New CAF dress code guidelines set beard length – to the centimetre

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to clarify the CAF guidelines apply to members’ hair accessories.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is limiting the length of soldiers’ beards, the colour of members’ hair accessories and allowable hair styles, in an update to the Forces’ dress code.

The change clarifies and, in some instances, reverses policy implemented in 2022 to make the uniforms “more inclusive and less prohibitive and to allow CAF members increased freedom to make personal choices regarding their appearance,” according to the update.

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The press release states “while the changes have had many positive effects, there has been inconsistent interpretation and application.”

“We observed that the previous language had created ambiguity,” about the length of hair, a Department of National Defence spokesperson said in a statement to Global News.

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Hair extending below the lower portion of the shirt collar must be tied back away from the face.

Facial hair must be no more than 2.5 centimetres in length and bulk for any style, and hair accessories such as bobby pins must be black or a similar colour to the member’s hair.

And CAF members with a religious or spiritual accommodation will have it recorded in their personnel file instead having to request it at the start of new postings or transfers.

The new policy was posted in early June and takes effect on July 2.

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