August 24, 2016 - 9:00 PM
OTTAWA - The RCMP says its female members can wear a hijab if they choose.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's office says the national police force respects people of all cultural and religious backgrounds.
The move is intended to reflect the country's diversity and encourage more Muslim women to consider a career with the Mounties.
Goodale's office says the Toronto and Edmonton police departments — as well as police services in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway and some U.S. states — have similar policies.
In 1990, after much debate, the RCMP allowed Sikh members to wear turbans. Sikh members of the Canadian Forces are also allowed to wear turbans.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Julie Gagnon, a spokeswoman for the force, said the force has developed a hijab for its female members.
"The RCMP-issued hijab has undergone rigorous testing to ensure the design meets the highest standards of officer safety," she said in a statement.
So far, she said, no female Mountie has asked to wear a hijab on duty.
In 2013, the Parti Quebecois introduced its ill-starred charter of values which would have barred the province's public servants from wearing religious symbols, including hijabs, at work.
The charter and the PQ itself foundered in the subsequent election.
A number of federal cabinet ministers, including Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, a former military reserve officer, wear turbans in the House of Commons.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016