Free menstrual products expected at HRM rec centres this spring

The program is now a go after a revised budget proposal from staff

There should be free menstrual products in municipal facilities starting in April, at a much lower price tag for the city than originally expected.

Regional council was told Wednesday that it would cost $20,000 to $30,000 for the initiative for 2020-21, down significantly from the previous estimate of $369,000.

Coun. Lorelei Nicoll was happy staff were able to work it out.

“I want to thank Corporate and Customer Services for actually looking and doing a deeper dive into that and listening to my concerns,” she said during a budget meeting.

“I always knew there was a more economical solution, and I’m glad staff listened to that.”

At a budget meeting last month, council was disappointed to see free menstrual products presented as an ‘over item’ and not included in the main Corporate and Customer Services budget.

Jerry Blackwood, HRM’s director of corporate and customer services, explained the difference in the estimates came after staff consulted with Halifax Public Libraries and the Halifax Regional Centre for Education on how much their programs cost. The original estimates were based on annual costs for the British Columbia School Board and the City of Toronto.

The $20,000 to $30,000 in funding will be absorbed into the Corporate and Customer Services janitorial supplies budget.

Blackwood hopes to see the initiative implemented by April 1.

The menstrual products will be placed in municipally owned recreation centres, arenas, pools and community centres.

Alexandra Skultety

Alexandra Skultety

Alex has worked in the radio industry for over 10 years at stations throughout BC and central Alberta. She has a Bachelor's Degree in political science and recently moved to Halifax to take the one-year journalism program at the University of King's College.

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