The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently approved the addition to the uniform to allow Muslim women to wear the hijab, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's spokesman said Wednesday.
Hoping to boost recruiting of Muslim women, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is allowing its officers to wear hijabs as part of their uniforms, the government said Tuesday.
"This is meant to better reflect the diversity in our communities and encourage more Muslim women to consider the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a career option", he said.
The iconic uniform, famed for its wide-brimmed hat, has barely changed since it was introduced two centuries ago.
The uniform, recognizable around the world, dates back to the late 1800s and the frontier North-West Mounted Police, which was responsible for enforcing the law in Canada's western provinces and Arctic territories, according to the RCMP website.
Inspired by British military uniforms of the period, it has since only undergone minor changes.
The style of hijab approved by the RCMP doesn't encumber officers and can be easily taken off, according to an internal memo obtained by Montreal daily La Presse.
In early 1990, RCMP Sikh officers were allowed to wear turbans, and general attitudes towards the uniforms have softened since then.
The policy was introduced softly before in 2013, though no requests prompted it from officers, in accordance with the AFP agency.
Updated figures were not immediately available.
The RCMP is now the third police force in Canada to add the hijab option after Toronto and Edmonton, Bardsley said.
Some 30 policemen had asked for a relaxing of the rules for spiritual or cultural motives within the last two years, La Presse reported.
Bardsley noted police services in the cities of Toronto and Edmonton and those across the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway, as well as some US states, have adopted similar policies.
Generally, the requests were from male policemen desiring to grow beards.