Ontario Woman Files Human Rights Complaint Over Topless Swimming

She got several hotels to change their policies, but one water park is holding firm
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2017 3:47 PM CDT
Ontario Woman Files Human Rights Complaint Over Topless Swimming
"Bare With Us" demonstrators gather at the Waterloo Town Square in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015.   (Hannah Yoon/The Canadian Press via AP)

Men are allowed to go topless at the pool, so why are women (usually) not allowed to? That's the question leading one Ontario woman, whose name has not been released, to file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The woman's lawyer tells the CBC her client called around to a few hotels when looking for somewhere to stay for her husband's birthday, asked if she could swim topless there, and was told she could not. She filed the complaint after that on the basis that Ontario's Human Rights Code says everyone has a right to be treated equally when it comes to services, goods, and facilities, regardless of their sex or gender. Women are allowed to go topless in public in Ontario ever since a 1996 court ruling.

"It's very simple. At all of those facilities a man could show up without a top, and he would be allowed to swim that way," says the woman's lawyer. "But they discriminate against women because of some type of different conception of the woman's breast versus man's breast." At least three of the hotels named in the woman's complaint have since changed their policies and will allow women to swim topless, but the Calypso Theme Waterpark, also named in the complaint, is sticking to its guns. "We are an amusement park for kids and family, and so we want to stay with that mission," the CEO told Radio-Canada this week. Per the Toronto Sun, he said the park is simply respecting the wishes of its clientele. The woman's lawyer, however, says that if the theme park allows men to be topless, women should be subject to the same rules. (More topless stories.)

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