Confusion over which budget will cover free menstrual products in N.S. schools
Teachers in Nova Scotia are worried that the introduction of free menstrual products in schools will affect what they do in the classrooms.
They fear the cost will come out of their operating budgets, but Premier Stephen McNeil insists that's not the case.
A box of tampons costs between $5 and $10, while a pack of pads will run you around $5. On average, Canadian women spend between $30 to $50 a year on menstrual products.
"It's 2019," said Nova Scotia Teachers Union President Paul Wozney. "Half of humanity has always menstruated. It's not reasonable to force the cost of products that are needed … onto kids that can't afford them."
The NSTU commends government for supplying menstrual products in school, but is worried about where the money will come from.
"Within the existing operational budgets in the region, they are able to handle any additional costs," said Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill. "We've consulted with our regional centers of education and the cost associated with this can be handled at the regional level, so there is no additional investment needed to do this."
Supplying these products for female students will leave the province with a hefty bill and the NSTU says school budgets are already stretched thin.
"There's a reason this issue has come to be known as the issue of period poverty," said Wozney. "There is a cost attached to them. For many students they're not affordable, and so the idea that this simply will come out of school budgets, raises questions for teachers. It's very common in Nova Scotia for schools not to provide Kleenex because Kleenex is costly."
McNeil said it won't affect the classroom.
"This has to do with a separate budget that deals with the toiletries associated with our actual physical schools," he said.
So while both sides say the program is necessary, not everyone agrees with how it is funded.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Amy Stoodley.