Pacific Blue Cross joins forces with United Way BC to tackle period poverty amidst rising cost of living

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Pacific Blue Cross, in partnership with CUPE 1816, is once again rallying behind United Way BC’s Period Promise campaign, which aims to improve access, and ultimately quality of life, for people who menstruate

Left:  Rob Chiarello, Pacific Blue Cross Sr. Vice President, People & Culture.  Right: Roger Pearce, CUPE 1816 1st Vice President, Chief Shop Steward

The Period Promise Research Project recently revealed that alarmingly, more than half of people who menstruate in BC have struggled to buy period products for themselves. Rising inflation has continued to worsen this problem, with a choice between buying food or menstrual products being a tough and hidden reality for many.

“The United Way Period Promise campaign empowers everyone to contribute to the solution,” says Rob Chiarello, SVP, People & Culture at Pacific Blue Cross. “We recognize that access to menstrual products improves health, restores dignity and fosters community engagement. The impact of period poverty on British Columbians motivated our support for this initiative from its inception. Seven years on, we continue to proudly endorse this effort addressing a critical health issue for many in BC. Our support echoes our commitment to building healthy communities and improving health and wellbeing for all British Columbians.”

Lack of access to period products negatively affects quality of life

Access to period products has become more challenging for everyone, especially students, workers, and single parents, due to rising costs from inflation. Many people are struggling to afford both period products and food, and menstrual stigma makes it difficult for people to ask for help. Additionally, the cost of personal care supplies such as tampons and pads has increased by 6.3 per cent according to the Consumer Price Index released by BC Stats in March.

Lack of access to period products means a higher rate of people will miss school, work, community or social events. This translates to missed opportunities to learn, earn an income, contribute to their community or enjoy a healthy social life. Indigenous Peoples are more impacted by the isolation caused by a lack of access to products, with almost half of those surveyed saying that they had to avoid community or social events during their period.

How you can help tackle period poverty

United Way BC's Period Promise, presented by Pacific Blue Cross in partnership with CUPE 1816, is tackling this issue head on in May by encouraging individuals and communities to collect and distribute menstrual products directly to those in need.

“Period poverty is widespread across our country, compounded by rising inflation costs, but we have an opportunity to change the landscape here in BC,” says Beth Miller, President, CUPE 1816. “The United Way Period Promise campaign not only raises awareness about this issue but also contributes to menstrual equity by providing free products for those in need. Every contribution, regardless of size, directly helps someone who may otherwise lack access. Together, we’re bridging gaps and ensuring no one has to be without the products they need."

From May 1 to 31, you can help by:

  • Organizing a Period Promise campaign to collect menstrual products in your community, school, workplace, or union. Organizations and community members interested in starting a Period Promise campaign can access the toolkit here
  • Participating in your organization’s Period Promise campaign
  • Donating online at
  • Volunteering to help United Way BC to get period products to those in need

 The 2024 campaign aims collect up to 500,000 menstrual products through financial and product donations.

Learn more about the United Way BC’s Period Promise campaign.