Period poverty is an ongoing issue for women who can’t make ends meet.

It’s the crux of a United Way Period Promise Research Project Final Report released today.

Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Nicholas Simons, says people shouldn’t have to face making the choice between buying menstrual products or food.

“I thank the United Way of the Lower Mainland for its valuable work on this report, which will help us shape our approach to ending period poverty,” Simons said.

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction provided $107,000 to the United Way of the Lower Mainland to do the project. 

Free menstrual products were distributed to 12 non-profit agencies throughout the province to provide to clients. 

The agencies reported back on the results of the project and, where possible, clients were asked for feedback on their experience with period poverty. 

Research was also conducted through a public online survey.

The province says the final report highlights how the lack of access to menstrual products has a negative effect on people’s daily activities and participation in their community. 

It also focuses on the stigma around periods and menstrual products, and how that stigma is an added barrier to access. 

They point out that those impacts are magnified for Indigenous women and those living with disabilities.

The United Way’s report provides four recommendations and suggests avenues of further research on how to better address period poverty.

The province says the findings and recommendations in the report will assist the province, as work on TogetherBC, the province’s first poverty reduction strategy, continues to find ways to make life more affordable for all British Columbians.

Quick facts:

  • Students in B.C. have had access to free menstrual products in the washrooms of all public schools since 2019.
  • The United Way estimates the annual cost to purchase menstrual products is $70.
  • A study released by Plan Canada in 2018 indicated 23 percent of Canadian respondents had struggled to afford menstrual products for themselves or their dependants.
  • TogetherBC aims to reduce overall poverty in the province by 25 percent and cut child poverty in half by 2024.

The final report is here.