In Rare Change to Iconic Uniform, Canada's Mounties Approve Hijab for Female Officers

Change in uniform code will better reflect diversity of Canada and encourage Muslim women to join the force, says Mounted Police commissioner.

Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Alberta, Canada July 8, 2016.
Todd Korol, Reuters

Canada's national police force recently permitted its women officers to wear the hijab.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's spokesman said Wednesday the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently approved the addition to the uniform to allow Muslim women to wear the hijab. Scott Bardsley says it is intended to better reflect the diversity of Canada and to encourage more Muslim women to consider a career with the force.

The Mounties faced a public backlash more than 25 years ago when a Sikh man took the government to court and won the right to wear his traditional turban instead of the usual Mountie headgear. Canadians have long since accepted the change.

Police services in the cities Toronto and Edmonton, as well as some U.S. states, have adopted similar policies.