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Should Public Bathrooms Supply Free Pads and Tampons?



Taran and Bunny Ghatrora, the founders of Ellebox believe that public washrooms should stock pads and tampons. Learn more about why they are passionate about this important conversation and join the discussion with us.

Pads and tampons are some of the most needed and least donated products across Canada.

Why? They’re often forgotten about because talking about periods is still taboo for many. For women living on or near the poverty line, food and other basic needs are  often prioritized over menstrual hygiene products. Menstrual products are also necessities, not simply a want.

Every person with a period deserves access to pads and tampons. Toilet paper is free in every bathroom, because like menstrual products, they are necessities. Whether it be a business or a school, all bathrooms should provide pads and tampons.

I know some of you are thinking – women should just be prepared…? Well, MOST of the time they are. But often periods can catch you off guard, especially if you have health problems. This is especially difficult if you are homeless and have to choose between buying food or period products. Added to these existing difficulties in finding pads and tampons, experiencing homelessness can severely impact whether a woman is able to have access to basic hygiene care needs.

But really, does it even matter? We aren’t expected to carry toilet paper around, so why are period products any different?

Menstrual care products should NOT be treated any different. Half the population has a period every month. This is not a “niche” experience but one that affects a significant portion of people

Menstrual equity. What’s that?

Let’s dive in!

Little Bird Media and Surrey604 are telling the stories of women who have experienced homelessness and living on the streets in Vancouver and other parts of Canada.

They all shared one thing – they experienced having their period, every month!

Ellebox held a pad and tampon drive in Surrey in March and thanks to the generous contributions of the community, they were able to collect over 7,000 pads and tampons, meeting 10% percent of their yearly goal. All of the donations were donated to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver. The drive was featured in an episode of the Change Makers (below).

Ellebox also packed over 100 donation gift bags of personal care products. Their goal is to donate 75,000 products over the next 12 months, which will give the centre a year’s supply for the 300+ women that rely on the support of the DTES Women’s Centre. For 40 years, the DTES Women’s Centre has provided a safe space for women and children in Vancouver. At Ellebox, they see access to period products as essential to their refuge. For ways you can contribute please contact

Why does this cause matter?

While filming for an episode of The Change Makers, Creating Better Periods, several women tell us they have had to DIY their menstrual care with the following:

  • Toilet paper
  • Rags or socks
  • A towel, rewashed in the river
  • Shoplifting to get products

During our discussion with these women, we talked about the discrepancy between the number of bathrooms that provide condom dispensers, but not pads and tampons. Even if these dispensing machines exist, they are usually ancient, so it’s uncertain if they’re actually going to work.

The Tampon Tax

To top it all off, tampons are taxed as a luxury product in 36 states in the US, and until recently, in Canada too. (Our government heard us, and changed this in 2015!) This makes them more expensive to buy and limits to the choices women can make about their period care. Tampons are not a luxury! They cannot be compared to products like diamond jewelry, cigarettes and donuts. To make it worse, items like cocktail cherries and wedding cakes are not subject to the tax.

Tampons are just another way that women have agency over their bodies, and by taxing them, we essentially take away that agency.

Periods and Education overseas

The issues women and girls experience because of a lack of education about their periods and bodies can have even worse consequences overseas. Political and cultural pressures mean that information about periods or choices for period hygiene are simply not available.

Women and girls are left unable to participate in school, work and social activities without adequate period care. This lack of access is hindering global development. That’s why Ellebox has partnered with Day’s for Girls, a non-profit organization that works to empower women and girls worldwide through sustainable menstrual care and health education.

Learn more about our #nomorelimits campaign and help them raise a $1000 here.

But it’s 2018! How is this still a problem?!

Ellebox asked some of the amazing people who came by to donate why they believe that period care products are some of the least donated items across Canada. These are some of the answers! Don’t feel bad if you fit into one of these categories, they did too!

  • Taboo surrounding periods
  • Expensive
  • People don’t know about the lack of or need for these products
  • Not talked about, so the issue gets forgotten

Every woman deserves access to feminine hygiene. Menstrual hygiene is not a privilege it’s a right. This goes to the heart of basic dignity for women. But many women do not have access to the products they need, unlike other products provided out of necessity. Ellebox aims to increase access through efforts like our pad and tampon drive and by coordinating with other companies to ensure that all businesses and offices carry tampons and pads.

So how do we get women convenient access to these products?

Ellebox is providing access to period care products through community partnerships. If you’re a company who wants to provide organic tampons for your employees, contact us. They’d love to work with you!

Want to become a change maker too and share your brand message alongside our content and stories?

Learn more and download the Sponsorship Package Today!

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3D printing to support frontline workers during Covid-19




Justin Ruscheinski is 3D printing to help those who work in healthcare and on the frontlines during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many nurses have said that since they are working long overtime shifts during the pandemic, their ears have turned raw and painful from having the elastic strings of their face masks looped around their ears all day and night.

To solve this problem, Justin is using his 3D printer at home to make ear savers for surgical face masks that can wrap around and act as a banded support behind the head, to alleviate pain to the ears by not needing to have the elastic strings looped around the ears, as how it’s normally worn. The newly added ear saver, which is made of plastic, is attached to the face mask by locking the strings of the mask onto the clip.

When asked what motivated him to take on this project, Justin said “I’m just a happy guy with a 3D printer looking to support the frontline workers in any way I can. I want to support them on all the amazing things they’re doing.”

So far, he has made over 200 ear savers and receives requests daily for them. He has been donating them to nurses in Surrey and other cities in the lower mainland. And has set up an email ( for healthcare workers to send in requests on how many they need. Ear savers can either be delivered or picked up.

Currently, Justin has one 3D printer and it takes a couple of hours to a few days to make a bunch of ear savers. And he might start printing a few different models for testing. To be able to make more ear savers, he has ordered another 3D printer which is expected to be delivered by April 11th, and that will allow him to push out 20 pieces every 11 hours if he runs at full force. In addition to that, he wishes to order more printers to help healthcare workers.

To help offset costs of 3D printers, material, and production, he has set up a GoFundMe page for those who would like to support his initiative and would like to gladly thank those who do. (

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How Surrey Residents Can Stay Safe During COVID-19



COVID-19 has taken the world by a storm and what was once seen as a small problem has now been declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a pandemic is an epidemic that has spread over several countries and continents and affected a large number of people.

The number of COVID-19 cases in BC is rising, with the Vancouver Coastal Health region at 339 cases, Vancouver Island Health at 47, Interior Health at 46, Northern Health with nine cases and 218 cases for the Fraser Health region.

However with all of this, Surrey residents can still stay safe throughout this pandemic.

For starters, residents of Surrey have to practice social distancing, just as the health professionals and government officials have stressed upon.

During this time some might be scared of going outside, perhaps to get groceries, and Fiona Brinkman, SFU professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry wants residents to know that going outside [for essential things] is safe.

“If you keep more than 2 meters from people (and avoid touching surfaces others may have recently touched, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth), you can safely walk around and get some exercise. The only reason to further limit this is if people are not following these important physical distancing requirements. Such physical distancing is absolutely critical at this time to reduce the impact of this disease,” Brinkman wrote in an email.

Many might find this instruction annoying and tedious, but it’s for the greater good. At this time we can’t risk more people getting affected and over exhausting the health care system.

People have to remember this is a new virus and a cure has not been discovered for it yet, and while scientists and health care workers are working hard to develop a drug for the virus, we have to do our part and distance ourselves so the spread doesn’t continue.

While social distancing, we also need to make sure we’re practicing handwashing, coughing and sneezing into our arms, and overall exercising good hygiene.

There might be some other fears and questions that lingers with the uncertainty of this new virus. Questions like “can the virus drift in your open windows?” and “what happens after 14 days of quarantine?”

According to Brinkman, the virus cannot drift in through your windows. “There is efficient person-to-person transfer only when there is close contact, including a person sneezes/coughs near you. The droplets from a sneeze or cough do not hang in the air for long. This is not an airborne virus.”

After 14 days of quarantine, Brinkman writes, “By then anyone exposed to the virus will have usually developed some immunity to the virus and will not be transmitting virus to others – or else the person will have developed symptoms of the disease. If they have developed symptoms they need to follow public health guidelines. If they have not developed symptoms they need to continue to self monitor but can go ahead with resuming activities (as allowed by current public health guidelines for those with no symptoms).”

The Government of Canada also has more updates and safety tips on COVID-19.

The continuous quarantine might cause some boredom, but there are many ways to entertain yourself. You can begin a new book, call your friends and family and catch up with them, rent out a movie from the local library.
The Surrey Public Library is closed due to COVID-19 but Surrey residents can still access their resources available online. Which includes e-books, online learning, e-audio, streaming video, etc.

If you’re going to be spending a good amount of your social distancing in the house and watching Netflix, you don’t have to watch alone. There’s a new chrome extension that allows you to watch Netflix shows and movies with your friends, as you guys continue social distancing.

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Canadian Think-Tank Achieves Working Ventilator Prototype For Health Canada Review And Certification



Vancouver, BC – A group of Canadian medical professionals, mechanical engineers, software engineers and entrepreneurs have worked in shifts around the clock for the past eight days – and today, are declaring success in producing a working ventilator prototype that has passed initial testing protocols.The group now awaits approval and certification by several health authorities including Health Canada.

The Ocalink Emergency Ventilator Project initially began eight days ago, involving two dozen individuals, working together to spearhead the development and manufacturing of a new ventilator design, for one common purpose; to do everything they can to save lives in the midst of the growing COVID-19 health crisis.

The group achieved a first prototype on March 25, but the head engineer for the project instructed refinements. As a result, a team of 60 software engineers were pulled into the effort and worked through the night and produced a second prototype on March 26. Another night of work and further refinements produced the third version of the prototype today. The ventilator has been reviewed by independent doctors and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority – and now requires official certification at the federal level. Pending approval, initial production facilities have already been contracted and are awaiting federal funding to begin manufacturing. This will also have the potential to create thousands of Canadian jobs in a time of need.

“This is an escalating emergency situation and what is becoming abundantly clear is that there aren’t enough ventilators to fill anticipated global demand,” said Corbin Lowe, CEO of Ocalink, a Canadian from Vancouver who is one of the core group leading the effort. “This ventilator is cost effective, highly efficient and manufacturing is scalable to meet global demand. The only way to succeed with this project is to obtain immediate federal funding. We have thousands of Canadians waiting to get to work on manufacturing to save lives.”

While most people who get COVID-19 may only face mild symptoms, the sickest may end up in intensive care units where ventilators are critical to their survival and recovery.

The manufacturing process will involve utilizing smaller assembly plants that are already set up for manufacturing. Twelve-person assembly lines would allow for social distancing – and the model would be replicated in identified sites across Canada.

The Ventilator Project is now working with manufacturers, assemblers and suppliers – to meet their goal of manufacturing one million ventilators over a 90-day period.

For more information about the company formed to pioneer the Emergency Ventilator Project visit:

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Fraser Health launches Mobile Health Clinic for Surrey communities powered by TELUS



SURREY, B.C. – Individuals in Surrey will now have easier access to immunizations, dental care and sexual health services with the launch of the Fraser Health Mobile Health Clinic powered by TELUS. This new mobile clinic is part of TELUS’ commitment to expand the company’s innovative Health for GoodTM program, and is in partnership with Fraser Health Authority and the Surrey Hospital Foundation. This mobile clinic will help citizens who may face social barriers receiving care from more traditional sources get immediate access to high-quality and compassionate medical service.

“At TELUS, we believe that our purpose is to bridge digital, social and health divides, providing equal access to technology for Canadians in our all-connected world,” said Juggy Sihota, Vice President, Consumer Health at TELUS. “Through our Health for Good mobile health clinics, we are connecting underserved Canadians to vital health resources and care in an environment that offers privacy, stability and dignity. With an investment of $10 million across Canada over five years, we’re proud to expand our TELUS Health for Good program to bring these much needed services to Surrey alongside our dedicated partners, the Fraser Health Authority and the Surrey Hospital Foundation.”

Already active in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Waterloo Region, Montreal, Halifax and Peel Region, these state-of-the-art mobile health clinics operate in communities where frontline primary and preventative care is urgently needed and act as a vital link between the community and local health authority. The program helps to remove many of the barriers that marginalized Canadians face in receiving medical care and will support over 20,000 patient interventions per year nationwide.

“Surrey is one of the fastest-growing communities in B.C., and this new mobile health clinic will help meet the needs of people who may not have easy access to necessary health care,” said Minister of Citizens’ Services Anne Kang. “This mobile clinic, along with others in B.C. and across Canada, are great examples of how partnerships create innovative solutions that deliver high-quality services to those who need them most.”

The Mobile Health Clinic will travel to different locations throughout Surrey to support the following three care areas using a rotating service schedule:

  • immunizations for pre-school aged children attending StrongStart BC and other programs;
  • dental examinations, education, fluoride varnish applications, and client navigation for dental care funding opportunities for youth (up to 19 years old); and
  • testing and treatment of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections for youth and adults.

Starting in Spring 2020, the clinic will run Monday through Friday, with evening hour services provided once a week. Clients will be supported by a registered nurse, a dental hygienist and a nurse practitioner. A coordinator will promote the services to potential clients and organize the Fraser Health Authority’s work with community partners. These services will help the community of Surrey strive towards meeting the national immunization coverage target of 95 per cent. It will also provide care to a population vulnerable to sexually transmissible and blood-borne infections (STBBI) and unplanned pregnancy, and provide dental varnish and health promotion to youth to reduce the risk of tooth decay and preventable dental surgeries.

“Having more care options can help eliminate some of the barriers people face when accessing immunizations, dental health and sexual health services,” said Dr. Martin Lavoie, Vice President, Population Health and Chief Medical Health Officer, Fraser Health. “The Fraser Heath Mobile Health Clinic powered by TELUS will enable Fraser Health to connect with difficult to reach individuals who may otherwise avoid or not be able to access these health services.”

The Fraser Health Mobile Health Clinic is equipped with TELUS LTE Wi-Fi network technology, enabling skilled practitioners to collect and store health data through electronic medical records so they can examine results over time and provide better continuity of care to patients who previously had undocumented medical histories. The medical clinic is divided into two main areas: one for patient reception and mental health care and a second more spacious area with an examination table and a physician/nursing workstation.

For more information about the TELUS Health for Good program, visit

About TELUS Health for Good

Since 2014, TELUS Health for Good has been helping to remove many of the barriers Canadians living on the streets face in receiving medical care and reconnecting thousands of patients to the public healthcare system. Mobile Health Clinics, powered by TELUS, were originally inspired by the work being done by Doctors of The World. The Mobile Health Clinics provide essential primary medical care, including electronic medical records, generating over 20,000 patient visits since the program’s inception. Today, through numerous partnerships, volunteers, and the power of technology, TELUS Health for Good is an efficient and innovative mobile healthcare delivery tool to reach communities in need by bringing healthcare directly to the people that need it most.


TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications and information technology company with $14.7 billion in annual revenue and 15.2 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security. We leverage our global-leading technology to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. TELUS Health is Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider, and TELUS International delivers the most innovative business process solutions to some of the world’s most established brands.

Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all Canadians for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired our team members and retirees to contribute more than $700 million and 1.3 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.

For more information about TELUS, please visit, follow us @TELUSNews on Twitter and @Darren_Entwistle on Instagram.

About Fraser Health

Fraser Health is B.C.’s largest and fastest growing health authority, providing one in three British Columbians (1.8 million people) from Burnaby to Hope with health care services. With over 26,000 employees, 2,900 physicians and 6,000 volunteers, Fraser Health services range from hospital care to community care, including mental health, public health, long-term care and home health. For more information visit

About Surrey Hospital Foundation

Surrey Hospital Foundation is a registered charity, the largest non-government funder of health care for families in Surrey and surrounding Fraser Valley communities. For over 25 years we’ve made it our mission to help people in our community get the best possible care closer to home.

For more information visit and

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How to be happy while using Social Media



How to be happy while using Social Media

It is said that humans can only handle so much information. In the age of social media, it seems we are testing that theory. Social media being the heart of heated arguments, lost causes, dire warnings and the occasional hug from a distant friend.

It can all get overwhelming and depressing.

We need a formula for managing social media, while attempting to maintain the beauty of the connections we have with the mayhem we are forced to wade through. This formula revolves around the idea that too much information isn’t always a good thing.

In multiple studies done in the UK and here in Canada, there has been a proven correlation between social media and depression. One study showed that in the short term using social media can make you happier.

This study done by Lee Farquhar, Butler University Associate Professor of Entertainment Media and Journalism in the College of Communication shows that due to social comparison, we could use social media to feel better about ourselves. As quoted in, he says

“There is no secret that Facebook intensity has been associated with negative social consequences, such as anxiety, narcissism, and loneliness,” says Farquhar, whose own previous research has revealed those very things. “But this looked at something new. When individuals positively compared themselves to other Facebook users, they had higher levels of reported happiness. These findings nuance previous scholarship that largely indicated heavy Facebook use has a detrimental effect on one’s psychological well-being. It is not the amount of Facebook use that matters, but rather, how one feels they measure up in comparison with those around them.

If the user wanted to feel better about his or her career, they might compare to an individual who is unemployed, or had a less appealing job. That same type of comparison could be done for virtually every other aspect of one’s life, like intelligence, family life, the list goes on,” he says. “It is not simply the amount of social comparing one does that matters, but the type of comparison that predicts happiness and life satisfaction.”

This targeted, downward social comparison was the predictor of happiness and overall life satisfaction, Farquhar says.

His research, which focused mostly on college students and Amazon workers (average age was 30) was published in the Journal of New Media and Culture.

However, as he points out, the long- term strategy of using this for happiness doesn’t pan out.

“I wouldn’t encourage people to spend more time on Facebook looking for people to look down on,” he says. “Looking for peers to look down on to make oneself feel better is not the prescription here. We believe the more time spent on there, the less satisfied with life one will eventually be, as one is bound to run into unfavorable social comparisons.”

Surprising Link Between Social Media and Happiness

So why do we do it? Why do we spend so much time scrolling and reading about what our friends are doing and what the world is up to?

According to, it is for the instant gratification.

Social media provides this unique instant gratification — as soon as you posts something, people are showing you their support, approval and admiration. This is especially true on Instagram, where a lot of individuals yearning to become Instafamous are participating in “follow-for-follow” schemes.

Because we want our business to look, and of course be, successful, we’re after as many followers and likes as we can possibly get. It makes sense, we as humans perceive “popular” things to be “great” and “cool.” What we fail to recognize, though, is that we’re going down a rabbit hole, looking for more ways to promote our business and be seen by as many people as humanly possible. This is, clearly, the wrong way to do social media.

So how do we avoid this “rabbit hole” and still enjoy connecting with our friends and family. How can we make sure that social media is good for our mental health?

Here are some tips for good mental health on social media

1. Don’t read everything posted.

Choose the battle that is most important to you and leave the rest. You can’t solve all the world’s problems.

My personal choice is to read all local business news (SBOT, Surrey604 and Surrey Now Leader) so I am up to date on the important things going on in my world. My area of personal interest is politics, so I read anything about politics, with a strong focus on local, provincial and federal as opposed to the world stage. The rest, as tempting as it is, I leave for someone else.

2. Know your sources

It is important to look at the source BEFORE reading and not fall for click bait. Put your critical thinking cap on before you absorb what is being said. If the article or person says anything of a deeply personal or personally derogatory nature about a public figure, stop reading. You are looking for information or education not joining in a school-yard cyber bullying attack.

If an article is over-stating something or blatantly untruthful, stop reading. Why look for a grain of truth among click-bait lies. Find the truth somewhere else. If the article is from a source that has lied in the past, don’t bother reading it. You wouldn’t let someone who constantly lies to you remind in your circle so why would you continue to read content from a source that lies.

Be careful that the news you are absorbing is based on truth even if you don’t like the message. Form your life opinions around things you can prove to be true.

3. Mindfully Avoid Click Bait

“Headline – Toddler eaten by Bald Eagle.” Whatever is going on in that story is probably none of your business. As awful as whatever it is might be for people in the story and as tempting as the headline might be, if there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, save your mental health by not reading it at all.

4. Try to balance the negative with positive.

Follow some art pages, a photographer’s page, a cat website, or a page on how to cook. Use social media to check-in regularly with friends who lift you up and they will be inspired to send you teddy bears and hugs or whatever it is that makes your day.

5. Connect with people you love.

Look at your list of friends and pick one and send them a little note telling them something about them that you really like. Not a whole love letter. Just a quick note. Do that once a day and you will get a lot of love back.

6. Remember that what you see on social media is only part of the story.

The big successes never show the hard work and self-doubt it took to get there. The failures we over-share about don’t show the climb back to the top because we sometimes forget to finish our story. Every single normal person on earth has days when they doubt themselves. Every normal person gets depressed and overwhelmed on some days, they just don’t post about those days. Every single normal person has bad hair, bad dog, where’s my car keys, I hate you, stubbed the baby toe, crap it’s raining – type days, so don’t look at other people and their constant smile and wonder why you are the only one struggling. You aren’t the only one. You are not alone.

7. Don’t compare your life with someone else’s.

he only competitor for your success is your own mind and the limitations you put on yourself. You only run the race against your own belief structure. If your self-esteem is taking a hit, use social media to affirm yourself. Find some life affirmation videos and soak it all in.

8. No complaints made without offering a possible solution.

Life is about balancing the good with the bad. The lessons with the ribbons. Keep a balanced mind set and a balanced Facebook page. For every negative post, find two positive ones to off-set it. Be mindful about what you are absorbing

9. Lastly, no sharing or reading anything about Harry and Meghan. (leave them alone to live their lives in peace.).

Try a cat video. Find something that makes you laugh and then share it so we can all see your sick sense of humour. Find a senior, shut in or person who is struggling and commit to sending them one thing every day. Use social media to give back to your community. Take a minute to really think about what lifts you up, makes you smile and then go and search for those things. Don’t forget to share it with all of us because we want life affirming posts too.

Social media can educate us (if we check and double check our sources), it can prompt us to act (see you at city hall on Monday night – it’s going to be exciting…I promise you. Uber is only the icing on a very complicated cake), and it can build us up if we use it mindfully.

If you let it, social media can remind us that we have friends, we are not alone in our struggles, we are loved, and we can continue to connect with others in a meaningful, positive way.

Take a moment and use your social media skills to bless yourself and someone else today.

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