Federally regulated employers will soon be required to provide menstrual products for employees

Effective December 15, 2023 federally regulated employers will be required to provide menstrual products at no cost to their employees who need them while at work. This requirement is being introduced by the Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code (Menstrual Products) (the “Regulations”).

The Regulations will amend the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, the On Board Trains Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, the Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations, the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, and the Aviation Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. The amendments will impose a requirement on federally regulated employers to have menstrual products in each toilet room (regardless of their marked gender) or another feasible and private location in all workplaces. The Regulations outline menstrual products to include clean and hygienic tampons and menstrual pads. Federally regulated employers will also need to have disposal containers in each toilet room or toilet compartment.

A Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement was provided regarding the Regulations. It noted:

  • an estimated 35% of employees in federally regulated workplaces require menstrual products on a regular basis;
  • there are potential psychological health and safety risks that can result from the absence of menstrual products in the workplace; and
  • the cost of menstrual products varies across Canada and the financial burden falls on employees.

The Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations which outline the penalties for violating the Regulations will also be modified. Depending on the size of the employer, a violation of the Regulations can result in a fine ranging from $750 to $12,000.

If you have questions about how the legislative change affects your organization, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Labour & Employment team.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.