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THE CANADIAN PRESS

A $15 box of tampons sold at the Calgary International Airport may have elicited shock online, but it’s common for feminine hygiene products to cost that much — or more — in many remote northern communities.

Carlee Field was waiting for a flight from Calgary to Vancouver last month when she stopped to use the ladies’ room in the terminal.

Inside the bathroom, she saw a box of tampons with a note that said all of the machines were empty and that it had been necessary for someone to buy a $15 box from the Relay shop.

The unsigned note’s author said the price mark-up was unacceptable and invited others to take a tampon if they needed one.

Shortly after Field posted a photo on the social media site Reddit, the airport authority wrote that the machines had been refilled and the price at Relay had been lowered to $6.25.

Moon Time Sisters, a group that collects feminine hygiene products to donate to communities in northern Ontario and Saskatchewan, says a box of tampons can cost $19 in areas where Indigenous women are often struggling with unemployment and low incomes.

Founder Nicole White said she started the project after hearing about girls in northern Saskatchewan who were missing school during their periods. She said she has heard of women using used socks when they can’t afford pads and tampons.

“That is something that’s unacceptable to me,” she said. “If you’re a person who’s living under the poverty line, feminine hygiene products are seen as a luxury.”