Fathers call for baby change tables to be installed in Halifax’s Woodside Ferry Terminal
Questions are being raised over why change stations aren’t available in the men’s washroom at the Woodside Ferry Terminal.
Many fathers say it represents the need for equal amenities to be provided to both male and female parents.
“It’s an oversight and it doesn’t really reflect the modern composition of families. Firstly, the change in dynamic in heterosexual families that men are more involved, but also for same-sex families where there’s two males. It makes it frustrating,” said Bryn Jones-Vaillancourt, an Eastern Passage father.
Jones-Vaillancourt says he and his husband regularly encounter situations where they can’t access a change station for their daughter due to the amenity only being provided in female restrooms.
He’s hoping awareness around the unequal realities of change stations will bring to light the need to update facilities like the Woodside Ferry Terminal.
“This is just one of many examples of overlooking aspects of inclusion and realistically, yes, I understand the Woodside terminal is older, but I mean there should have been a change table put in that men’s washroom there by now,” Jones-Vaillancourt said.
This conversation isn’t only happening with fathers in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
An American father started a movement called #squatforchange when he snapped a photo of himself squatting on the floor of a men’s washroom with his child spread over his lap.
Donte Palmer’s photo ended up going viral and led to Pampers pledging to install 5,000 changing tables in men’s restrooms across North America by 2021.
Here on home soil, single father Chaz Thorne says not having universal baby changing facilitates also sends a poor message to women.
“For the men, obviously it sends a really negative message about men not being seen as equal parents, and for women it’s saying, well, you get to change the diapers,” he said.
Thorne says he can relate to fathers who have resorted to creative methods of changing their children due to not having access to a proper change table.
“It’s very common that I would be out with my daughter on my own when she was younger. So, yes, I found I would end up having to change her on sinks in men’s rooms, or on the floor on a change mat, or something like that which is not ideal.” he said.
Thorne says he’s hoping an increased awareness over a lack of equal change tables in all washrooms leads to a positive outcome.
“Both men and women should societally be seen as equal parents and therefore the same amenities that would be available to mothers should also be available to men.”
WATCH: Dad ‘angry’ over lack of diaper changing stations in men’s restrooms
The municipality says city staff are currently assessing the space in the male washroom at the Woodside Ferry Terminal to determine whether a change table can be installed.
Further washroom enhancements will also be made, including gender neutral washrooms, through the Woodside Recapitalization Project.
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