55) conducted by Plan International Canada has shed light on the social, emotional and financial impacts of menstruation.

Research citation: Plan International Canada. Female and Male Views on Menstruation in Canada. May 2019. < plancanada.ca/periods-matter >

» Download Female and Male Views on Menstruation in Canada (PDF)

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A Canadian Gender Study – Period Stigma Report

Plan International Canada conducted a survey of 2,000 Canadian women in 2018, which examined the attitudes and behaviours of women towards menstruation, within a range of settings, such as the workplace, public places, and in the home.

This research found that period poverty is a serious issue affecting Canadian girls and women.

» Download A Canadian Gender Study – Period Stigma Report, 2018 (PDF)

Take action now for menstrual equity

‘Normal’ for too many girls and other menstruators is not having access to menstrual hygiene products or information. Use this letter template to write to your Minister of Education to advocate for free menstrual hygiene supplies for young people in public schools around Canada.

Please select your province to get the correct letter template

Use the form on the Alberta website to contact your local government here.

Good news! On April 5, 2019, British Columbia became the first province to mandate that all public schools must provide free menstrual products for students.

Dear Minister Lisa M. Thompson,

I am a resident of Ontario and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Ontario. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Ontario.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Ontario.

Sincerely,

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Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

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Dear Minister Kelvin Goertzen,

I am a resident of Manitoba and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Manitoba. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Manitoba.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Manitoba.

Sincerely,

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Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Dear Minister Dominic Cardy,

I am a resident of New Brunswick and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in New Brunswick. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in New Brunswick.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in New Brunswick.

Sincerely,

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Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

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Dear Minister Zach Churchill,

I am a resident of Nova Scotia and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Nova Scotia. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Nova Scotia.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Nova Scotia.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

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Dear Minister David Joanasie,

I am a resident of Nunavet and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Nunavet. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Nunavet.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Nunavet.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Dear Minister Caroline Cochrane,

I am a resident of Northwest Territories and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Northwest Territories. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Northwest Territories.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Northwest Territories.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Dear Minister Brad Trivers,

I am a resident of PEI and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in PEI. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in PEI.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in PEI.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Dear Minister Isabelle Charest,

I am a resident of Quebec and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Quebec. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Quebec.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Quebec.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Dear Minister Gordon Wyant Q.C.,

I am a resident of Saskatchewan and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Saskatchewan. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Saskatchewan.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Saskatchewan.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Dear Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee,

I am a resident of Yukon and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Yukon. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by Plan International Canada revealed that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Yukon.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Yukon.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Dear Minister Dwight Ball,

I am a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador and I am writing you today to request that you, as Minister of Education, mandate free menstrual products in public schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is not only the right thing to do to support young people who menstruate, it is also a long overdue step toward gender equality.

It is common for those who menstruate to be unprepared when their period starts – leading to shame, embarrassment and even missed days at school. Research from a national 2019 survey of 2,000 women and girls by c that 63% of female respondents have occasionally or regularly missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products. This also impacts young people attending public schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Other significant findings in this research include:

  • 34% of women and girls in Canada have had to occasionally or regularly sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
  • 8% of women and girls responded they have occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.
  • 41% of females have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.
  • 93% of female survey respondents and 88% of male survey respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products available for free in schools.

It’s time to end the stigma related to menstruation, a biological function experienced by over half the population, and to eliminate the unfair financial burden for those who menstruate. Much like providing toilet paper and hand soap is commonplace in a washroom, so too should providing pads and tampons. Menstruation is not a choice and the products needed during menstruation are not a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day occurs annually on May 28th. This year, residents of British Columbia can celebrate the fact that free menstrual products in all public schools have been mandated by their government. I hope that before the next school year begins we can celebrate the same here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sincerely,

Copy letter

Please copy the above letter, click the send letter button and then paste the letter into the email body.

Send letter

Share on social

A conversation about menstruation is a conversation about gender equality. Share your support for menstrual equity online

Other ways to advance menstrual equity

Girls in room laughing

Become an advocate for menstrual equity in your school, community and workplace with this toolkit written by youth.

Download the guide

Girls carrying a hygiene kit

Support girls around the world with the basic supplies they need to manage their health in a dignified way, including their periods.

Buy a hygiene kit for girls

Breaking silence and taboos around menstruation

Plan International Canada works to ensure girls, women and other menstruators around the world have access to safe menstrual hygiene products, while sharing information to support an inclusive conversation around menstrual health.

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