Evidence of meeting #74 for Status of Women in the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was education.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Lara Emond  Founder and President, Iris + Arlo
Hayley Newman-Petryshen  Co-Director, Monthly Dignity
Clara Bolster-Foucault  Co-Director, Monthly Dignity
Nicole White  Founder and Lead, Saskatchewan Chapter, Moon Time Sisters
Veronica Brown  Lead, Ontario Chapter, Moon Time Sisters
Meghan White  Co-Founder, Period Packs
Ayla Banks  Drop-In Manager, Resource Assistance for Youth Inc.

June 15th, 2023 / 4:05 p.m.


The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to meeting number 74 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Today’s meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the House order of June 23, 2022. Therefore, members are attending in person and remotely using the Zoom application.

I would like to make a few comments for the benefit of our witnesses and members.

Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. For those participating by video conference, click on the microphone icon to activate your mike, and please mute it when you are not speaking. For those in the room, your mike will be controlled as normal by the proceedings and verification officer.

You may speak in the official language of your choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of floor, English or French. For those in the room, you can use the earpiece and select the desired channel. If interpretation is lost, please inform us immediately.

Although this room is equipped with a powerful audio system, feedback events can occur. These can be extremely harmful to interpreters. They have caused injuries and continue to cause them.

The most common cause of sound feedback is an earpiece worn too close to a microphone. We therefore ask all participants to exercise a high degree of caution when handling the earpieces, especially when your microphone or your neighbour's microphone is turned on. To prevent incidents and to safeguard the hearing health of the interpreters, I invite participants to ensure that they speak into the microphone into which their headset is plugged, and to avoid manipulating the earbuds by placing them on the table and away from the microphone when they are not in use.

I would remind you that all comments should be addressed through the chair.

For members in the room, if you wish to speak, please raise your hand. For those participating by video conference, please use the “raise hand” function. The clerk and I will take notes.

In accordance with the committee's routine motion concerning connection tests, I would like to inform you that all of the connection tests have been completed.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) and the motion adopted on Thursday, April 27, 2023, the committee will resume its study of menstrual equity in Canada.

I would like to welcome our panellists. I recognize that today is a little complicated with the votes. There are supposed to be some bells. At that time, we'll have to suspend for a second to decide what we're going to do, but we'll ensure that we get as much time as possible with all of you.

All of you will have five minutes. What I'm going to do is introduce you and give you your five minutes, and then I will introduce the next panel.

We would like to hear from our first witnesses. To begin, we have Lara Emond, the founder and president of Iris + Arlo.

Lara, you have five minutes.

4:10 p.m.

Lara Emond Founder and President, Iris + Arlo

Madam Chair and members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, Iris + Arlo is a social- and environmental-impact business that supplies healthy and environmentally friendly products, including single-use menstrual products that are natural, organic and plastic-free and reusable menstrual products such as underwear.

Menstrual equity is central to our mission, which is why, for every product sold, we donate menstrual products to people living in insecure circumstances through partnerships with organizations across the country. We also facilitate access to menstrual products by making them available through various businesses, as a result of which 130 Canadian organizations have committed to making menstrual products available in their restrooms. Lastly, since we firmly believe that education is the key to equity, we offer online educational material and workshop-conferences on periods.

A few observations before we begin. In the past year and a half, my team and I have discussed menstruation with hundreds of people across the country: CEOs, school administrators, agencies, student associations, governmental institutions and many more. A number of findings have clearly emerged from all those meetings.

First, every person who has or has had periods knows what it means to have to be resourceful in situations where they don't have the menstrual products they need. It can happen in public, at school or at work. It's an uncomfortable and embarrassing situation that occurs solely because sanitary facilities have not thought to accommodate persons who are having their period.

Second, periods are an uncomfortable topic for many people. It's time to break down those taboos and normalize discussions about menstruation. It's essential that everyone should feel comfortable discussing the subject and requesting assistance when necessary.

Third, most of the people we have met clearly aspire to have menstrual products that are healthier for both their own welfare and the environment.

Fourth, it's important to acknowledge that not everyone is comfortable using reusable menstrual products. This remains a very personal preference. It should also not be forgotten that sanitary facilities are often not set up for the use of reusable products, which impedes both their use and adoption.

Fifth and lastly, menstrual insecurity is a very real problem. Organizations receive many requests for sanitary products but are not always able to provide them.

There are several potential solutions to this problem.

Menstrual equity is a matter of fundamental equity, dignity and full socioeconomic participation. To achieve menstrual equity, we must treat menstrual products as what they are: essential products. Access to these products, as is true of toilet paper and hand soap, must be guaranteed. This requires lasting changes and the cooperation of many actors.

Consequently, as we have done for other essential products, we must ensure that they are available to the most vulnerable populations in places such as food banks, shelters and penitentiaries.

It is also important to promote access to menstrual products in public restrooms and to set an example by installing them wherever that is possible. I also want to mention the amendments that have been made to the Canada Labour Code in this regard.

Incentives, such as credits for modifying sanitary facilities and installing dispensers, can also be introduced to encourage this kind of change in most public restrooms

It would be a good idea to work with the provinces to guarantee the availability of menstrual products in schools and to promote education about periods.

Lastly, from an environmental standpoint, it is possible to promote the adoption of reusable menstrual products by providing grants, as many municipalities have done, and rethinking restrooms in order to facilitate their use. However, as the vast majority of persons who have periods use single-use products, it would be helpful to make healthier and more environmentally friendly products available to them.

In conclusion, menstrual equity is a matter of fundamental equity. We must acknowledge the importance of this issue and work together to guarantee equitable access to menstrual products, while respecting individual choices and promoting better education about periods.

Thank you for conducting such a serious study on this important issue. Together we can make a real difference, create an equitable country and change periods.

Thanks as well for this opportunity to share these thoughts with you today.

4:15 p.m.


The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Thank you so much.

I'm going to move it over to Monthly Dignity. In the room we have Clara Bolster-Foucault and Hayley Newman-Petryshen.

You both have five minutes in total for your opening comments. I will turn the floor over to you.

4:15 p.m.

Hayley Newman-Petryshen Co-Director, Monthly Dignity

Good afternoon, members of the committee, and thank you very much for inviting us to contribute to your study of menstrual equity in Canada.

Our names are Clara and Hayley, and we're the co-directors of Monthly Dignity, which is a non-profit organization tackling period poverty in Montreal. Our work centres around distributing free menstrual products to community-based organizations that serve clients in precarious situations, delivering inclusive menstrual education and advocating for free access to menstrual products, which should be considered a right rather than a privilege.

Our team is composed entirely of volunteers, and we are funded through in-kind contributions from manufacturers and donations from the community. We work with more than 20 community partners, including shelters for people experiencing houselessness, women’s shelters, domestic violence shelters, centres for newcomers, asylum seekers and refugee claimants, youth outreach centres as well as publicly funded schools.

In tandem with this grassroots work, we both also conduct qualitative research on menstrual equity, during which we have interviewed people with lived experiences of period poverty as well as the community organizers, many of them here today, across the country who support them.

In the past year, Monthly Dignity has received an increasing number of requests for menstrual products from community organizations, schools, and even individuals. Unfortunately, given the small size and limited resources of our organisation, we are not able to keep up with this growing demand. However, this illustrates two critical turning points: a sharp increase in the degree of need within the community, and a growing awareness about issues surrounding period poverty and interest in implementing systemic changes to address them.

As many as 1 in 4 people who menstruate in Canada have had to choose between buying menstrual products and paying for other necessities, such as groceries, and as you can imagine, food comes first

Although this illustrates a profound problem, the reality is that we know very little about the scope and impact of period poverty in Canada. Period poverty is a doubly-hidden issue, owing to historic taboos surrounding menstruation and the broader issue of poverty. It is also highly intersectional, disproportionately affecting underserved communities.

4:15 p.m.

Clara Bolster-Foucault Co-Director, Monthly Dignity

Through our work, we've heard stories from folks on social security benefits not being able to find room in their monthly budget for period products. We've heard from shelter residents feeling too embarrassed to ask for period products from shelter staff, high school students who miss school every month, people getting infections and rashes because they kept a product on for longer than is considered safe, and folks experiencing houselessness not being able to find a private bathroom to change their pad or tampon, or making do with toilet paper or rags because they didn’t have access to the products they needed.

The profound shame and stigma that results from these experiences cannot be overstated. The root causes of period poverty are complex and intricately linked with social determinants of health. However, there are downstream barriers to menstrual equity that present opportunities for action. To effectively tackle period poverty in Canada, we need a comprehensive approach that addresses both immediate and long-term needs while recognizing and adapting to local contexts.

Programs and policies aimed at reducing period poverty must respond to the pressing need for menstrual products among underserved communities by reducing financial and structural barriers to accessing these products among those who are most at risk of period poverty. This can be addressed by increasing social assistance funding, subsidizing the cost of menstrual products, distributing free menstrual products in publicly funded institutions and allocating additional funding for community-based organizations to purchase the products that they need to distribute.

Secondly, comprehensive and inclusive menstrual education is necessary to reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation. This could be addressed by integrating menstrual health into elementary and high school curricula, engaging in public awareness campaigns, and advocating for the provision of menstrual products to be considered the norm. In every aspect of these efforts, it is critical to meet people and communities where they are, and to actively consider the needs, experiences, and preferences of diverse populations.

Menstrual equity is about more than just periods. It’s an issue that sits at the intersection of social justice, human rights, gender equality, food security, poverty reduction, education, and so much more.

We are encouraged by this committee's interest and efforts in this important issue in Canada. We hope that these discussions will Mark the start of a systemic change.

Thank you very much.

4:20 p.m.


The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Thank you so much.

Moving online, we're going to turn to Moon Time Sisters. We have Veronica Brown, who is the lead for the Ontario chapter, as well as Nicole White, founder and lead for the Saskatchewan chapter.

I will pass it to you to share your five minutes.

4:20 p.m.

Nicole White Founder and Lead, Saskatchewan Chapter, Moon Time Sisters

Tansi, and good afternoon everyone.

My name is Nicole White, and I’m honoured to be speaking to you from Treaty 6 territory. I am the founder of Moon Time Sisters, which is a flagship project of True North Aid. I’m joined today by Veronica Brown.

4:20 p.m.

Veronica Brown Lead, Ontario Chapter, Moon Time Sisters

Meegwetch, Nicole.

While usually in Treaty 13 territory, I am calling today from Portugal.

We are very grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the state of menstrual equity across Turtle Island and how this issue is disproportionately affecting indigenous nations.

4:20 p.m.

Founder and Lead, Saskatchewan Chapter, Moon Time Sisters

Nicole White

In 2017, I learned that it was common for indigenous students to miss school due to a lack of access to menstrual products. From a simple donation of pads, Moon Time Sisters, or MTS, was born. It has since evolved into an indigenous-led national organization working towards period equity in northern communities.

Barriers to access and affordability are amplified for indigenous nations. Some communities have no access to products at all and need to travel long distances to purchase these essential items—with very little variety. A mother from La Ronge, Saskatchewan, once told us that she got some product from their local shelter. She and and her girls had never actually had pads before; they just used socks.

Since its beginning in 2017, Moon Time Sisters has grown to include four chapters and has partnered with over 100 northern indigenous communities throughout the country. We have shipped over two million period products to high schools, elementary schools, midwifery organizations, health care centres, friendship centres, shelters, food banks and community programs. We are ensuring that we are supporting community as a whole, as the medicine wheel teaches us.

Most importantly, we work with community. We collaborate with each one to ensure they are being heard and their needs met. We provide them with a full spectrum of moon time products that have been specifically requested. We’re often asked why we don’t send only reusable options, like cloth pads or menstrual cups. While we recognize this question is rooted in good intentions, it’s also indicative of a colonial mindset that we know what’s best for others.

Indigenous menstruators deserve not only equal access to menstrual products, but also the dignity of choice to address their unique and individual needs.

4:20 p.m.

Lead, Ontario Chapter, Moon Time Sisters

Veronica Brown

The 2023 survey completed by Plan International Canada found that 25% of Canadian women “who menstruate have been forced to make the decision between purchasing menstrual products and purchasing other essentials such as food or rent within the last year.”

Through our work, we’ve seen first-hand the disproportionate effect of period inequity in northern communities. We know that far more than 25% of indigenous menstruators have been forced to make this difficult decision.

We recently partnered with the University of Saskatchewan and developed a crowdsourcing survey to collect information about preferences, as well as the barriers experienced by people who menstruate in remote northern communities. We’re pleased to share some of the preliminary results with you today. For your reference, we have provided a copy with some figures in appendix 2.

Our data is not a one-to-one comparison to the Plan study, but our preliminary findings are very telling.

One key takeaway is that 73% of indigenous respondents in remote communities and 55% of indigenous respondents in non-remote communities sometimes or often have issues accessing menstrual products.

Relating to the previous question, of responses from those who sometimes or often have access issues; 39% say that this is because they are unavailable at the store; 26% of responses say that they have other priority items to buy, and 26% say that they are unaffordable.

The survey also indicated that indigenous respondents in remote communities were most likely to miss work, school and exercise due to a lack of access to period products.

Our survey explored product preference, access to pain relief, recycling programs, various experiences while menstruating, and who menstruators are comfortable talking with about their moon time. Additional data will be released in a forthcoming report.

4:20 p.m.

Founder and Lead, Saskatchewan Chapter, Moon Time Sisters

Nicole White

Thousands of indigenous menstruators from coast to coast to coast are struggling.

While we’re tremendously proud of our growth and the amount of support we’ve been able to provide in our few short years as an organization, we’re also deeply concerned by what it means: that the need for our support is vital and it’s growing, not declining.

In an ideal Canada, all menstruators can bleed with dignity, no matter their gender, location or ethnicity.

We appreciate the committee’s time and the opportunity to speak about how period inequity is affecting northern regions. Thank you for hearing us today and for the government’s steps towards our collective goal of achieving period equity.

Hay hay.

4:25 p.m.


The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Thank you so much.

Staying online, we have Meghan White, co-founder of Period Packs.

Meghan, you have the floor for five minutes.

4:25 p.m.

Meghan White Co-Founder, Period Packs

Good afternoon, everybody.

Of course, I'd like to express my gratitude to the committee for welcoming me here today, and for your zeal in exploring the issue of period poverty here in Canada.

It's been a great pleasure of mine to witness the growth of the menstrual movement here, including the recent amendments to the regulations made under the Canada Labour Code requiring, of course, free pads and tampons to be made available in all federally regulated workplaces, and the foundations put into the federal menstrual equity fund pilot framework.

Over the past five and a half years, I have devoted my entire life to the cause of period poverty, collaborating with passionate advocates from diverse sectors around the world, many of whom are in this room. I have seen both the devastating impact of period poverty on women and girls, and the inspiring progress we have made. However, the reality is that period poverty continues to have devastating effects on the lives of countless individuals.

In 2018, I co-founded Period Packs, an Ottawa-based agency that addresses period poverty through a three-pronged approach of access, advocacy and education, a winning formula, that I am sure you will hear echoed by many, if not most, of the witnesses at this committee hearing today.

In 2018, Period Packs made significant strides in addressing period poverty in our community. Our grassroots programming distributed over one million menstrual products to Ottawa community members through our 36 frontline community agencies. Through advocacy and partnerships, we have implemented two major, ongoing pilot programs, and we have supported over a dozen institution-level initiatives, as well. Our peer-to-peer education approach directly engages community youth, while our 50-plus virtual workshops reach diverse organizations, including city councils, university boards, high school boards, major Canadian banking institutions and many social service agencies.

Over the years, the need for our services has grown exponentially. We provide products to a variety of frontline services—food banks, shelters, safe houses, public libraries, sexual health clinics and street outreach programs—and make a tremendous number of personal deliveries to individual community members. Perhaps for me, most striking is the work we do with high school students, where we provide pads, tampons, menstrual cups and menstrual discs.

Providing choice and quality products is foundational to our service. By offering a range of options, we ensure individuals have access to products that suit their unique bodies, preferences and comfort levels. This inclusivity empowers people to choose what works best for them, enabling them to manage their own cycle with confidence and dignity. It helps us create compassionate, ongoing programming informed by the individual.

To date, 50% of the products we have distributed have been in partnership with women-founded and -operated Canadian SMEs. These SMEs have played an integral part in addressing period poverty in Canada, not just through partnerships with community agencies like Period Packs but also by conducting their own high-quality, independent research, funding and design of educational programs. They are on the ground with grassroots organizations, working meticulously to truly understand community needs and design best practices to address them. Partnering with women-owned SMEs creates a supportive circular economy where grant money and donations benefit social enterprises dedicated to making Canada a better place for everyone. These partnerships have demonstrated an intimate understanding of the issue and the ability to efficiently deliver a variety of products at a competitive price.

A need for product variation and choice also drove these partnerships. Period Packs' extensive programming has proven that it is simply inadequate to provide only pads and tampons. Menstrual cups, menstrual discs and period underwear are highly in demand in our programming.

I take pride in doing this work alongside dedicated advocates from all sectors, including other witnesses here at the committee and everyone present today. I firmly believe that Canada will be well on its way to becoming a leader in addressing menstrual equity by establishing a commendable foundation for the advancement of gender equity.

Thank you for providing me with this opportunity and for making it easy for me to proudly share that Canada is building the foundation to be an international leader in this space.

4:30 p.m.


The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Thank you so much.

We'll now hear from the Resource Assistance for Youth and Ayla Banks, drop-in manager.

You have the floor for five minutes.

4:30 p.m.

Ayla Banks Drop-In Manager, Resource Assistance for Youth Inc.

Hello. Thank you for having me here and thank you to the committee for the work you've done for menstrual equity.

My name is Ayla Banks, and I'm joining from Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory, home and traditional land of the Anishinabe, Ojibwa and Innu Cree and Dakota peoples and the national homeland of the Red River Métis.

I'm speaking today on behalf of Resource Assistance for Youth and the folks who access our services. We also go by RaY.

RaY is a multi-dimensional, street level frontline service organization that seeks to provide services that meet the emergent and long-term needs of youth experiencing homelessness between the ages of zero and 29. RaY is a non-partisan, non-judgmental organization underpinned by the social determinants of health that utilizes evidence-based harm reduction practices to support youth in a participant-driven way.

Overall RaY's vision is to end youth homelessness through systems navigation and collaboration with the youth themselves. Specifically, we provide frontline services in conjunction with providing system-based advocacy, education, employment and training readiness.

Our service delivery model is called a hub model, which includes basic needs and a hot meal program, four distinct housing programs to meet youth where they are at, an employment and training program called Level Up! that bridges marginalized youth to the labour market, as well as access to mental health, primary health and substance use supports. These programs work together to ensure youth we work with can reach independence and stability in terms of their mental health, physical health and economic conditions.

The goal of addressing each of these elements is to set youth up for success in the long term rather than providing temporary solutions for isolated issues.

With over 25 years of experience, we now serve more than 2,700 marginalized and street-entrenched youth every year as they transition towards adulthood.

My current role here is managing our drop-in space, which sees anywhere from 50 to 100 participants a day. Our folks see more barriers than most and menstrual health education and access plays an often-overlooked but serious part in impeding an individual's ability to achieve health, growth and success.

When I first learned of this initiative, I immediately thought of my long-standing unofficial appointment with a woman I will call Mary. While she is well over our zero to 29 age mandate, she has been unhoused for a number of years and turns up consistently once a month in our opening hours before the youth arrive to request pants, underwear and period products. She will have some sort of garbage bag or old cloth wrapped around her waist in an attempt to hide her ruined pants. She changes in our bathroom. I load her up with supplies, and she quietly leaves.

While Mary and I have had this almost wordless system now for a couple of years, I see many variations of Mary throughout the month. Some folks are incredibly embarrassed. Some have been denied entrance to other facilities because of their appearance or odours. Some have been using unhygienic makeshift replacements leading to further health issues. Some have just resigned to this as one of life's normalities. This should not be a normality.

In terms of our participants who may be housed but are living on a monthly basic needs budget of around $150 to $200 a month, or those who are entering the workforce at a minimum wage that does not match the current cost of rent and living, we see the incredibly difficult decision being made regularly on whether to eat, afford the bus to work, or not ruin another pair of pants, which may be their only work pants. This should not be a decision anyone has to make.

Through our work on the front line we have come to learn that access to free menstruation supplies needs to be more widespread than the front desk of a daytime drop-in centre. Every bathroom, regardless of gender designation, should be stocked with free supplies. As we know, not all women menstruate and not all men don't. Due to stigma and taboo, requesting menstrual supplies as a woman can still be felt as shameful. For trans men and non-binary folks, it can be not only felt as undignified but a way of outing oneself and a terrifying safety risk.

Furthermore, on top of bathroom stock, supplies need to be available for outreach workers and other forms of frontline service provision due to the often inaccessible nature of bathrooms for some of our more street-entrenched and marginalized community members.

Ideally these supplies would be more than just a single option as well as preferences for menstrual products are often affected by important aspects such as one's cultural background, education and knowledge and even trauma history. Providing access and choice provides dignity and safety. Dignity and safety are crucial to our mental and physical health and overall community wellness.

Thanks again for having me.

4:35 p.m.


The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Thank you so much.

I believe there is going to be a vote at some time. There is a closure motion, so it would be 30 minutes when the bells do start, but what we're going to do now is start with our first round.

We're going to start off with six minutes, and we'll start off with Dominique Vien.

Dominique, you have six minutes.

4:35 p.m.


Dominique Vien Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

Good afternoon, ladies. Thank you for being with us this afternoon.

We knew there were problems with access to menstrual products. Some women also find it hard to pay for them. However, after every testimony that we hear here, we realize that the reality may be even more appalling than we could imagine.

Ms. Emond, I'll go to you first and ask you a brief question. Other people who design reusable menstrual products have come and met with us, and I told them we hadn't seen their advertising. I jokingly said that other members and I, who are from another generation, might be reading the wrong magazines.

How much market share have you acquired? Who buys your products? Are young people more inclined to buy them than we were when we were the same age? Can you give us a quick snapshot of the popularity of these products?

4:35 p.m.

Founder and President, Iris + Arlo

Lara Emond

Iris + Arlo offers single-use products such as tampons with and without applicators, day and night pads and 100% organic cotton panty liners made of biodegradable materials. We believe women must be able to choose. So we also offer them a line of reusable products, such as menstrual underwear. According to some studies, the market for menstrual panties has expanded 15%. It's a very fast-growing market.

Young people are more informed about health and environmental issues. People are interested in and attracted to these kinds of products. When all the options are presented to them when they have their first period, young woman realize how much more comfortable and environmentally friendly menstrual panties can be. Since eco-anxiety is really an issue for the younger generations, these products will be more readily adopted.

One of the solutions would be to discuss the subject more, but this kind of product also needs to have more visibility.

4:35 p.m.


Dominique Vien Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

School is a good place to provide that education.

4:35 p.m.

Founder and President, Iris + Arlo

Lara Emond

That's right. However, one in four Canadians doesn't know what menstruation is, and I think one in three young women don't know how to manage it. There's clearly a lack of education.

I'm going to tell you a story. In the last 18 months, we have worked with businesses, encouraging them to provide menstrual products in their workplaces. Some extremely informed CEOs who head up very high tech businesses have literally asked me how a tampon works. There has to be education at every level.

4:35 p.m.


Dominique Vien Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Oh boy!

I don't know who will answer the somewhat complicated question that I'm about to ask. Many of you could no doubt answer, but I think it was Ms. White who mentioned the Canada Labour Code and employees of federally regulated businesses.

Unless I'm mistaken, women on the government side have free access to hygienic menstrual products. I'm a former minister of labour in Quebec, and we didn't address this issue when we completely revised Quebec's Labour Code. It was a major revision. I'm saying all this to remind you that this issue falls under provincial jurisdiction. My colleague Ms. Larouche will definitely emphasize that as well.

We can talk and decide that these products will have to be in all the restrooms of all Quebec businesses, but who will assume leadership? How will we go about convincing those businesses?

Ms. Bolster-Foucault, you look as though you have an answer.

4:35 p.m.

Co-Director, Monthly Dignity

Clara Bolster-Foucault

That's definitely the question. For starters, I'd say this doesn't have to be the responsibility of a single person. Leadership should be exercised at all levels. There's room in every government for female politicians like you who, in performing their duties, can ensure that this becomes the norm.

We need to pass an act that applies everywhere, but there also has to be a change of perception among the general public. We have to conduct awareness campaigns and introduce measures so these products are available in workplaces, but we have to do much more. Businesses will eventually take the initiative of providing those products. I hope that has a snowball effect.

4:40 p.m.


Dominique Vien Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

The business world has no choice but to be attractive these days. There's a labour shortage after all. Women are very much a presence in the labour market.

Is the business world prepared for this? Is it sensitive enough to this issue? Someone will have to pay for it, and we'll have to look into that aspect.

4:40 p.m.

Co-Director, Monthly Dignity

Clara Bolster-Foucault

I think so. If that becomes the norm, businesses, schools, municipal agencies and every other entity will have to follow suit. People will have to be ready.

4:40 p.m.


The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

That's awesome, thank you.

I'm going to pass it over to Anita Vandenbeld.

You have six minutes.