Canada allows female mounted police to wear hijab

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is to allow its female Muslim officers to wear hijabs, updating iconic uniform “to better reflect the diversity” in Canada’s communities.

“The commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently approved this addition to the uniform,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s spokesman Scott Bardsley told the AFP news agency.

“This is intended to better reflect the diversity in our communities and encourage more Muslim women to consider the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a career option.”

According to Al Jazeera, the policy was quietly enacted despite the fact that no officers had yet asked to wear hijabs as of earlier this year.

However, about 30 officers had asked for a relaxing of the rules for religious or cultural reasons over the past two years, the Montreal daily La Presse reported citing an internal correspondence between Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.

The memo also said that the type of hijab was selected to be included in the uniform that could be removed quickly and easily if needed.

The RCMP became the third police force in Canada to add the hijab option after Toronto and Edmonton.

The uniform – a red serge tunic, leather riding boots and wide-brimmed felt campaign hat – that dates back to the 1880s was last updated in 1990 to allow Sikh officers to wear turbans.