CAF announces tattoo policy changes 

Tattoos are now only prohibited on the face and scalp, with accommodations being made for religious or cultural reasons, according to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)’s updated tattoo policy for its members.

Issued on Aug. 12, the policy also stated that exceptions will also be made for cosmetic tattoos that are natural-looking in shape and colour.

However, the CAF is still adamant regarding certain restrictions on tattoos. The restrictions include any tattoo that displays a connection with criminal activity, nudity or promotes or expresses hatred, violence, discrimination, or harassment on the grounds prohibited by the Canadian Human Rights Act.

“As the Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer, I’m always observing who we are as a force and how well we are reflecting those we serve. Tattoos are more and more mainstream in Canada and that’s what this policy update is all about. Greater control over your personal appearance is good for the morale of our people and it helps us attract future members to our team.  Chief Warrant Officer Guimond


“As part of the CAF leadership, I’m proud of how we are modernizing our work culture and we will continue to do so,” said Chief Warrant Officer Guimond.

The policy of years prior included tattoos that were “visible either in military uniform or in civilian clothing that could be deemed to be offensive (e.g., pornographic, blasphemous, racist or containing vulgar language or design) or otherwise reflect discredit on the CAF,” were banned. 

According to the Department of National Defence, these changes were made in an effort to attract, recruit and train individuals and to reflect mainstream Canadian society’s acceptance of tattoos.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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