Country club apologizes to breastfeeding mom after asking her to move to basement
Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Monday, October 17, 2016 1:24PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 17, 2016 6:43PM EDT
The Lambton Golf and Country Club in west-end Toronto has written a letter of apology to a mother who was asked to move to the basement to finish breastfeeding her child.
In a written statement released shortly before noon Monday, the club’s president Bob Beaumont, and chief operating officer John Demko said they “deeply regret” the actions of the club’s employee during a charity event Saturday at the club, which is located in the area of Dundas Street West and Scarlett Road.
“Our staff member should have acted differently and not have asked you to move to another location at the club to continue feeding your baby,” the letter said. “We deeply regret that this caused you to feel embarrassed.”
The mother, Alexandra Shimo, told CTV Toronto over the weekend that she had walked over to a “discreet” corner in a hallway outside the dining area to nurse her two-and-a-half month old son, Jacob.
Shimo said a male service manager approached her shortly after and asked her to move.
“The restaurant manager came out and said a few people had complained because they ‘didn’t want to see this while they were eating,’ because we were in sight of the restaurant.”
Unbeknownst to Shimo, she was apparently breastfeeding on a chair that was in sight of patrons dining in a members-only area.
The service manager brought her to the basement of the club to finish breastfeeding and it was there where Shimo’s partner Lia Grimanis recounted the incident on Facebook.
By Sunday evening, the Lambton Golf and Country Club Facebook page was flooded with comments denouncing the club’s actions.
In the letter of apology, the club went on to assure that all employees would receive sensitivity training and would be made aware of the provision in the Ontario Human Rights Code which demands a woman be allowed to breastfeed in public. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission website, no one can “ask you to ‘cover up’” or require a breastfeeding mother move to a more “discreet” area.
“We recognize that you and other mothers who come to Lambton as members or guests are entitled to breastfeed their children without covering up and should not be asked to move from a location that is comfortable and convenient for them,” the letter reads.
The letter adds that Shimo and her family will “always be welcome” at Lambton Golf and Country Club.
Alexandra Shimo says she was escorted to the basement of a golf club after patrons complained about her breastfeeding.
The Lambton Golf and Country Club, located near Dundas Street West and Scarlett Road in Toronto, is shown in this undated photo.