Female Mounties Allowed to Wear Hijabs on Duty

The RCMP has now announced to have allowed any female member of the RCMP to wear a hijab (head scarf) as part of their uniform in an effort to encourage more Muslim women to join the RCMP. Even though the uniform option of Hijab was adopted by the force in January, members were required to seek approval from RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson for any faith-based accommodation and another formal request was to be made for wearing the hijab while on duty.

In an RCMP briefing note sent to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the force mentioned that “the move to offer the hijab as part of the RCMP uniform is intended to better reflect the changing diversity in the community and encourage more Muslim women to consider policing as a career option.” The note approved by Commissioner Paulson explained that “the objective will be to demonstrate that the RCMP is a progressive and inclusive police service that values and respects persons of all cultural and religious backgrounds.

According to the note, the force tested three versions of the hijab at the RCMP training depot, before an approving one version for police use. It was explained that “the RCMP hijab is designed to be unobtrusive, easily removable and present the least possible risk to members. Tests have demonstrated that the hijab headscarf does not reduce an officer’s effectiveness in the performance of her duties.” The announcement has been appreciated by the National Council of Canadian Muslims as it called it a “welcome, logical step” and mentioned that “we’re hoping that women will look then to the RCMP as a potential career pathway for them.”

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