An Ottawa woman wants Ontario to require all restaurants, movie theatres and community centres to provide changing tables for children after she says she was shamed at a family restaurant for changing her daughter on a dining room table.
It happened three weeks ago when Candice Pouliotte went to Kelly's Landing Restaurant for lunch in the south Ottawa community of Manotick with her grandparents and her two young children.
When she noticed her months-old daughter Simone needed changing, she asked a waitress if they had any changing tables and the waitress said no.
Pouliotte said she asked if she could use a dining table instead and that the waitress said yes.
Pouliotte said she used one of the tables inside because all the restaurant's customers were eating on an outside deck and no one was inside.
'We grabbed our things and walked out'
"I would never have changed her in front of anyone's view," she told CBC News this week.
When she was finished the owner walked up and asked her how she dared to change her baby inside a restaurant, she said.
He walked away, she followed, and after an exchange that didn't involve any yelling Pouliotte's grandmother asked if Pouliotte wanted to leave.
"He [the owner] said, 'I think that would be for the best,' so we grabbed our things and walked out," she said.
After the family got into the car Pouliotte returned to the restaurant to explain to the owner why she was upset.
"As a paying customer and being a mother, I think that telling someone to leave a restaurant to change a child is treating them like a second-class citizen or worse," she said.
"A child shouldn't have to sit in a soiled diaper while you eat your dinner or have your lunch. I think that if any business is open during daytime hours, that this should be a standard."
Owner says he was shocked
The owner of Kelly's Landing, Dan Dunbar, did not agree to a taped interview with CBC News but said he was shocked to see Pouliotte changing her baby on a dining table.
She could have done it on the grass or a park bench beside his restaurant, he said.
Sarah Chown, who heads the Ottawa chapter of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association, said many restaurants including the three she manages have washroom change tables.
"Especially if you're going to be a family-friendly restaurant or cater to families, it's probably a service that you would want to provide," she said.
Since Jan. 1 the Ontario Government has required newly built larger restaurants to have a family washroom with a changing table. Older buildings without them are not required to install them.