An Edmonton mother is accusing IKEA of discrimination after her four-year-old daughter was refused entrance to the store's play room because her English was not strong enough.
Renelle Roy's four-year-old daughter Charlize understands basic English, though French is her first language.
Recently Charlize joined a family friend on an outing to the IKEA at South Edmonton Common to play in Småland, a supervised play room at the furniture giant where children can play while their parents or guardians shop.
But when Småland staff heard Charlize speaking French, they began asking her questions in English, Roy said.
"My daughter was a little nervous," Roy said. "She's fluent in French but learning English. She was put on the spot and it made her a little uncomfortable and so she didn't really answer and they didn't let her in Småland."
Her daughter knows basic words such as "stop," "be careful," "watch out" and "come here," Roy said.
IKEA said their policy is made clear to all parents
"Our policy welcomes children who understand and speak English (French in Quebec) as long as they also meet height and toilet-training requirements, said spokesperson Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick in an email. "The child must be able to understand instructions from IKEA coworkers in case of emergency."
The sign-in cards note that children must be able to converse in English and must be agreed to by the parents, she said.
Roy said Edmonton is a multi-cultural city and IKEA should re-visit the policy.