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Monday, October 3, 2022

Canada’s military is open to a more inclusive code: face tattoos and gender-neutral uniforms.

Archival image of Canadian troops during an exercise in western Ukraine near Lviv in 2020.MARKIYAN LYSEYKO (Getty Images)

The Canadian Forces have issued a number of modifications to their dress code. These changes are linked to the need to adapt this code, which has been around for about 50 years, in favor of respect, diversity and inclusiveness. “The appearance of the Canadian military has not kept pace with the communities they serve,” reads a legal notice issued July 5. The new rules, which will come into effect in September, allow uniforms to be mixed, so military personnel can choose any of the previously gender-segregated clothing items. They also open the door to the use of various accessories and badges previously banned.

Hair extensions and coloring won’t be a problem if you tie your hair below your shoulders and leave your face open. Cut and color may in no way affect operational tasks such as camouflage combat exercises. The paper states that under these circumstances, a “simple adaptation measure” must be found. For example, a scarf to hide the hair. Recruits will also not be required to shave their heads during basic training. “Uniformity does not mean discipline or operational efficiency, just as hair color or length does not determine purpose or professional competence,” Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff, General Wayne Eyre, said in a video message posted on Twitter.

Sideburns, beards and mustaches are allowed, regardless of volume, as long as they are well trimmed and symmetrical. The same will happen with long nails and their color, but on the condition that they do not affect operational tasks. Regarding facial tattoos, the new ruling states that they have a place in military ranks, unless they are associated with criminal gangs or promote hatred or discrimination in any of its forms, as provided for in the Human Rights Act from Canada.

Hoop earrings are also allowed, but must fit the maximum size. Likewise, the military will only be able to wear a backpack on one shoulder, provided that it is left, so that the right hand is free to salute. General Eyre had the following to say about this set of modifications: “Some will consider this an advance, while others will consider it unreasonable. We must be wary of a false dichotomy when we have to choose between a change of clothes and appearance or strength. In November, members of the military leadership announced the imminent introduction of these changes to the dress code. At the end of March, the acting Chief of the Military Staff, Lisa Burgon, stated that Canadian press that changes to the code would include gender neutrality.

There are retention and recruitment difficulties in the Canadian Forces. They are missing about 7,600 members, according to a report released in February. The pandemic has been a significant factor, as have accusations of a lack of diversity within its ranks, especially towards women, indigenous peoples and other communities. In turn, a long list of sexual harassment and assault scandals has led to desertions and a weakening of the institution’s credibility. Anita Anand, Minister of Defense since October 2021, vowed to tackle the problem decisively.

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World Nation News Desk
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