Is your organization ready for the Canada Labour Code's amendment on menstrual products?
Imagine yourself at work. You suddenly realize you're menstruating but cannot support this essential need. Panic sets in, as this situation is considered taboo in your professional environment. It's hard to imagine that in a world where access to essential menstrual products is a given, you still have to bring your own menstrual pads and tampons to work. After all, nobody would ask you to bring your own toilet paper or hand soap to the office, would they?
Unfortunately, this precarious reality affects many menstruating people in Canada. In fact, period poverty affects more people than one might think. Anyone menstruating is likely to have difficulty accessing menstrual products due to the unpredictability of menstruation and the unavailability of these products in public toilets. The unavailability of menstrual pads or tampons could have harmful consequences on health, well-being, and anxiety, affecting social participation and people's dignity. According to statistics, 100% of menstruating people are likely to experience difficulties accessing menstrual products due to these factors. According to the data, a high percentage - 86% - have already experienced unexpected menstruation in public without having access to the necessary products . This situation is neither fair nor equitable!
Fortunately, a glimmer of hope is on the horizon, thanks to a legislative amendment to the Canada Labour Code that will come into effect on December 15, 2023. This significant step forward intends to help stop stigmatizing people concerned by menstruation and to put in place the means to eliminate obstacles to gender equality in the workplace.
Let's explore in detail the implications of this new change for employers and employees. If you're not on the list of companies affected, it's never too early to join the movement. Iris + Arlo offers a turnkey solution to contribute to this positive impact. Daily support of your team shows your commitment and fosters a more inclusive and respectful working environment.
Need assistance? Book a call with an expert
Period poverty in the workplace: Canada takes action. A change that affects nearly 500,000 employees across the country.
The change to the Canada Labour Code is a significant step forward in gender equality and will improve the well-being of nearly half a million people. The change will make it mandatory for federally regulated employers to provide free menstrual products to their employees in the workplace - almost half a million people - by making pads and tampons available in washrooms or any other space controlled by employers.
We should not underestimate the impact of this initiative as it aims to solve a problem many people face. By providing these products free of charge in the workplace, we are helping to break down financial barriers and ensure that everyone, whatever their socio-economic status, can access the menstrual products they need. According to a Canada-wide study, 26.7% of those surveyed said they had occasionally had to sacrifice something else in their budget to afford menstrual products . 34% of Quebecers  and 25.3% of people living in Ontario  say they have had to sacrifice something else (expenses for rent, food, leisure, or new clothes) to have enough money to buy menstrual products, and 51% of people surveyed in British Columbia find it hard to buy menstrual products .
Let's take a look at the federally regulated organizations in Canada that must comply with the new directives. The new legislation applies to the following sectors:
- Air, sea, and rail transportation
- Federal Crown corporations
- Postal services
- Radio broadcasters
- Television broadcasters
- Grain farmers
- First Nations
In other words, all companies and institutions operating in these sectors must comply with the new amendments to the Canadian Labour Code. You can find a list of all the companies affected by this legislation here. Employers must henceforth ensure they suitably equip their facilities to meet the menstrual needs of their staff.
New guidelines on menstrual products in the workplace: Canadian companies at the front line in adopting new standards
Here is an overview of the basic principles to follow to meet compliance requirements:
Provision of menstrual products: It is required for employers to make clean, hygienic tampons and menstrual pads available in every room with a restroom. They can offer any brand, although healthy, organic, and eco-friendly options like Iris + Arlo are preferred. Indeed, the environmental impact is striking: by replacing menstrual products with microplastics with a biodegradable alternative, the 800 years needed for their degradation could be reduced to 5 weeks . As for the health aspect, the use of products containing plastic risks exposure to certain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can cause :
- Breathing difficulties
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Products with perfume can irritate the skin and affect the natural pH balance.
Alternative locations: Where menstrual products cannot be provided in washrooms, employers must make them available in an alternative, accessible workplace that offers reasonable privacy.
Disposal containers: Covered containers for the disposal of menstrual products are required in rooms with individual toilets and in each toilet cubicle.
A more inclusive company: the benefits of accessing menstrual products at work in Canada
This change also has many benefits for your company:
Employee health and well-being: According to data, 79% have improvised a tampon or pad with toilet paper or something else. Others who had products might end up using them for longer than recommended . By providing free menstrual products, you help ensure that your employees have access to quality products, reducing the risk of health problems associated with prolonged use of menstrual products, such as toxic shock syndrome.
Work atmosphere: It can also help to create a more welcoming and caring work atmosphere. The fact that 63% of those surveyed feel the need to hide their tampon or menstrual pads when going to the toilet, particularly at work, indicates that period poverty can cause embarrassment . By providing menstrual products free of charge, you show that you value your team's dignity and comfort, thus fostering a working environment where everyone feels listened to and respected. It can also be part of your offer when recruiting.
Reduced absenteeism: 46.9% of those surveyed said they had occasionally given up activities due to a fear of not being able to access menstrual products or adequate facilities . By ensuring access to these products, you can help your team to be more effective at work, which translates into better results and reduced absenteeism.
Commitment to equity and inclusion: It shows you care about the needs of all your employees, regardless of their gender or sex at birth. It fosters an inclusive corporate culture where every individual is valued and respected.
Iris + Arlo: A turnkey solution that goes beyond products. Turning everything into an employer experience
Iris + Arlo is not just a menstrual products brand. We are a catalyst for social and environmental change and firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to realize their full potential, regardless of gender or one's menstrual cycle.
We embody a movement towards equity and inclusion, and our vision is to become the global reference in menstrual and uterine health. Our commitment to health, education, and the well-being of menstruating people at all stages is unwavering.
In light of this change to the Canada Labour Code, Iris + Arlo is the ideal partner to meet these requirements.
A turnkey solution: Iris + Arlo goes beyond offering products
We offer comprehensive support to help you make a significant impact on society.
We offer a set of essential tools and invaluable support for your business.
We take care of the installation of menstrual pads and tampon dispensers in washrooms, whether on counters or walls, creating an inclusive working environment.
Iris + Arlo also offers workshop conferences and online resources for more in-depth education.
We develop wellness products to create a healthy environment around your menstruation with kits, therapeutic masks, compresses, and matcha.
A solution that makes your daily life easier and gives you the chance to take care of your menstruation.
Healthy, eco-friendly products: an ethical and transparent approach at the heart of our customer commitment. We believe it's essential that users are fully informed about the products they use, which is why we transparently disclose our product composition and operational practices.
If you have difficulty pronouncing the name of an ingredient, it's because it shouldn't be in menstrual products and therefore shouldn't come into contact with one's private parts.
At Iris + Arlo, our products are :
- Elemental chlorine-free
- Made from 100% organic cotton
- No genetically modified materials
- Convenient, eco-friendly packaging
- Hypoallergenic (helps prevent the risk of irritation and allergies)
An impactful brand: 1 Iris + Arlo product purchased = 1 donation to reduce period poverty!
Thanks to strategic partnerships, we plan to donate products to organizations in Quebec directly affected by this issue.
An educational platform: One of Iris + Arlo's goals is to help all menstruators, from menarche to menopause, to learn more about menstruation. Thus, we give individuals the tools to break taboos through workshops and educational resources. That's why we've created themed courses and guides to help them understand their bodies, their menstrual cycle, and the changes that occur at every stage of life.
Design to destigmatize menstruation: Product design is far from superficial. At Iris + Arlo, we put design back at the heart of our movement to improve your menstrual experience. We create products that combine aesthetics and function, so that everyone feels good at every moment of their cycle, and everyone contributes to destigmatizing this period.
We are an ally for companies seeking to comply with this new change while promoting equity, inclusion, environmental cause, and social impact. We provide a solution to meet your team's needs while contributing to a better world for all.
Join us in this movement, and together we can make a difference.
+150 companies have chosen Iris + Arlo
Testimony in Ottawa
On June 15, 2023, the Iris + Arlo team was invited by the federal government to testify before the Standing Committee on the Status of Women on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It demonstrates the expertise developed by our company. You can read our statement here.
For more information on how to successfully implement the new Labour Code guidelines, please visit the official government website.
If you need assistance and advice in navigating this transition, don't hesitate to make an appointment with our team, who will be happy to guide you and provide you with all the resources you need to succeed in this evolution. We're here to support you through this important process.
 Étude - Faciliter l’accès aux produits menstruels, conseil du statut de la femme (2021) produits-menstruels.pdf
 Nanos. (2019). Female and male views on menstruation in Canada. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HbTYphVof1jGO5-1fxay3vhVBACuACtN/view?usp=sharing
 United Way British Columbia. (2021). United Way Period Promise Research Project Final Report.
 Hand, J., Hwang, C., Vogel, W., Lopez, C., & Hwang, S. (2023). An exploration of market organic sanitary products for improving menstrual health and environmental impact. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 13(2), 63–77.
 Gouvernement du Canada. (2022). Composés organiques volatils (COV). Canada.ca. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QouZ2y6qIQN-is2n8_3IQMhs_sMuZbMK/view?usp=sharing
 Harris Interactive on behalf of Free The Tampon Foundation (2013) - THE MURPHY’S LAW OF MENSTRUATION murphy.pdf
 Nanos - Female and male views on menstruation in Canada (2019), https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HbTYphVof1jGO5-1fxay3vhVBACuACtN/view?usp=sharing