Father prods Sobeys about mothers only parking spot

Justin Simard uses social media to voice concern over parking signage

A father who was irked at a parking spot for new mothers at a P.E.I. grocery store has seemingly prodded Sobeys to include new dads too.

On Monday, Justin Simard was on his way to drop off his nine-month-old son Charles at his aunt's when he stopped at the Sobeys in Stratford to pick up some baby food.

Simard says he tweeted a photo of himself holding his baby in front of a sign that said "Expecting Mothers; Mothers with Small Children," and asked Sobeys: "...am I allowed to park here? #notababysitter #dadissues.''

Sobeys tweeted back at Simard, saying he is most definitely entitled to the parking spot and indicated it would be updating its signage at the store in Stratford.

Simard, a musician who takes care of Charles while his wife works part-time, says parking signs that are mother-specific are not inclusive and do not consider modern families, including families with two fathers.

"This little guy is kind of heavy. And in the winter, in the snow or the rain, you don't really want to be walking very far with an infant," said Simard.

"It just seems a little silly that it's gendered in that way. I know that as a man, it's weird to be complaining about a sexist policy -- I get that. But what about two parents that are fathers? It's not inclusive."

Simard said he posted the photo on Facebook and has heard from other new fathers who are supportive of Sobeys' response, including a dad who was confronted by a woman who questioned why he was using the parking spot at a Superstore grocery store.

Simard said he was impressed by the quick response from Sobeys and hopes other grocery stores follow suit.

"They seemed incredibly open to addressing it immediately, which is so refreshing," he said.

Sobeys did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

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