The CAF dress code will be “more inclusive and less prohibitive”

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has released more details on what will and will not be allowed under its revised dress code which is expected to come into effect starting this fall.

The new rules, unveiled Tuesday morning, allow long fingernails, face tattoos and colored hair, among other changes.

“Canadian Forces dress instructions are about 50 years old, so the policy as a whole needed to be reviewed. The rise of the Canadian Armed Forces has not kept pace with the Canadian society they serve,” the document reads.

The updated dress code is expected to come into effect in September and, as was the case before, commanders at all levels will be responsible for ensuring personnel under their command adhere to the rules.

Part of the changes means that members can wear mixed uniforms as the male and female catalogs are open to all members.

“The overall goal of the updated Canadian Forces dress instructions is to make the policy more inclusive and less prohibitive, and to allow CAF members greater freedom to make personal choices regarding their appearance,” the document states.

New recruits won’t have to shave their heads during basic training and there are no restrictions on the length of hair, but it must be tied back when it goes past the shoulder and cannot cover a member’s face.

Likewise, sideburns, beards, mustaches, and goatee hair of any length get the green light as long as they’re “neatly groomed and symmetrically styled.”

The use of hair dye and the wearing of long fingernails are also permitted unless they impact operational duties and facial tattoos are acceptable as long as they are not associated with criminal activities or do not express a form of discrimination.

The government announced plans to create a gender-neutral dress code in March, in a bid to address a much-needed culture change as it strives to recruit more diverse staff.

“Our members have told us that the existing dress instructions are not inclusive and do not allow our members to represent themselves in uniform,” the major-general said. Lise Bourgon, Acting Chief of Military Personnel, at the time.