Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Canadian women join US protest against retailer TARGET

Telephone: 780-938-5208
Email: jchase@mediaworkswest.com

Canadian women are holding an event at West Edmonton mall tomorrow, Dec. 28, at 11 a.m., in solidarity with hundreds of mothers and children who plan to breastfeed at Target stores all across the US. (See Thttp://healthland.time.com/2011/12/27/the-nurse-in-why-breast-feeding-moms-are-mad-at-target/ime Magazine coverage Dec. 27).

"Target: Welcome to breastfeeding-friendly Canada" is being held at the mall entrance to the Zellers store.  The US retailer has purchased the lease rights to Zellers stores and plans to open Target stores across Canada, including in West Edmonton Mall.

Target is currently gearing up to hire thousands of staff members and the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton (BACE) is calling on Target to ensure its breastfeeding policy is appropriate for Canada, and to properly train all of its new staff.

There have been a number of high profile incidents in the US, most recently in Houston where a mother was harassed for breastfeeding in the store and then not supported by Target's corporate headquarters despite a written company policy that protects breastfeeding mothers. 

BACE wants Target recognize that Canada and the U.S. are different. In Canada breastfeeding in public is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is specifically protected in some provincial human rights codes. Our federal government encourages women and children to breastfeed "anytime and anywhere."  Breastfeeding initiation and duration rates are longer here, and moms have longer maternity leaves which means Target employees are more likely to encounter breastfeeding moms in their Canadian stores. 

BACE is calling for Target to:

- ensure Target Canada policies support women and children breastfeeding in Target stores "anytime, anywhere."

- properly train staff to leave breastfeeding women and children alone. These moms should not be asked to leave the store, to cover up, or to go to a private place. 

- ensure Target Canada store designs provide for an appropriate, quiet, comfortable place for women who wish to breastfeed in privacy and train staff to direct women to these places, but only if the woman asks. Women should not be directed to a washroom to feed their children.

- where appropriate, Target should support local community efforts to ensure breastfeeding friendly spaces. For example, the Okanagan Breastfeeding Friendly Coalition partners with retailers to ensure stores are breastfeeding friendly. The city of Kitchener has passed a bylaw requiring all facilities run by the city to be breastfeeding friendly. Ottawa's "Food for All" coalition is calling for breastfeeding friendly support. And the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton, BACE, has declared a gohttp://www.facebook.com/BACEpage?sk=infoal of making the Edmonton Capital Region the most breastfeeding friendly in Canada. Edmonton-area retailers can sign a pledge committing to make their stores breastfeeding friendly.

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We will meet at the mall entrance to Zellers on Level One at 11 a.m. 

US Target nurse-in news release:

Target Corporation responds poorly to recent report of mother breastfeeding infant in Houston, TX                     Target Store. Breastfeeding demonstrations have been scheduled internationally.
Recently a mother was harassed and humiliated for her actions in  breastfeeding her hungry infant in a Houston, TX Target store. When she called Target's Corporate Headquarters, she received another humiliating blow. Target proclaims a long standing practice supporting breastfeeding in their stores. yet have a documented history with being less than helpful to breastfeeding mothers despite a clear corporate policy.

In her frustration, she has organized several nursing demonstrations (coined: "nurse-ins"), which has caught on internationally. A very busy forum exists in which women are organizing their local nurse-ins. and can be found at the following address:                  http://www.facebook.com/groups/208472545898745/

Mothers are coming together and will be feeding their children Wednesday, December 28 at 10am local time at hundreds of Target locations across the world. We have invited breastfeeding mothers, bottlefeeding mothers, friends and family to support our ability to meet our child's most basic need without ridicule and discrimination. The purpose of the demonstration is to create awareness that breastfeeding is normal, natural and is protected by state law. 

Our local group has organized an event at the following site where you can invite, and 'join' our local nurse-in at: http://www.facebook.com/events/222343607842268/ 


If you have any questions or need further information media outlets may contact Jane Aerola by phone or email.