Breast Feeding

Toronto Urged to Guarantee Mothers’ Right to Breastfeed Anytime, Anywhere

Toronto is being urged to prioritize the rights of breastfeeding mothers to breastfeed in all public places controlled by the municipality. The Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, has submitted a report recommending the development of a policy that affirms this right.

The establishment of an official position on breastfeeding would help eliminate the stigma associated with it, according to Joanne Gilmore, a manager with the healthy families division of Toronto Public Health. The aim is to ensure that mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies feel comfortable doing so without feeling confined to their homes.

It’s important to note that this does not mean that every mother must breastfeed in public or expose themselves. Some women prefer to breastfeed more discreetly or in private, and that choice should be respected. However, it should also be their right to breastfeed in public if they desire to.

The need for an official policy on breastfeeding in public became evident in 2005 when a controversy arose over a woman breastfeeding in the rink house at Dufferin Grove Park. The issue was not the act of breastfeeding itself, but rather the extent to which the mother had disrobed. Eventually, city staff apologized to the mother for the mishap.

While there are already rules in place allowing municipal employees to breastfeed on city premises, the current policy does not extend to the general public. Despite the Ontario Human Rights Commission protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed, some women still face challenges when breastfeeding in public.

“It’s considered a staff policy and does not extend to the general public,” explained Ms. Gilmore.

Ensuring that all public spaces in Toronto support and accommodate breastfeeding mothers is an important step towards fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for families.


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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