Topless woman says Mountie threatened to fine her
A Kelowna woman is speaking out after an RCMP officer allegedly threatened to fine her for going topless in public – even though it’s not illegal.
Susan Rowbottom said she was tanning with a friend at a local beach last week when a Mountie approached them and told them to cover up.
“He said, ‘Can you please put your top on?’” Rowbottom told CTV News. “We’re like, why? Is there a reason, a law, anything?”
Rowbottom said the officer claimed it was a “city ordinance,” something officials in Kelowna have since assured her isn’t true.
Rowbottom, who is a single mom and student, said she and her friend decided to put their tops back on rather than make waves.
She’s now sharing her story to raise awareness about women’s rights to bare their breasts in public, in the hopes that one day their bodies won’t cause such a stir.
A B.C. Supreme Court ruling secured women’s right to go topless in the province 15 years ago. Linda Meyer was charged after taking off her top at a Maple Ridge pool, violating a city bylaw about exposed nipples, but successfully challenged the law.
The judge found no evidence the city couldn’t operate in an “orderly fashion if a female were to bare her breasts in a circumstance that did not offend criminal laws.”
In Ontario, where female toplessness has been legal even longer, people are planning a protest over a similar incident to Rowbottom’s.
Three sisters were stopped by police while bike riding topless in the Kitchener-Waterloo region on Friday. They said an officer told them to cover up, but backed down after they objected.
No one was charged or ticketed, but the sisters said they plan to file a complaint with the Waterloo Regional Police Service.