Dress instructions | Section 3 Religious And Spiritual Consideration On Dress

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  1. The purpose of this section is to address any religious and spiritual considerations that are not already covered in the above directives related to dress and appearance. CAF members are encouraged to develop their awareness and sensitivity in order to provide inclusive leadership when addressing religious and spiritual considerations and the following guidelines.


  1. The normative standards/requirements of various religious and spiritual traditions should be respected at all times, as must be the desire of members from these traditions who choose not to identify with a specific custom/practice. Advice may be obtained through the chain of command from the Base/Wing/Formation Chaplain, NDHQ/Office of the Chaplain General (OCG), and/or NDHQ/Directorate Human Rights and Diversity (DHRD), while ensuring DHH is informed and consulted.
  2. Religious and spiritual-related items or accessories which are not visible or otherwise apparent are unregulated and may always be worn provided they do not interfere with personal safety, the proper wear and use of uniform items, accoutrements, and/or equipment.


  1. 4. Indigenous members, who were issued the Aboriginal Veteran Millennium Medal (AVMM), may wear the Medal during Indigenous-specific events (e.g., Indigenous festival, Indigenous Achievement Awards, Pow Wows, etc.), at parades and events honouring Indigenous CAF members and Remembrance Day. The Aboriginal Veteran Millennium Medal is worn with the order of dress #1 and #3 and is to be placed on the right-hand side of the uniform, under the member’s name tag.
  2. The Métis Sash may be worn by Métis members of the CAF during all ceremonial occasions or events, including but not limited to parades, mess dinners, award presentations, Indigenous events, or recruiting events. The Sash is not limited to an order of dress.
    1. Métis Sash; is to be worn as per Métis teachings as follows;
      1. Around the waist, outside the tunic or jacket, tied on the left, with the sash ends falling off the left hip. The sash is worn under a ceremonial waist belt when worn, or
      2. Over the right shoulder, falling off the left hip. The sash is worn under a ceremonial waist belt when worn.


  1. A CAF member who is an adherent of the Sikh faith (Keshadharis) shall wear CAF pattern uniforms and adhere to standard CAF dress policy and instructions, with the following exceptions:
    1. Five symbolic requirements of the Sikh religion are authorized for wear (see paragraph 16), with all orders of dress. Should a conflict arise between the requirements to wear safety or operational items of clothing and equipment and these religious symbols, the manner and location of wearing these symbols shall be adjusted. Unit commanders retain the right to order the manner of this adjustment as necessary to meet safety and operational requirements.
    2. A turban may be worn by members with ceremonial, mess, and service dress. Turbans may also be worn with occupational and operational dress, subject to the safety and operational considerations noted in sub-paragraph a., above. When engaged in combat operations, operational training or when serving with peacekeeping or multinational contingents, adherents of the Sikh religion shall, when deemed essential, cover their head with a patka or other customary clothing item, over which they shall wear the headdress (including combat helmets) and other items of military equipment as ordered by the commanding officer.
  2. Except as otherwise provided, the turban worn by members and additional authorized headdress worn by members shall not be ordered to be removed, including the cap badge, while wearing uniform. Similarly, when on duty wearing civilian clothing, a civilian turban and an appropriate civilian head covering shall not be ordered to be removed. Specifically, such headdress shall not be ordered to be removed:
    1. On parade;
    2. By a member of the bearer party at a military funeral;
    3. During the administration of the Oath of Allegiance by an attesting officer;
    4. When attending or being paraded as the accused before a trying officer at a summary trial or investigation;
    5. When attending or being paraded as the accused before a court martial;
    6. When entering a consecrated building;
    7. When entering a mess, canteen or dining room; and
    8. At formal or informal functions, when the removal of headdress might otherwise be considered appropriate.
  3. Adherents of the Sikh religion may observe the following five symbolic requirements:
    1. Kesh – leave hair on the head, face and body uncut;
    2. Kanga – wear a comb;
    3. Kara – wear an iron bangle (bracelet);
    4. Keshera – wear under-drawers of a specific design; and
    5. Kirpan – wear a symbolic dagger with an overall length (including handle and sheath) not exceeding 23 cm.
  4. The colour of turbans (see also Chapter 5, Section 1) shall be:
    1. Naval – white when peaked caps are worn, or navy blue (black) when Naval berets are worn;
    2. Army uniform – rifle green;
    3. Air force uniformRCAF blue;
    4. CANSOFCOM – tan;
    5. Army and Air Force Operational Order of Dress – Canadian average green; and
    6. Full dress and undress – a colour which visually blends with the colour of the normal headdress. Full dress and undress items are noted in Chapter 6. Units shall obtain approval for adoption as noted in Chapter 2, Section 1, paragraphs 24 to 26, through the chain of command, including branch advisers.
  5. Crossed ribbons may be worn on the Naval, Land and Air turbans in accordance with branch/corps/regimental customs as illustrated in Figure 2-3-1.
  6. MPs shall wear two 3 cm wide scarlet ribbons.
  7. The Patka/Pug/Fiftee see (Figure 2-3-1) shall be the same colour as the turban.
  8. Method of Wear. The following instructions are not intended to detail the method of styling and wearing of hair on the head, of wearing the comb or of winding the turban. Instead they provide sufficient direction to ensure uniformity of dress amongst Sikh members. Accordingly, symbols and associated badges shall be worn as follows:
    1. Turban. Worn in a low, Sikh conventional manner, with the final winding right over left on the forehead. If ribbons are worn, their lower edge shall be 2 cm from the lowest edge of the turban at the sides of the head, and crossed right over left at the centre of the forehead. The ribbons shall be secured on the turban by tucking their ends into the folds at the front and rear;
    2. Cap Badge. Worn centred on the front of the turban and on the crossing point of any ribbons. The badge shall be locally modified to provide a brooch fastener to secure it to the cloth. The cap badge may be removed for safety concerns;
    3. Patka. A traditional Sikh cloth head-covering worn when a turban is not suitable, such as under combat, flying or diving helmets, or during sports or strenuous physical activity see (Figure 2-3-1).
    4. Fiftee (or Pug). Instead of Patka or a Pug, a Fiftee is a small band of cloth that is visible on the forehead just under the Turban;
    5. Kesh (Hair). Members shall wear their hair tied in a knot at the crown of the head, and shall secure the hair of the beard under the chin, presenting a close-to-face, groomed appearance. Members shall wear their hair styled in a bun at the rear of the head to facilitate the proper wearing of Standard CAF headdress;
    6. Kanga (Comb). Worn concealed in the hair;
    7. Kara (Bangle or Bracelet). Worn on the right wrist; and
    8. Kirpan (Dagger). Shall remain sheathed, except for religious occasions and for cleaning purposes. The sheathed kirpan, worn under the outer shirt or jacket, shall be supported by a black cloth sling, slung from the right shoulder to the left side. Should the kirpan interfere with the wearing of uniform accoutrements or equipment, it may be slung from the left shoulder and worn on the right side.


  1. For religious and /or spiritual consideration, members are authorized to wear the hijab, a modified long sleeve shirt in lieu of a short sleeve (SS) shirt in number 3B order of dress, and a modified ankle length Service Dress skirt in lieu of the shorter Service Dress skirt. Hijabs must be worn in consideration of applicable safety standards and will not interfere with the wearing of gas masks, oxygen masks, combat/vehicle/flying or construction helmets, divers’ masks etc. If necessary, members shall modify hairstyles, hijabs or both to allow the proper wearing of these items.
  2. Method of wear
    1. The hijab must be worn in a fashion to permit the correct wearing of CAF head dress and any necessary safety equipment; and
    2. When the CAF long sleeve shirt is worn, the hijab is worn over the collar but under the service dress jacket or sweater and the tie is not worn. When the long sleeve shirt is worn in lieu of the short sleeve shirt in 3B order of dress, the hijab will be worn under the collar and all accoutrements normally worn on the short shirt, including ribbons and Specialist Skill badges, will be worn. All buttons, with the exception of the top button to allow for the hijab to be tucked in, and fasteners will be closed. In this order of dress the hijab will be worn inside the shirt collar. The shirt will be worn outside the skirt or pants.
  3. Specific requirements for wearing of the hijab are as follows:
    1. The hijab must be versatile, comfortable, neat, breathable, and easy to remove. It must also provide the wearer with adequate protection against specific climate and environmental training condition;
    2. The hijab may be two pieces; and
    3. The hijab must adjust to fit the face of the wearer and it must allow for the proper wearing of military headdress, and headgear. The hijab must also conform to the colours and uniformity of the uniforms, DEU and Mess, worn in all environments.
  4. The colour of hijab shall be:
    1. Naval uniform – white;
    2. Army uniform – Canadian average green in Operational Dress, Light Green in Ceremonial/Service Orders of Dress and white in Mess Dress;
    3. Air force uniform – Canadian average green in Operational Dress, RCAF blue in Ceremonial/Service Orders of Dress and white in Mess Dress; and
    4. CANSOFCOM – tan;


  1. For religious and/or spiritual consideration, CAF members of the Jewish faith are authorized, when not wearing military headdress, to wear CADPAT Temperate weather, CADPAT Arid, or an RCN approved kippot with Operational Orders of Dress, and to wear an authorized plain, unpatterned, unadorned, cloth kippot in accordance with elemental headdress materials and colours (black for RCN, green for CA, blue for RCAF, and tan for CANSOFCOM ) with Ceremonial Service and Mess Orders of Dress. Civilian kippot are not authorized for use while in CAF uniform.
  2. The colour of kippot upon removal of headdress shall be:
    1. Naval uniform – white when peaked caps are worn, or navy blue (black) when berets are worn;
    2. Army uniform – dark green/rifle green in Ceremonial/Mess Dress;
    3. Air force uniformRCAF blue in Ceremonial/Mess Dress;
    4. CANSOFCOM – tan;
Various Sikh symbols worn as headdresses or other adornments, including parts of headdresses, such as a pug or ribbon, and including a patka, kesh, kanga (which is a type of comb), kara (which is a type of bracelet) and a kirpan (which is a type of dagger)

Figure 2-3-1 Authorized Sikh Items of Wear

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