Famous for their broad-brimmed brown Stetsons, members of Canada's Mountie police will be able to don another piece of headwear after approval was given for the hijab.

The commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police gave the go-ahead for the head covering in a bid to encourage Muslim women to join the force after a similar policy had been adopted in Toronto and Edmonton.

A spokesman for Ralph Goodale, Canada's public safety minister, told Canada's CBC broadcaster: "The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a progressive and inclusive police service that values and respects persons of all cultural and religious backgrounds."

They have already tested the safety standards of a uniform hijab.

There were protests after regulations surrounding the uniform were modified in 1990 to allow a Sikh immigrant to serve as a Mounty in a turban.

Founded in 1920, the Mounties' uniform of a red tunic, full riding boots and a Stetson stem from what was worn by British soldiers in the 19<sup>th century. The red was meant to differentiate them from Americans, whose soldiers wore blue.

Meanwhile earlier in the week, the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau ruled out a ban on the burkini, the item of full-body swimwear that has sparked considerable controversy in France.

"In Canada, can we speak of acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding? It is about where we are going and what we are going through every day in our diverse and rich communities," Trudeau said.

French resort towns have banned women from wearing burkinis.