EXCLUSIVE: Tampon Dispensers in Men’s Military Washrooms Being Vandalized as Soldiers Question Policy

CAF members say they are ‘disappointed’ with the new policy.
EXCLUSIVE: Tampon Dispensers in Men’s Military Washrooms Being Vandalized as Soldiers Question Policy
Various menstrual products are seen in a file photo. (Mike Stewart/AP Photo)
Matthew Horwood

The Department of National Defence says some menstrual product dispensers in male washrooms have been vandalized, as members of the Canadian Armed Forces question the necessity of the new government policy.

“Unfortunately, vandalism has already been observed on some dispensing/disposal units installed in DND occupied buildings,” wrote Colonel A.J. Delhommeau in an internal email obtained by The Epoch Times.

Beginning Dec. 15, all federally regulated employers must provide free menstrual products in all employee washrooms—including male washrooms.

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who spoke with The Epoch Times anonymously to avoid reprisals said that they didn’t notice vandalism but that the soundness of the new policy is being questioned.

“There’s a lot of jokes, but also a lot of disappointment,” said one CAF member.


Colonel Delhommeau, who is in charge of the Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau), described the new initiative as “inclusive to all workers who menstruate and will improve the well-being of nearly half a million workers who may require menstrual products during their work days, including cisgender women, gender diverse individuals, transgender men, and intersex individuals.”
Department of National Defence (DND) spokesperson Andrée-Anne Poulin confirmed Dec. 14 that there had been some incidents of vandalism on some “dispensing/disposal units installed in DND-occupied buildings.”

“This type of behaviour will not be tolerated and goes against Defence Team efforts to create a truly inclusive and psychologically safe work culture,” said Ms. Poulin. “All members of the DT must feel recognized, respected, and valued which will allow them to thrive in their environment.”

The change to the Canada Labour Code, announced in May, dictates that the washrooms must contain free tampons and menstrual pads, as well as a disposal container in every toilet stall.
Other federally regulated workplaces include postal services, airlines, broadcasting, railways, trucks and buses that cross provincial or international borders, telecommunications, banks, and federal public services.
Here for Her founder Rachel Ettinger started the petition for the change back in 2020, providing the federal government with recommendations for the new policies. She told CBC News that “trans men, gender non-conforming and two-spirit folks menstruate as well, and everyone who menstruates deserves to menstruate with dignity.”

CAF Members ‘Disappointed With Policy

The CAF member who spoke with The Epoch Times expressed dismay that the military is funding this initiative while there’s a lack of funding for equipment.

“We keep asking for additional [funds] just to be able to buy better equipment, whether it’s laptops, chairs, desks, printers, scanners—it’s always denied or we have to wait for next year’s budget. There’s always some reason, but then here [are] tampons in our bathrooms. Apparently that’s the priority.”

The CAF member said that many people in his office of 30 employees were “disappointed” with the new policy, including several females. He also saw other CAF members from across Canada in a group chat talking about throwing the products in the garbage or flushing them down the toilet.

“Somebody did say, as a joke, potentially they would have to put a sign up saying don’t flush these down the toilet because it could clog the septic systems, seeing how men usually are not familiar with these products,” he said. “But it’s all just been rhetoric, and some of it is sarcastic, I presume. Some of it may be actual—there might be some intent behind some of these comments.”

Another CAF member in Alberta said menstrual products were placed in male bathrooms on Dec. 10, which resulted in several males “having a little bit of issues with it.” He said out of 200 members in the area, only 5 percent are women and none are transgender.

The member also said he had not seen any incident of vandalism, “but I do know a lot of the guys are talking about just taking them for their wives and girlfriends and whatnot.”

A CAF member based in Ontario also said the main concern relates to DND’s spending priorities, with barracks falling apart and mould in buildings. He also mentioned soldiers are having “tampon fights” with the new free products.

According to a regulatory impact analysis conducted by the federal government, the new policy will cost approximately $116.6 million between 2024 and 2033, not including labour costs for installation.

DND has been asked to cut spending by almost $1 billion as part of a broader initiative impacting other areas of the federal government. Defence Minister Bill Blair says the cuts mostly affect areas like professional services, contracting, and travel.