On December 15th, 2023, Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code (Menstrual Products) (the “Regulations”) will come into force, requiring federally-regulated employers in Canada to provide menstrual products to their employees at no cost.
What exactly is required?
Federally-regulated employers must provide menstrual products, including clean and hygienic menstrual pads and tampons, in every toilet room (i.e. any room containing a toilet or urinal, other than an outdoor privy). These products must be provided at no charge to the employees. There must also be a covered disposal container in each single-toilet washroom, and in every stall of all multi-toilet washrooms.
Importantly, this does not apply only to women’s washrooms. Any washroom provided by the employer must have menstrual products available and a covered disposal container.
Are there any alternatives?
If the employer cannot feasibly provide menstrual products in every toilet room, they must provide them in another part of the workplace that is controlled by the employer, accessible by employees at all times, and offer a reasonable amount of privacy.
The Regulations do not define what constitutes a “reasonable amount of privacy”; however, given that one of the underlying purposes of this new requirement is to reduce the physical and psychological health and safety risks for those employees who menstruate, a “reasonable amount of privacy” likely means a location where the employee can take a menstrual product without their co-workers, or their employer, knowing they are doing so.
Accordingly, a location with a “reasonable amount of privacy” may include an office supply cabinet, so long as it allows employees to discreetly access the products at any time without drawing undue attention to themselves.
If you have questions about this new requirement or any other employment-related issues in your workplace, please contact any member of Siskinds’ Labour & Employment Group.
Special thank you to Orion Boverhof, Articling Student, for his assistance in researching and drafting this blog post.