To the Calgary Stampede, for creating a breastfeeding policy, after a breastfeeding mom complained about being asked to leave her seat by a Stampede employee due to a complaint. Letter to Stampede, followed by their response below:
You should know your alert to us and feedback from Jennifer House and Jennifer Peddlesden at the Calgary Breastfeeding Matters Group helped us craft and then refine our breastfeeding policy last year. We agreed with your feedback that we should not need to inform a mum that there is a complaint.
For Stampede 2015, we are supporting and communicating the following policy as part of any relevant onboarding. We believe that moving a complainant to other comparable seats does not endorse or show agreement with the complaint/complainant, but is a way to provide all guests with the best experience possible.
Breastfeeding is an integral part of being a mother. We allow women who need to breastfeed their children in a public area the opportunity to do so. We should not ask the mother to cover up or move to a different location. We do have private spaces for breastfeeding, but there is no obligation for mothers to use these spaces.
If there is a complaint:
We will advise the complainant that in Canada mothers have the right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. Generally our belief is that if someone is uncomfortable being near a breastfeeding mother he/she/they can/will move somewhere else and leave the mother in peace. If it’s a ticketed event, a supervisor has the authority (if the complainant continues be upset) to move the complaining party to other comparable seats. It can be tricky to move people but we certainly agree that’s no excuse to violate the right to breastfeed.
In the past week, in our training with about 60 Stampede time supervisors, we have used a breastfeeding case study to help them understand the policy and issue. We are also using the policy as part of the training early next week with our Grandstand ushers.
Thanks for your patience and feedback. I do appreciate it.
Director, Community Engagement and Communications