Have you ever wished there was an accurate up-to-date website, listing all the breastfeeding laws and their provisions for enforcement - all in one place?
The breastfeedinglaw.com website, with comprehensive listings of US breastfeeding laws, just opened it's doors! Now you can have all the information about your local laws about breastfeeding in public - both federal and state by state - at your finger tips!
Not only does each State's page have the most current legal info on breastfeeding within that state, you will also be able to share your own experiences of breastfeeding or pumping in that state, and read the experiences of other mothers who live and breastfeed under their laws.
I couldn't find anything similar for Canada, so I went on the hunt for the Canadian breastfeeding laws.
Here is what I found:
Canadian Federal Laws and the Right to Breastfeed
When asked about the issue of breastfeeding in public in Canada, breastfeeding support groups typically point to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (comparable to the U.S. Bill of Rights). The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees
gender equity, and it is on that clause that most breastfeeding rights advocates hang their hat.
Breastfeeding Laws in British Columbia and Ontario
On the provincial level, only two provinces have laws that protect a woman's right to breastfeed. British Columbia and Ontario have been pioneering their way in breastfeeding rights. In these provinces, not only is a woman's right to breastfeed anywhere at any time protected, it is also illegal to ask the mother to be discrete. The Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia states it this way,
Nursing mothers have the right to breastfeed their children in a public area, and it is discriminatory to ask them to cover up or breastfeed somewhere else.
According to the Ontario Human Rights Coalition, women have the right to breastfeed in public. No one should disturb or request they
cover up, or be more
Accordign to the Infant Feeding Action Coalition (INFACT) of Canada, a non-governmental advocacy organization, women are protected against discrimination on the basis of sex, and considers breastfeeding and pregnancy to be covered by that provision.
Source: Breastfeeding Laws and Nursing Rights in Canada
Policy on preventing discrimination because of pregnancy and breastfeeding:
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) developed a Policy on Discrimination Because of Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (PDF document) which further explains the law and its interpretation and implementation. It clarifies that the protections for pregnancy include the post-natal period, which includes breastfeeding. The policy statement elaborates:
You have rights as a nursing mother. For example, you have the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from nursing your child simply because you are in a public area. They should not ask you to
cover up, disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more
Read More: Policy on preventing discrimination because of pregnancy and breastfeeding
Your right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
Know your rights!
In Canada each province and territory has a Human Rights Code. These codes protect women from discrimination on the basis of sex. To date, only Ontario and British Columbia specifically detail the rights of breastfeeding feeding mothers. These provisions include time, access and accommodation in the workplace and in public. Ontario has also has a policy on Discrimination Because of Pregnancy. Other provinces should take note.
Federally, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also affords some protection. Section 15(1) states as follows:
• Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.
• To ensure that women receive full benefit of all Charter guarantees, gender equality is also enshrined in Section 28 of the Charter.
• Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.
Source: Your right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Returning to Work: Breastfeeding and The Law:
In addition to the potential benefits, workplaces must support breastfeeding to stay in compliance with the law. The Ontario Human Rights Commission states,
Women cannot be discriminated against in any way because they have chosen to breastfeed. The employee and the employer need to collaborate on the arrangements to permit the mother to breastfeed upon her return to work (PDF, page 6 of 27).
The Commission goes on to say that
Employees who require breaks, such as for pumping or breastfeeding, should normally be accorded those breaks, and not be asked to forgo normal meal breaks as a result, or work additional time to make up for the breaks, unless the employer can show undue hardship (PDF, page 9 of 27).
Source: Returning to Work: Breastfeeding and The Law
Do You Need a Nursing Cover-up to Breastfeed in Public?
Personally, I think it is easier and less obvious to nurse in public without a cover-up. If you practice in front of a mirror you may be able to breastfeed without showing any skin.
But if that doesn't make you comfortable, and your baby is willing to be covered up, there are a wide varieties of cover ups available. Which one is your favourite?
• Milkmade Nursing Cover
• My Brest Friend Nursing Cover
• Hooter Hiders Nursing Cover
• Baby Blinds Breastfeeding Cover
• Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover
• Balboa Baby Nursing Cover
• MoBoleez Camo Baby Breastfeeding Hat
• Baby Bond Couture Nursing Sash/Belly Band
• Jolly Jumper Pashmama Nursing Cover
• Kushies Nursing Canopy
• Huggabee Nurse Me - Nursing Cover
• Udder Covers
• ORGANIC NursEase Breastfeeding Shawl
and many more!
This article compliments of Born to Love.
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Born to Love articles are written by Catherine McDiarmid-Watt
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Last updated - February 8, 2017