"A uniform does not define discipline or operational effectiveness, just as the color or length of your hair does not define your dedication," Gen. Eyre said.
In a historic reform to its nation’s military dress code, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on Wednesday permitted the servicemembers to have facial tattoos, dye their hair, allowed women to keep long nails and wear skirts in an attempt to make military service more inclusive.
In a statement, Ottawa's Department of National Defense said that these new military dress and personal grooming regulations were aimed "to support respect, diversity and inclusiveness" and to encourage the youth to join the armed forces.
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel will be allowed these freedoms effective September, 2022, according to the Ministry of National Defense's press release.
"The bottom line is, the Canadian Forces Dress Instructions are about fifty years old and so the policy as a whole was overdue for revision," said Department of National Defence (DND).
"The appearance of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has not kept pace with the Canadian society which it serves."
The new regulations, however, comes with caveats. hair of bright colours are allowed only if "it does not interfere with the performance of official duties." “Bright hair can have a negative impact during field operations or training," the Canadian Ministry of Defence said. "Managers are invited to discuss this with their teams and find a simple, appropriate way to accommodate, for example, a scarf to cover the hair."
The Canadian military will now be able to grow their hair to any length, but for operation effectiveness may have to tie very long hair that goes below the shoulders. The hairstyles shall easily allow wearing military headgear, in particular, a beret, and not obstruct vision during the missions.
Canadian armed forces can now have facial hair or tattoos, for as long as it is well-groomed. The armed forces commanders will still have the authority to order otherwise depending on security and military operations.
"A uniform does not define discipline or operational effectiveness, just as the color or length of your hair does not define your dedication or professional competence," General Wayne Eyre, Canadian Chief of Defense Staff, said on the Armed Forcesʼ official website.
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) 'has not kept pace with the Canadian society': Military in
The Canadian army will now be allowed to choose whether to wear skirts or pants. The updated rules will accommodate the men who identify as females to wear the skirts and blouses as part of their uniforms, according to an FAQ released by the Canadian military.
“The appearance of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has not kept pace with the Canadian society which it serves,” the document stated. The major changes in the uniforms will no longer be divided into the categories ‘male’ and ‘female’. “Both catalogues are open to all members and they may be intermixed.
CAF members may choose whichever design best fits, as long as it is worn as per the Dress Instructions,” the military said. It added that there may be exceptions for special occasions such as military parades.
No restrictions will be exercised on the appearance such as long hair unless it impedes performance. Face tattoos are also allowed and will be banned exceptionally if it is found associated with criminal gangs, or indicate discrimination.
General Wayne Eyre said that the move pushes for diversity in accordance with society. “Some will consider this progress, while others may see this as unwarranted,” Eyre said. “We must be wary of the false dichotomy that we must choose between changing our dress and appearance, or be strong.”