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Officials, educators and local students gathered at Reynolds Secondary school Thursday to mark the official launch of the Greater Victoria School District’s (GVSD) efforts to provide free access to menstrual products for all students.

Last April the Education Ministry mandated that all schools must provide free access to period products in washrooms by the end of 2019.

While the GVSD has provided free menstrual products for some time, changes have been made to make it easier for students to access what they need.

“As a government we believe it’s time to normalize and equalize access right across the province to menstrual products in schools," Rob Fleming, Minister of Education in an announcement on Thursday.

"It helps create a better learning environment for all students.”

Menstrual products will now be available in washrooms across the GVSD to help reduce the stigma of asking for hygiene materials from school offices. 

The initiative is meant to ensure that all students have access to products they need, despite any financial or social barriers.

“Period poverty, as we now call it, is the wide spread lack of access to menstrual products due to financial limitations that affect those who menstruate throughout the provide including women, girls and transgender people,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity in an announcement. 

"No student should ever feel they are not able to focus on their education or participate in the classroom or in activities because they cannot afford or do not have access to menstrual products," added Angie Hentze, GVSD trustee.