Thank you for making your period promise!

There is a bit of magic in mobilization.

Once one passionate person takes action, an issue can quickly become impossible to ignore.

United Way’s 2019 Period Promise campaign, presented by Pacific Blue Cross, made major gains to tackle period poverty. This is due in no small part to the visionary leadership of its volunteer co-chairs, and the solidarity and support from across the labour community.

But when dozens of organizations also take up the cause – that’s when we create a movement.

Collective commitment, profound impact

Over 65 companies and unions organized donation drives to collect pads, tampons, cups and menstrual underwear, for people that struggle to access them.

“I supported Period Promise because people should have access to products that will give them the ability to be proud, secure and confident,” says David Sellar, City of Vancouver outdoor worker, member of CUPE 1004, and chair of his Period Promise campaign.

“We wanted to take the worry away from a fact of life…to leave [people] with nothing but room to grow and become their best selves.”

Organizations that made donations, or ran Period Promise campaigns, include:

British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA)
British Columbia Federation of Labour (BCFed)
British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS)
British Columbia Government and Services Employees’ Union (BCGEU)
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
BCIT Faculty and Staff Association
British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF)
Burnaby Teachers Association
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)
Canadian Labour Congress, Pacific Region (CLC)
Cassels, Brock & Blackwell LLP
Clark Wilson LLP
City of Surrey
CUPE 402
City of Vancouver
CUPE 1004
CUPE 391
IBEW 213
Coast Mountain Bus Company
CUPE 4500
Unifor 2200
CUPE 458
CUPE 1004
CUPE 391
CUPE 402
CUPE 454
CUPE 728
CUPE Metro
Delta School District
Delta Teachers’ Association
CUPE 1091
Earnsliffe Strategy Group
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Emily Carr University of Art + Design Faculty Association
Federation of Post Secondary Educators (FPSE)
Fraser Valley Labour Council
GE Digital Canada
Green Shield Canada
Harris & Company LLP
Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU)
Health Sciences Association (HSA) of B.C.
IAMAW Local 250
International Longshore Workers’ Union Canada (ILWU)
ILWU Local 500
ILWU Local 502
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Langara College
Langara Faculty Association
Lawson Lundell LLP
March On! Vancouver
Neptune Terminals
ILWU Local 500
New Westminster & District Labour Council
New Westminster School Board
New Westminster Teachers’ Union
CUPE 409
Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Pacific Blue Cross
CUPE 1816
ProTrans BC
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Rent Tent Project
Safeway Canada
UFCW 1518
Save-On Foods
UFCW 1518
Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University Faculty Association
CUPE 3338
Teacher Support Staff Union
Shoppers Drug Mart
SNC Lavalin
Surrey Teachers Association
CUPE Local 4500
CUPE Local 7000
Transit Police Professional Association
Unifor 111
Unifor 2200
UFCW 1518
United Way of the Lower Mainland
CUPE 1760
University of British Columbia
Association of Administrative and Professional Staff at UBC
BCGEU Local 303
CUPE 116
CUPE 2278
CUPE 2950
IUOE Local 882
UBC Faculty Association
University of the Fraser Valley
University of the Fraser Valley Faculty and Staff Association
Upload Productions
USW 1942
USW 2009
Vancouver & District Labour Council
Vancouver Convention Centre
Vancouver School Board
IUOE Local 963
Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Association
Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ Association

In the coming weeks, donations will be delivered to local community agencies, like Aunt Leah’s Place. Aunt Leah’s helps strengthen life skills for young mothers and children in foster care.

“Having menstrual products for our youth is essential for them to have a healthy body and mind,” says Pam Costello, Director of Operations at Aunt Leah’s Place. “Thank you for helping provide this much-needed and often forgotten health need.”

Signing up for systemic change

In addition to the dozens of donation drives that took place across the province, 10 organizations took their promise one step further. They signed on to United Way’s policy framework for providing free menstrual products in their facilities. The policy was developed with support from Vancity.

“We now know that both UFCW 1518 staff and members have a role to play in the campaign for access to menstrual products,” says Patrick Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer for UCFW 1518.

UFCW 1518 United Way Period Promise agreement

UFCW 1518 Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson (far right) signing United Way’s Period Promise Policy Agreement. Photo by Diana Perez.

“It’s clear from the immediate pick-up from members that everyone wants to ensure that poverty is not a barrier to accessing menstrual products any longer.”

Organizations that have signed on United Way’s Period Promise policy include:

BC Federation of Labour
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Pacific Region
Earnscliffe Strategy Group
ILWU Canada
New Westminster & District Labour Council
New Westminster Schools, District 40
Pacific Blue Cross
UFCW 1518
United Way of the Lower Mainland

Sustaining a community of change-makers

While the 2019 campaign has come to an end, citizen action to tackle period poverty certainly won’t.

“Now that the campaign is over, we want to keep the momentum going,” says Neal Adolph, who says a working group will soon be formed for anyone interested in tackling period poverty, year-round.

“When we pair United Way programs and donations with the passion of local citizens – that’s when we see sustainable solutions, long-term.”

“We can’t wait to see what local change-makers do next.”

Want to keep the momentum going? Join the Period Promise Facebook Group.

Check out photos from the Period Promise Campaign Celebration.