About the campaign

The history of the battle for tax fairness
Did you know that until 2015, households across Canada paid GST on menstrual hygiene products?

From 1991 until 2015, the Canadian government considered all menstrual hygiene products a non-essential item or luxury. To add insult to injury, items like incontinence products, cocktail cherries, human sperm, and wedding cakes are not subject to GST. But we all know that buying tampons, pads, moon/diva cups, or panty liners is not optional. These products are an essential part of a normal, public life for people with periods.

Member of Parliament Judy Wasylicia-Leis first introduced a bill to add menstrual hygiene products to the list of zero-rated products in 2004, saying, “The GST on tampons and sanitary napkins amounts to gender-based taxation. The taxing of essential and necessary products used exclusively by women is unfair and discriminatory. It unfairly disadvantages women financially, solely because of our reproductive role. The bill would benefit all Canadian women at some point in their lives and would be of particular value to lower income women.” (Hansard – 12-13-04 – Introduction of PMB to exempt feminine hygiene products from GST).

After that bill failed, Member of Parliament Irene Mathyssen introduced Bill C-282, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (feminine hygiene products), on October 16, 2013. Our government ignored the bill until finally, in January 2015, Jill Piebiak and a group of volunteers introduced a petition in support of it.

You won’t even know it’s there.

It’s rare to check your grocery bill for how much GST you’ve paid on each individual purchase. So taxes on menstrual hygiene products often went unnoticed.

Though GST had decreased from 7% to 5% across the board, people with periods were still unfairly paying into the system. In 2014, it’s estimated that approximately 17,876,392 Canadian women between the ages of 12–49 spent about $519,976,963.00 on menstrual hygiene products.

That means the government collected approximately $36,398,387.00 in government sales taxes because our uteruses did what they do naturally. Our government made money off our bodies.

Don’t tax periods — period.

A small tax on tampons/pads/panty liners/menstrual cups adds up when combined with the systemic challenges many women, trans people, genderqueer people, and other menstruators face in terms of their income, housing, and economic stability.
This has been a longstanding argument of government critics.

The #NoTaxOnTampons campaign gathered nearly 75,000 online signatures and 10,082 signatures on paper. Menstruators and allies across Canada wrote to their MPs, held protests, wrote editorials, canvassed for signatures, and started a national conversation about tax fairness. The Canadian Menstruators partnered with Campaign Gears and Wildrun Productions to produce a video in support of the campaign, to great success.

We don’t need to go with the flow!

On May 7, 2015, the Canadian Menstruators joined Irene Mathyssen and Mylene Freeman in Ottawa to announce that they would be tabling 10,082 signatures on the petition to remove this discriminatory tax. The NDP opposition brought forward a motion calling to remove the tax on May 8, 2015, and it was debated in the House of Commons. On May 11, 2015 the motion was passed — 258 to 0. This unanimous vote showed support from all parties for the removal of the tax on menstruation products.

The Conservative government announced that on July 1, 2015, the federal tax on menstrual hygiene products would be lifted. The timing is significant: on Canada Day, our government brought its focus to women and trans people after ignoring their needs for twenty-four years. Several provinces followed suit, exempting period products from provincial sales taxes.

The fight for equality and justice for all Canadians is far from over, but this victory was an important step. We told our government that we are essential—and our government listened.

Press Links

#NoTaxOnTampons in the media

For interviews or more information please email cdnmenstruators[a]gmail.com.

National

Maclean's

Huffington Post Canada (video)

National Post

Global

CTV (video)

Yahoo!Shine

Star

Tyee

La Presse

Star

CTV

Flare

CBC

Globe and Mail

Yahoo! Canada

Maclean's

National Post

Metro News

CTV

Star

CTV

CBC

Yahoo! Canada

Globe and Mail

Tampon tax elimination timeframe still up in the air -- CBC News (2015/05/13)

NDP want Tories to amend budget bill to remove federal tax on tampons -- Canadian Press (2015/05/012)

Torie Women led caucus to support an end to tampon tax but NDP want it gone now -- Globe and Mail (2015/05/12)

NDP Urge Tories to remove federal tax on tampons -- CTV News (2015/05/12)

Things we learned on May 12, 2015: From Pan Am shirts to feminine hygiene products -- Toronto Star (2015/05/12)

Canada one step closer to having no tax on tampons -- Yahoo (2015/05/08)

Federal Government throws support behind dropping 'tampon tax' -- Metro News (2015/05/08)

Tories support removal of federal tax on tampons -- Canadian Press

Tories support removal of federal tax on tampons -- The Globe and Mail (2015/05/08)

'Tampon tax' motion to remove GST gains government support -- CBC News (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove 'tampon tax' -- Macleans (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove federal tax on feminine products -- Yahoo News (2015/05/08)

Government Supports Removing Federal Tax On Tampons -- Huffington Post (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove federal tax on feminine products -- National Newswatch (2015/05/08)

Le NPD veut abolir la taxe sur les produits hygiéniques féminins -- Radio Canada (2015/05/08)

Le NPD cherche à faire abolir la taxe sur les produits hygiéniques féminins -- Huffington Post Quebec (2015/05/18)

Tories support motion to remove ‘tampon tax’ -- iPolitics (2015/05/08)

No more tampon tax? House of Commons to debate issue next week -- CTV News Kitchener (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove federal tax on feminine products -- Vancouver Sun (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove federal tax on feminine products -- Edmonton Journal (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove federal tax on feminine products -- Ottawa Citizen (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove federal tax on feminine products -- Montreal Gazette (2015/05/08)

Government supports motion to remove federal tax on feminine products -- Winnipeg Free Press (2015/05/08)

Tories say they support bill calling for removal of tax on tampons -- Toronto Star (2015/05/08)

Government to support 'tampon tax' motion -- Metro News (2015/05/08)

Government to support tampon-tax motion -- Global News (VIDEO)(2015/05/08)

Tories support motion to remove 'tampon tax'-- CTV News (VIDEO) (2015/05/08)

At the End of the Third Period, Conservatives Drop Tax On Feminine Hygiene Products -- Vice (2015/05/08)

NDP to use opposition day to push for tax free tampons -- Yahoo (2015/05/08)

NDP MPs deliver petitions calling for end of tampon tax -- CTV News (2015/05/07)

NDP wants to remove ‘tampon tax’ from menstrual products -- Global News (VIDEO) (2015/05/07)

NDP MPs champion an end to the ‘tampon tax’ -- Macleans (2015/05/07)

Rabble.ca (2015/04/10)

Rabble.ca (2015/04/09)

The Huffington Post Canada (2015/04/01)

Operation Maple (2015/03/31)

Radio Canada International (2015/03/20)

Rabble.ca (2015/03/18)

Canada.com (2015/03/17)

Macleans (2015/03/16)

The Social (2015/03/15) | (Video)

Metro News (2015/03/12)

The Globe and Mail (2015/03/11)

CBC The Current (2015/03/05)

Flare Magazine.com (2015/03/05)

The Tyee (2015/03/02)

CTV.ca (2015/02/18)

Canoe.ca (2015/02/18)

The Huffington Post Canada (2015/02/18)

Global News.ca (2015/02/18)

Slice (2015/02/16)

Yahoo News! Daily Brew (2015/02/11)

CBC Radio The 180 (2015/02/08)

Rabble.ca

 

Provincial / Local

Star Phoenix

St. John's Telegram

Our Windsor

Labradorian

Star Phoenix

Winnipeg Free Press

Now Toronto

Our Windsor

Toronto Sun

London Free Press

Labradorian

Montreal Gazette

Vancity Buzz

Georgia Straight

Vancouver Sun

Ottawa Citizen

Toronto Sun

Ottawa Citizen>

91.7 The Bounce

Chronicle Herald

Vancouver Sun

Edmonton Journal

Georgia Straight

Calgary Sun

Tax on tampons is not a small issue -- The Hill Times (2015/05/18)

The unsung history of the fight to end the tax on tampons -- The Toronto Star (2015/05/12)

Politics this Morning -- The Hill Times (2015/05/11)

NDP's effort to end tampon tax finally wins support from Conservative government -- The Georgia Straight (2015/05/09)

Harper government supports removal of federal tax on tampons -- Van City Buzz (2015/05/08)

Government to vote on tampon tax Monday -- CKNW (2015/05/08)

Guelph Mercury (2015/05/08)

News 957 (2015/05/08)

Northumberland View (2015/05/07)

Kelowna Now (2015/05/07)

Concordia University Alumni (2015/04/30)

Readers' Letters: The Toronto Star (2015/04/18)

The Cowichan Valley Citizen (2015/04/15)

CHEX TV Peterborough (2015/03/29)

The Fulcrum - University of Ottawa (2015/04/26)

The Charlatan (2015/03/24)

The Windsor Star (2015/03/19)

The Edmonton Journal (2015/03/19)

Global News BC (2015/03/17) | (Video)

The Ottawa Citizen (2015/03/17)

The Toronto Sun (2015/03/15)

Le Journal De Montreal (2015/03/14)

Metro Montreal (2015/03/13)

Winnipeg Virgin Radio (2015/03/12)

Kiss 95.9 (2015/03/12)

Fort Saskatchewan Record (2015/03/12)

CTV TV Saskatoon (2015/03/11)

Moose Jaw Times (2015/03/06)

The Sputnik (2014/03/05)

The Media Plex (2015/02/27)

The Leveller (2015/02/26)

CBC British Columbia (2015/02/26)

The Muse (2015/02/24)

NTV Newfoundland (2015/02/20)

Thunder Bay News Watch (2015/02/20)

Saint Catherine’s Standard (2015/02/18)

Calgary Sun (2015/02/18)

Kelowna Now (2015/02/18)

Winnipeg Sun (2015/02/18)

Welland Tribune (2015/02/18)

London Free Press (2015/02/18)

CHOU FM (2015/02/17 - 5pm)

Now Toronto (2015/02/16)

The Peterborough Examiner (2015/02/12)

Les in Rock (2015/02/12)

New Brunswick Beacon (2015/02/12)

NewsTalk 1010 (2015/02/06)

 

International

 

Blogs:

 

House of Commons Links:

NDP Motion to remove the GST from feminine hygiene products debate (2015/05/08) -- Open Parliament

Business of Supply, Opposition Motion - Feminine Hygiene Products (2015/05/08) -- Hansard

Tampon Tax to Be Abolished Thanks to NDP Efforts — NDP press release

The debate

Comments from the House of Commons

Get in touch