Changes to the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations under the Canada Labour Code will require federally-regulated employers to make menstrual products available to their employees for free and provide disposal containers at every workplace toilet starting December 15, 2023.
Public and private federally-regulated employers in Canada – which include banks, railways, airlines, telecommunications companies, and others – will be obligated to provide both tampons and pads to employees free of charge. These products must be made available in all toilet rooms regardless of assigned gender. If it is not feasible to provide products in a toilet room, employers must provide them in another location in the same workplace that is controlled by the employer, accessible to all employees at all times, and reasonably private. Employers are not required to use any specific brand of menstrual product nor are they obligated to consult their employees as to which brands are preferable.
Federally-regulated employers will also need to provide a covered container for the disposal of menstrual products in any toilet room that has only one toilet and in each toilet stall in rooms with multiple toilets regardless of the assigned gender of the toilet room. Currently, containers are only required in toilet rooms “provided for the use of female employees.”
Both the free menstrual product obligation and expanded disposal container requirement come into effect on December 15, 2023.
Changes implementing analogue requirements will also be made to the Canada Labour Code’s On Board Trains Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations, Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, and Aviation Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. These requirements will also be effective December 15, 2023.
These changes are part of a growing national effort to address financial barriers to accessing menstrual products. The Canadian federal government estimates one in three Canadians who need pads, tampons, or other menstrual products struggle to afford them, and that about 35% of those working in the federal sector require menstrual products.
Mintz can assist organizations in complying with the Canada Labour Code and its regulations. Please contact Mintz’s Canadian Employment Practice if you require any guidance or assistance in complying with the Canada Labour Code or any other federal or provincial employment laws in Canada.