April 6, 2020

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Opinion

Ottawa removes federal tax on feminine hygiene products

Tampons, pads tax-free in Manitoba starting July 1

Lele Truong (from left), Lareen Jervis and Mariana Hollmann (left to right) take part in a news conference and petition on Parliament Hill in Ottawa earlier this month calling on the federal government to remove tax on feminine hygiene products.

FRED CHARTRAND / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Lele Truong (from left), Lareen Jervis and Mariana Hollmann (left to right) take part in a news conference and petition on Parliament Hill in Ottawa earlier this month calling on the federal government to remove tax on feminine hygiene products.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/5/2015 (1774 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Great news, my fellow cotton pony riders. As of July 1, there will be no more federal tax on tampons — or any other menstrual hygiene product.

On Thursday, which just so happens to be Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Department of Finance announced that the Conservative government will remove the GST and HST from "a supply of a product that is marketed exclusively for feminine hygiene purposes and is a sanitary napkin, tampon, sanitary belt, menstrual cup or other similar product." (Let’s hope the government is just being very thorough and that vintage-loving hipsters haven’t actually brought the sanitary belt back.)

For Manitoban menstruators, this means your Shark Week supplies will be completely tax free.

This news is pleasantly unexpected. Earlier in May, the federal government supported an NDP motion to remove the tax from menstrual hygiene products, but didn’t commit to a timeframe. The NDP has been trying to get the products exempt from the federal goods and services tax since 2004.

So it’s about bloody time.

But this victory is also very much owed to all the Canadians who spoke out against a blatantly sexist cash grab that made $36 million from our uteri in 2014 alone — such as the 74,643 Canadians who signed the No Tax on Tampons petition prepared by a group of feminists in Toronto and Montreal called The Canadian Menstruators.

Thanks to them, menstrual hygiene products, which are used by half the population every month for roughly 40 years until menopause, are no longer considered "non-essential" or "luxuries" by our government.

Still, this is a good time to remind folks that for many people experiencing poverty or homelessness, menstrual hygiene products can still feel very much like luxury.

Please keep donating pads, tampons and cups to Winnipeg Harvest as well as other organizations such as the Nine Circles Community Health Centre, the North Point Douglas Women's Centre and the West Central Women's Resource Centre, to name just a few. They also accept gift cards and monetary donations.

This is what can happen when we refuse to accept the status quo. Our voices were heard.

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti
Columnist

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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History

Updated on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 5:13 PM CDT: Adds image, updates headline

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