A few weeks ago, I was watching the Toronto evening news. There was a segment about people in construction and not having access to toilets or even to a porta potty on the job site. The one construction worker they interviewed stated that she would have to hold it in for 8 hours or more; and if she was lucky, there might be a Tim Hortons nearby where she could go and use a toilet on her break. We can all agree accessing a toilet is a basic human right. It’s not just about urinating or defecating. What was she to do if she was menstruating? Was she to leave her menstrual pad on, or a tampon in, for over 8 hours?
Let’s look at the implication of not having access to a period friendly toilet. If one is not able to change her menstrual pad or tampon, it can lead to rashes, irritation, reproductive tract and urinary tract infections; and in rare cases, lead to toxic shock syndrome from overusing tampons (Khan & Oveisi, n.d.). This is not only a public health issue but a human rights issue!
Just because someone may have access to a toilet, does not mean it’s period friendly. Is there a place to safely dispose of period products? Some people may not change their menstrual products if there is no place to dispose of them. As well, is there access to washing facilities located where toilets are? I’ve been to washrooms where there was no water coming out of the faucet (and these washrooms were in Ontario!). We all need to advocate for period friendly toilets as this is a public health and a human rights issue.
 Khan, Z & Oveisi, N, ND., Let’s Talk About Periods: A Critical Analysis of Menstrual Inequities in Canada, viewed 15, May 2023, https://www.freeperiods.ca/_files/ugd/f6391c_701a63dc437f4d28851f7553fecb1afa.pdf.