Woman asked to leave after changing baby's diaper on a restaurant table
You are at a family restaurant that does not offer change tables, and your baby is poopy. Do you:
1. Take her outside of the restaurant to a nearby picnic table to change her?
2. Change her on a table in the restaurant since there are no other diners inside?
3. Wish you had ordered in Chinese and were at home binge-watching The Big Bang Theory instead?
If you are Candice Pouliotte, you choose B but then end up taken aback when the restaurant owner asks how dare you change your baby inside a restaurant. Pouliotte, an Ottawa resident, and her family were at a local family restaurant when her baby started fussing and needed changing. After enquiring about a change table and discovering there wasn't any, the new mom decided to just roll up her sleeves and change her child on a nearby table. Unfortunately the owner spotted her and, after a brief conversation, asked her to leave. She did, but not before she went back in and explained to the owner that "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," she said in a CBC interview.
Pouliotte then went on to accuse Dan Dunbar, the owner of Kelly's Landing, of treating her like a “second-class citizen or worse" for suggesting she could have changed her baby on the grass or a park bench beside his restaurant, essentially making her leave the family restaurant she brought her family to.
So now Pouliotte is asking that all businesses in Ontario install baby change tables, including restaurants, community centres and movie theatres.
Here’s the thing: Everyone wants the same thing. The restaurant owner doesn’t want a poopy dining table. Neither do his customers. And neither does Pouliotte. Her first choice was — and still is — for a dedicated change table.
Changing a baby on a table that people eat off of wasn’t the wisest (or most sanitary) choice, but it was likely due to frustration and, well, a crying baby. On the other hand, she wasn’t offered many options, and still, a crying baby. But is that the restaurant’s responsibility? Even at the risk of alienating customers, shouldn't the choice be left up to the owner?
Changes to the Ontario Building Code that came into effect this January require newly built, larger restaurants to have a family washroom with a change table, but the rule doesn't apply to older establishments.