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1-in-4 people say they experience period poverty in Canada: poll

A new study from Plan International has shed light on the widespread issue in the country

One quarter of menstruating Canadians have had to choose between purchasing menstrual products or other essentials such as food or rent in the past year, a new study has revealed.

Conducted by Plan International Canada in partnership with Leger, the study used data from an online survey conducted in April.

“The survey examined attitudes and perceptions related to menstrual product affordability, menstrual health education and stigma around menstruation,” according to the study. To participate, respondents had to be 18-years-old and above and a person who menstruates, or is now menopausal.

Fifty-three per cent of the 1,000 participants said at last purchase, they felt the products were expensive. Eighty-eight per cent of those who felt the pinch were 18 to 24 years old.

Eighty per cent felt that menstrual products are expensive overall, and only 12 per cent of respondents felt the products were affordable at their last purchase.

Inflation has had a significant impact on the cost of menstrual products. According to Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index, the cost of personal hygiene products such as menstrual supplies has increased 6.2 per cent over the last year, further increasing the strain on consumers.

B.C. has started a number of initiatives in recent years to try and offer support to people who may be experiencing impacts of period poverty and other marginalization that people who menstruate face.

In May 2022, B.C. launched a period poverty task force with United Way, a move to support the province’s goals towards reducing period poverty and menstruation stigma for its residents.

Since then, the task force has distributed more than one million period products across British Columbia. The B.C. Health Sciences Association also started the ‘Stomp Out Period Poverty campaign, a project designed to distribute free menstrual products to washrooms province-wide.

READ MORE: Province offers grants for free tampons, pads to ease ‘period poverty’ in B.C.

As part of the Period Promise campaign that runs until June 13, United Way encourages British Columbians to donate period products and to take part in initiatives against period poverty.