Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Quebec to allow hijabs for correctional officers

Muslim Women in headdresses pass a church on multi-ethnic in Montreal.

IAN BARRETT/The Globe and Mail

Quebec will allow its correctional officers to wear hijabs — the traditional Muslim headscarf that does not cover the face.

The government will also provide the item of clothing to those who want it.

The decision stems from a settlement reached between the Public Security Department and the provincial human rights commission following a discrimination complaint filed by a Montreal muslim in 2007.

Story continues below advertisement

The commission found that regulations governing uniforms worn by correctional officers, who guard jails and courthouses, are discriminatory.

The Opposition Parti Quebecois criticized the decision, calling it crazy.

PQ spokeswoman Carole Poirier wants to know if allowing the hijab will open the door to wearing a niqab or a burka, which leaves only a slit for the eyes.

She pointed out the Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodation of cultural communities had recommended that police and corrections officers not wear any religious symbols to preserve neutrality.

Marie-Eve Labranche, a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Kathleen Weil, denies there's any contradiction with a law passed in 2010 saying people giving services must do so with their face visible.

Ms. Labranche says the government can't stop people from wearing religious symbols because it would violate the provincial and federal charters of rights.

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to