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New task force aims to help end period poverty

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:53 PDT, Fri May 27, 2022

A new task force backed by $750,000 in provincial funding will support the province's goal to end period poverty and remove the stigma associated with menstruation.

"Not being able to access period supplies can negatively affect people's ability to go about their day-to-day activities," said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. "The new task force will explore the various factors that contribute to period poverty and find solutions that can benefit British Columbians."

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing United Way British Columbia with a grant to support the establishment of a multi-sector task force to define long-term goals for ending period poverty in B.C. Period poverty is the lack of access to menstrual products, a basic need for many British Columbians, due to financial barriers.

The new Period Poverty Task Force will be chaired by Nikki Hill, a respected community leader with experience working with diverse partners to raise awareness and tackle period poverty in B.C.

"Volunteering as co-chair of United Way's Period Promise campaign since 2018 has taught me how common period poverty is in our communities and how much of an impact a lack of menstrual products has on people's lives," said Hill. "I'm looking forward to taking on this new role with the task force while we build on our work and partnerships to eliminate period poverty and level the playing field for all."

Remaining task force members will be announced soon. Members will include representatives from business, non-profit organizations, or people representing individuals with lived experience of period poverty, Indigenous peoples, and student and youth organizations.

One of the task force's key goals will be to develop partnerships with governments, Indigenous partners, businesses, communities, and non-profit organizations to look at ways to understand and find solutions to period poverty.

This new funding will also support continued delivery of free period products to people who need them, including through United Way British Columbia's annual Period Promise campaign. The aim of the Period Promise campaign is to make it easier for those who menstruate to access the products they need, when they need them. 

This year's campaign runs until June 7 and aims to distribute 700,000 menstrual products.

This new funding will also support continued delivery of free period products and directly supports the ministry's mandate to make the province a global leader in the fight to end period poverty by developing a long-term, comprehensive strategy.

In 2020, the province provided $107,000 to the United Way British Columbia to conduct the Period Promise Research Project. Students in B.C. have had access to free menstrual products in the washrooms of all public schools since 2019.

To learn more about the United Way Period Promise Research Project, visit: www.periodpromise.ca/pages/research

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