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New Westminster school board votes to provide free pads and tampons in schools

Could all B.C. schools be next?

New Westminster, B.C., Feb. 27, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In an historic decision, the Board of Education for New Westminster Schools has voted to supply free pads and tampons in school bathrooms.

Trustees also voted to endorse the Period Promise campaign by United Way of the Lower Mainland. The campaign, which runs March 7 to April 4, invites people to donate menstrual products, to organize their own collection drive, or to commit to providing menstrual products free of charge in facilities.

A delegation of United Way representatives presented at the February 26 meeting, alongside Vancouver resident and activist Selina Tribe. Tribe began advocating for free sanitary products in schools earlier this year and has presented before several school districts. She has since joined forces with United Way of the Lower Mainland as they both advocate for increased access to menstrual products in the community.

New Westminster is now the first and only school district in the province to fund free pad and tampon dispensers at all its schools – but possibly not for long.

Trustees will take the matter province-wide. The school board will engage the British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) to request that the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance fund all B.C. school districts, to purchase, install and supply free tampon and pad dispensers bathrooms in every school in the Province.

The move comes just ahead of International Women’s Day, March 8. 

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QUOTES“We applaud the New Westminster school district, and Selina Tribe, for their incredible leadership to help tackle period poverty on a local level,” said Neal Adolph, Director of the Canadian Labour Congress Participation department at United Way of the Lower Mainland. “I hope other individuals and organizations will follow suit as part of the Period Promise campaign, and help people live with the dignity we all deserve."“Period products are no different than toilet paper, and just as essential,” said Selina Tribe, Vancouver resident and advocate. “This decision acknowledges the reality of menstruation, and reduces the stigma.”

Left to right: Local advocate Selina Tribe; Janet Andrews of the New Westminster District Labour Council; Neal Adolph, Director of the Labour Participation department at United Way of the Lower Mainland

Trustees and staff of the New Westminster school district; Selina Tribe, local advocate; Janet Andrews, New Westminster District Labour Council; and Neal Adolph, United Way of the Lower Mainland.


  • Nearly 1 in 7 Canadian girls have missed school due to a lack of period protection (Confidence and Puberty Study by Always, Proctor & Gamble, 2018). This figure could be much higher for young trans people who may face additional challenges accessing appropriate menstrual products. 
  • Almost 1/4 of Canadian women say they have struggled to afford menstrual products for themselves or their children (Plan International, Period Stigma Report, 2018).
  • Almost 60% of local community organizations say they are asked for free menstrual products, but most cannot provide them (United Way of the Lower Mainland survey).
  • On average it costs $68 a year to have a period, though the figure could be much higher for some people.



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ABOUT UNITED WAY: United Way of the Lower Mainland serves the needs of our local community and ignites the desire in everyone to improve this place we call home. Through United Way you can mobilize people to address a local issue, collaborate with a network of partners to solve a problem, or donate to support programs that create life-saving connections for local kids and seniors. Learn more at


Natalie Hill
United Way of the Lower Mainland