Customer Tanya Planken

Customer Tanya Planken

Complaint filed over breast-feeding incident

A Central Alberta woman is filing a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission because she was told at the Olds Walmart to breastfeed in the washroom instead of a fitting room.

A Central Alberta woman is filing a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission because she was told at the Olds Walmart to breastfeed in the washroom instead of a fitting room.

Customer Tanya Planken, 40, said she regularly shopped at the store and often breastfed her 10-month-old daughter Sarah in the fitting room.

“I’ve always believed they had no problem with me nursing there, or they’ve never said anything, so I nursed her there,” Planken said on Friday.

“It’s quiet for Sarah. I don’t have to cover up completely. I’ve tried the cover up. She doesn’t like to be covered up.”

It only takes five or 10 minutes to breastfeed her daughter, said the Mountain View County resident.

But on Tuesday at about 2 p.m., Planken said a supervisor told her to “take it to the washroom” when Planken exited the fitting room after breastfeeding.

“It is illegal to redirect somebody — illegal,” Planken said.

“It’s totally disgusting and humiliating especially in 2013. (Sarah) is a child. She’s a human.”

The Alberta Human Rights Commission says human rights tribunals and courts have determined that breastfeeding is an integral part of being a mother and retailers must allow women who need to breastfeed their children in a public area the opportunity to do so. Retailers should not ask the mother to cover up or move to a different location. While some retailers may wish to provide a private space for breastfeeding, there is no obligation to provide such space, nor is there an obligation for mothers to use such space.

Planken’s family emailed Walmart’s Canadian head office to complain about what happened and was emailed an apology.

“I want to assure you that it is our policy to ensure our customers feel welcome to breastfeed in our stores. Also, if they wish, moms are absolutely welcome to use the change rooms. We have already followed up with the store to make sure our policy is well understood and properly applied,” said Alex Roberton, director of corporate affairs and social media with Walmart, in the email.

In an interview with the Red Deer Advocate, Roberton said moms are Walmart’s core customers and the company wants them to feel comfortable breastfeeding in their stores.

“With a million customers and 95,000 associates and the turnover you see in retail, we have to continually reinforce various policies with respect to what we should doing in our stores. Sometimes when we haven’t done a good enough job, we get a situation like what happened in Olds,” Roberton said.

Planken said she also received a call from one of the supervisors at the Olds Walmart with an apology.

But Planken said that’s not good enough.

“I accept your apology. However, I’m still going to the Alberta Human Rights Commission because in six months from now it’s going to be forgotten and another mother will come along and be sent to washroom.”

Aug. 1 to 7 was World Breastfeeding Week.

Just Posted

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Alberta could receive 76,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine next week

Alberta should be getting a large shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a café in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
RCMP investigating online threats made against officers who were at central Alberta protest

Online images purportedly showing officers attending weekend rally at Mirror in rifle crosshairs

Bowden Institution Black Press file photo
Bowden Institution inmate dies from COVID-19 complications

Bowden death the sixth in Canada’s federal prison system

FOUND: Police locate Red Deer missing youth

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Adam Feller reacts as he gets his Pfizer-BioNTech shot at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Montreal. Quebec has become the latest province to stop giving Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as a first dose.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Ontario keeps stay-at-home order; Quebec pauses Oxford-AstraZeneca shots

Ontario has announced it’s keeping its stay-at-home order in place until at… Continue reading

The flag of the Supreme Court of Canada flies outside the building following a ceremony in Ottawa, Monday March 15, 2021. The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially winning the Canadian Derby more than three years ago might have run out of legal room to reclaim the title. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from horse owners over derby dispute

OTTAWA — The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially… Continue reading

People take part in a protest called 'Justice for Joyce' in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, where they demanded justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to systemic racism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec coroner’s inquest into death of Joyce Echaquan begins as her family testifies

MONTREAL — The husband of an Indigenous woman who was subjected to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, centre, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec tables revamp of French-language law, toughens rules for businesses, schools

MONTREAL — The Quebec government reasserted the right of Quebecers to live… Continue reading

Permanent residency
Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims… Continue reading

Co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger introduce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as they appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa on November 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ethics watchdog: PM didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, but Morneau did

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not breach the Conflict of… Continue reading

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, center, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew with teammates from left, forward Tsubasa Endoh, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Patrick Mullins during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Bradley, Altidore scores in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Crew

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Michael Bradley had a goal and an assist,… Continue reading

A football with the CFL logo sits on a chair during a press conference in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Former defensive lineman Klassen tackling retirement as he did opposing quarterbacks

Klassen spent seven CFL seasons with Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa

Most Read