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Offline brandon

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On May 10, 2010, a poorly-trained, clueless or ignorant employee at a city swimming pool in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada scolded a mother who had been breastfeeding her child near the pool.

City officials then added insult to injury by defending the employee's actions.

Women in Canada have the right to breastfeed in public places, and regularly exercise that right with few objections.

The mayor of the city has now called to apologize to the mother:


By: Jen Skerritt
May 20, 2010
Winnipeg Free Press

MAYOR Sam Katz apologized Wednesday to a local mother who was told breastfeeding at a public pool was "offensive," and human rights officials have offered to educate all city employees about a woman's right to nurse a child.

Jenna Baker said Katz contacted her about the May 10 incident at Pan Am Pool. The 28-year-old mother of two wasn't home, but she said Katz left her a message apologizing for what happened and how the incident was handled.

Last week, Baker breastfed her 11-month-old daughter at the Pan Am Pool following her infant's morning swim class. Baker was stunned when a female staff member followed her into the change room afterwards and told her what she did was "offensive."

Initially, city officials contested Baker's version of events and said pool staff received several complaints from patrons after a woman attempted to nurse her baby in the pool.

Baker said she wasn't in the pool that day and breastfed her daughter while sitting in a chair, more than a metre away from the pool's edge.

"I was definitely pleased to hear the city is taking responsibility and apologizing for the City of Winnipeg employee who encountered me and told me breastfeeding was offensive," Baker said. "(Katz) did apologize for how it was handled."

The apology came the same day the Manitoba Human Rights Commission offered to work with the city to launch an educational campaign about breastfeeding in public facilities, including libraries and community clubs. Executive director Dianna Scarth said the city should make it clear nursing mothers are welcome and that a woman's right to breastfeed is protected under the human rights legislation.

Scarth said the idea breastfeeding may offend other patrons or customers is not a legitimate reason to refuse a woman that right and that court rulings have dismissed it as "a very archaic idea."

"It is an area where there appears to be quite a bit of misunderstanding," Scarth said.

"It is a human rights issue. It's not a question of whether you think it's a good idea or a bad idea, it really would be like someone saying, 'I don't think women should be allowed in this restaurant' or, 'I don't think people of a certain ethnic origin should be (allowed).' "

City of Winnipeg spokeswoman Michelle Bailey said officials plan to remind all staff of a woman's right to breastfeed in city-owned facilities, noting the decision to do so was made before human rights officials contacted them. Bailey confirmed the city will also issue a formal letter of apology to Baker.

Baker said support from local women has been overwhelming and close to 100 nursing mothers have expressed interest in participating in a mass nurse-in at Pan Am Pool this Friday night.

"They don't need to be hidden under a blanket or in a bathroom," Baker said.

winnipegfreepress.com
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 04:28:06 pm by brandon »
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Offline Danee

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Re: Winnipeg mayor apologizes to breastfeeding mom for pool incident
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2010, 09:23:47 pm »
Oh wow...

Lets hear it for modern, progressive laws!  GOOD GOING WINNIPEG! 

Thank-YOU, Bran!

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Offline brandon

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Re: Winnipeg mayor apologizes to breastfeeding mom for pool incident
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2010, 11:34:15 pm »
I'm not sure that there is a specific law relating to breastfeeding that came into play in this incident in Winnipeg. Rather, the right to breastfeed in Canada derives from court interpretations of provincial Human Rights Codes and probably also Section Fifteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

I couldn't find specific guidance from the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, but the part of the article I put in bold type explains that commission's position.

A document from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, POLICY ON DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING, states:

Quote
The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that pregnancy cannot be separated from gender. Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination simply because of the basic biological fact that only women have the capacity to become pregnant.6 Section 10(2) of the Code states that “The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of sex includes the right to equal treatment without discrimination because a woman is or may become pregnant.”

“Pregnancy” includes the process of pregnancy from conception up to the period following childbirth and includes the post-delivery period and breastfeeding.

I think the Human Rights Commission in every Canadian province and territory would interpret the Supreme Court's ruling in the same manner.



Breastfeeding in public is permitted by law in most states in the U.S.A.

State Breastfeeding Laws in the United States:

      Forty-four states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming).

      Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming).

      Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming).

      Twelve states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty (California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia).

      Five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont).

source: National Conference of State Legislatures
http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14389
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.  -Thomas Paine