The Department of National Defence says it won’t stand for members of the Canadian Armed Forces removing or vandalizing the feminine hygiene fixtures now required in men’s washrooms.

True North has received reports and photos of damaged or removed tampon dispensers and disposal units, which were mandated in all federally regulated male and female washrooms late last year.

One photo shared with True North was said to be taken in a men’s washroom at CFB Trenton, a large air base in central Ontario.

A spokesperson for the Department of National Defence said there have been no reports of vandalism at CFB Trenton, but this is not true of other military buildings.

“Unfortunately, vandalism has already been observed on some dispensing/disposal units installed in (Department of National Defence) occupied buildings,” the spokesperson told True North in an email.

The federal mandate went into effect Dec. 15, with unsanctioned removals reported almost immediately after.

The Defence department said removing tampon dispensers and disposal units from men’s washrooms undermines the department’s efforts to create an “inclusive” environment for “cisgender women, gender diverse individuals, transgender men, and intersex individuals.”

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

The mandate applies to all federally regulated workplaces, including military bases, federal offices, and Parliament Hill.

“The provision of free access to menstrual products at all federally regulated workplaces is inclusive of all workers who menstruate, and it will improve the well-being of nearly half a million workers who may require menstrual products during their workdays, including cisgender women, gender diverse individuals, transgender men, and intersex individuals,” the Defence spokesperson said.

“Treating pads and tampons as basic needs will help improve equity, reduce stigma, and create healthier, more inclusive workplaces.”

Peterborough Conservative MP Michelle Ferreri criticized the mandate as “wasteful” when tampons were placed in the men’s washrooms of her Parliament Hill office building. She filmed a video for social media in one such washroom alongside a male staffer of hers, although she later deleted it.


  • Andrew Lawton

    A Canadian broadcaster and columnist, Andrew serves as a journalism fellow at True North and host of The Andrew Lawton Show.