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Councillors support extending menstrual equity program

By Hannah Scott

Published 11:51 PDT, Tue July 5, 2022

City councillors supported the extension of the city’s menstrual equity initiative at last week’s parks, recreation, and cultural services committee meeting.

Staff also recommended that the city join the United Way’s Period Promise Campaign and sign on to the Period Promise Policy Agreement. The United Way of the Lower Mainland requested Richmond consider contributing to this campaign, which aims to eradicate period poverty, in July 2019.

“Period poverty is defined as the lack of access to menstrual products due to financial  limitations,” according to a city staff report submitted in advance of the meeting.

The city launched its initiative in the fall of 2021, in support of the Period Promise Campaign. The program provides free menstrual products in most Richmond civic facilities. Staff members were directed to report back with a review and budget after a year of operation.

By signing on to the Period Promise Policy Agreement, the city commits to provide free, diverse, and accessible menstrual products to staff, clients, and community members. Staff are recommending dispensers be installed at city hall, city hall annex, and the public works building. Feedback on the program in Richmond has been positive to date, according to staff. 

The cost to install the dispensers was around $30,000. This year, funding of $40,000 was approved to support the purchase of products for the next six to 12 months. Staff are anticipating an additional cost of $20,000 to install more dispensers and an additional $65,000 per year to run the program.

At the committee meeting, the city’s coordinator of aquatic services Renata Turick said the Richmond School District has been informed of the program, and has also placed dispensers in all elementary and high schools. Coun. Michael Wolfe requested that the item be added to the agenda for an upcoming council/school board liaison committee meeting.

“It is not something that has come up at our joint program committee meeting, but I could certainly put it on our first agenda for the fall and talk about opportunities to gain synergies or cross-promote,” said the city’s director of recreation services Elizabeth Ayers.

The motion was carried at the committee meeting with all members in favour.

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