Skip to main content

WestJet debuts new, gender neutral uniforms with name tag space for pronouns

WestJet workers are getting a new look as the airline revamps its uniforms with an eye to gender inclusivity.

The Calgary-based carrier says the new blue pantsuits, skirts and dresses with teal accents are meant to be gender neutral, so workers can select the uniform that is most authentic and comfortable to them.

"We have a lot of people who are part of the spectrum and I think it’s very important for people to present themselves as they are by wearing the uniform they want to wear so they can comfortable at work and be confident about who they are," said Jody Tamuyao, a transgender flight attendant with Westjet.

She added, "when I look my best and feel great about myself, I do better at work."

The uniforms also include redesigned name tags with space for staff to denote which pronouns they prefer people use when addressing them.


Instead of selecting items from a "men's" or "women's" category, the uniforms are part of two collections called "Lakes" or "Rocky Mountain."

"We really wanted to open people's ability to express themselves authentically and who they are," said Leah McDonald, director of training and uniforms.

"It's really, what collection do I feel best in and really can express myself," added McDonald.

Some of the collection remains form-fitting with traditional lines, while some updated pieces have a looser fit with stretchy fabrics and functional components like added pockets.


The redesign comes five years after WestJet updated its uniform guidelines to take on a genderless approach that encourages staff to wear whatever pieces resonate most with individual workers, and four years after an external design team was acquired.

The uniforms were designed by Project Runway Australia winner Juli Grbac with input from frontline airline workers and the teal accent is meant to be a nod to the company's 26-year history.

Along with the new uniforms, WestJet has updated its policies to allow staff to showcase visible tattoos while at work, a move welcomed by some Indigenous cabin crew.

"I guess it's better late than never but its a step and its a step in the right direction that we need to take, and all organizations in Canada need to really work on the decolonization of what they expect of their people," said a WestJet employee who wished to only be referred to as Lindsay.

She later added, "it has been a journey to make it a reality but I'm really happy and proud that I get to do it finally."


The Canada Research Chair for the public understanding of sexual and gender minority youth at MacEwan University says WestJet is demonstrating its commitment to diversity.

"It's more than just uniforms. It's also about the kind of policies, the kind of culture that you're creating, and the kind of workforce that you're also trying to attract," said Kristopher Wells, who is also an associate professor.

He added, "WestJet is signaling, they want to be an employer of choice where people can come and they can bring their full selves to work, and that benefits everyone."

Wells added that its also important for the move came from an Alberta-based airline, as the province is often considered conservative.

"Without a doubt, they're going to face some significant backlash to this decision, but they're doing the right thing," said Wells.


Other Canadian airlines say they are also not enforcing gender-specific uniforms for staff.

In a statement to CTV News, the Air Canada Media Team says:

“Air Canada champions diversity and inclusion. As such, Air Canada already has uniform standards that are gender inclusive."

It continued, "uniformed employees are encouraged to use our internal uniform catalogue to access any items in the inventory, including those that had been traditionally associated with a specific gender. In other words, this allows frontline employees to mix and match uniform pieces in a manner that is affirming of their gender identity.”


WestJet officials say 10,000 employees around the world will begin wearing uniforms from the new collection.

With files from the Canadian Press Top Stories

Stay Connected