Updated: Sep 21, 2016

School Uniforms Becoming More Popular in Canada - Are You on Board?

School Uniforms - Yes or No?

School uniforms are popular in the U.S. and across the pond - but not so much in Canada yet. For the most part you'll only find the mandate for uniforms in independent private schools, Catholic schools and high schools, as well as Quebec. While uniforms still remain scarce in public high schools and elementary schools, you may start seeing them becoming mandatory in the near future. Are you on board with the idea of school uniforms?

Uniforms seem to have their pros and cons. As they roll out into more schools, I am sure it will be quite a controversial topic. The benefits are many, but some parents and educators have voiced their concerns as well. Which side of the fence will you be on?

The potential benefits that school uniforms can bring:

  1. Increase Confidence: Students will no longer be worried about their clothing style or brand names, so they can build their self-esteem from the inside instead.
  2. Hide Any Income Differences: Not every set of parents makes the same amount of money, and without uniforms it is easy to tell who comes from a wealthy family. With uniforms, that is one less thing for the students to worry about.
  3. Less Distraction, More Learning: Students can focus less on who is wearing what, and more on who is learning what. With less distractions in the class room, the hope is that students can focus more on their educational matters.
  4. Keep Outsiders Out: When all the students are wearing uniforms, it is super simple and quick to identify an outsider who could potentially be dangerous for our children.
  5. Decrease Weapon Risks: It is much harder to sneak in weapons, drugs, or anything unwanted when a student is wearing a uniform.
  6. Save Time: Students and caregivers will spend less than half the amount of time in the mornings picking clothing - I mean, you only have so much to choose from with a uniform and you don't have to worry about matching.

The potential downside to having students wear a school uniform:

  1. Less Freedom and Expression: A lot of a child's expression and freedom are expressed in what they wear. With a uniform, students lose their sense of self when it comes to styles.
  2. Expensive: Many say that uniforms save money because you are no longer buying designer clothes. But think of it this way: Instead of just buying designer clothes for school, you are now buying uniforms as well as designer clothes for outside of school.
  3. Band-Aid: Parents have expressed that uniforms are merely a band-aid solution for bullying and violent items.
  4. Hide Red Flags: Some children will express their feelings with what they wear. For example, if they are intending to do something wrong, they may wear a baggy black hoody with the hood pulled over their head. With uniforms, it is how to tell how students are feeling based on their clothing.
  5. No Stats: As of now, uniforms have not been statistically proven to reduce bullying, violence or even promote discipline.

If you are sending the kids off to a school that requires a uniform, there are a few Canadian retailers that sell such a thing. You can shop at Old Navy, Gap and Sears for some uniform pieces, although some schools have a specific supplier that you must order from. It is best to find out from your child's school before making any of these purchases.

In my personal opinion, uniforms by themselves will not make schools better. I think if uniforms were used in combination with a supportive school that already pursues high standards and great academic performance, then they would be a great addition.

How do you feel about school uniforms becoming more popular in Canada?


  • Gina W.

    My kids wear uniforms. There are definitely pros and cons. I absolutely hate the cost. We have to buy from one uniform supplier. If you don't like how the pants fit or how heavy the shirt is, too bad. And it is crazy expensive. $30 for a polo shirt, seriously! We need polo shirts, their pants plus a dress uniform that varies by age and sex. Ties, dress shirts, vests, tartan jumper/skort/skirt. Costs $100's. I buy all other clothes on sale and the uniforms cost stresses me out! And like the article says we need clothes outside of school, so there are still name brand clothes in our house!

    • Bargainmoose

      That is exactly what I was thinking! Thanks for letting us know how you feel :)

    • Rose C.

      I agree it is crazy the cost..

    • Deb S.

      I'm from Australia now in Saskatchewan. I had uniforms and LOVED them.. Took the pressure off wearing "the right" clothes. We had "civvies" (civilian) clothing days every month in high school... THAT was hard enough to chose clothes. Uniforms makes you feel you belong!! Your personality shines rather than your clothes!!!!! You are not a drone, you are part of a team! I WISH uniforms were here!!

    • Belinda C.

      I love the idea of uniforms, but believe the first full uniform should be paid for and given to all families, just like a work uniform

  • Steven D.

    Let's show our kids that individualism is wrong. Cookie cutter life style is the way to go.

    • Amanda N.

      I enjoy your sarcasm.

    • Deb S.

      Do you see how kids dress? The same name brand shirts, same shorts... They are already dressing alike anyway. Your personality doesn't evaporate by wearing a uniform!!

  • Brooke L.

    I think they're great. Everyone appears the same unless they want them to know otherwise.

  • Colleen O.

    Yes I like it

  • Amanda N.

    My kids don't go to a school with uniforms. The Catholic high schools have them but in our area not the public. I think that clothing and in general your overall appearance should be individual at that formative age. School is already so controlling in so many ways. Plus something really bothers me about everyone being dressed the same. It's just weird. Like the army. Or working at Micky D's....

    • Sean P.

      I loved waking up and knowing what I was going to ware... and know one got made fun of because we all had the same outfit on...lol

  • Sophie B.

    Hate them hate them hate them... might as well tell our kids to just become little robots and fit in the little box that is being prefabricated for them.

  • Sarah W.

    Dictation!!! Kids should be able to express themselves!

  • Julia P.


  • Rakhshinda Y.

    I would definitely love to buy uniforms for my kids I personally don't like casual wearing in school

  • Emelyn P.

    My kids wore uniforms in elementary. We actually save money compared to buying dress down clothes. Sweaters with school logo can be worn for years. Golf shirts dont hAve to have a logo but the pants need to be bought from one supplier. End of the year parents sell used uniforms but most just give them away when outgrown. They have dress downs when you do fundraisers for local charities but dress downs are encouraged to be play clothes not flashy.

  • Brian D.

    Typical of socialist philosophy. If a postal worker wears a uniform I guess children of a citizenry owned by its government should wear clothing not of their own choosing.

  • Sheils A.

    I've been through both public school (no uniform) & now, independent school (with uniform). I totally prefer the uniform. No arguments in the am about what to wear, what's appropriate, what's not. Uniforms don't make them drones, Ir allows them to express their individuality with their personalities rather than the clothes they wear. Isn't that what we try & teach our children . Never judge a book by its cover?! It's what's inside that counts?!

    • Emelyn P.

      Mark Zuckerberg wears the same clothes every day. one less thing to worry about. More time to deal with other more important issues than outfits. I feel the same way about uniforms and no one feels bad about wearing "last year's style", either.

  • Leanne K.

    I grew up in SA, and we always had uniforms, it's so much easier, and there is no discrimination as to girls wearing revealing clothes or shorts too short. I think it saves money in the long run, you can purchase uniforms from previous students! UNIFORMS ALL THE WAY! :blush:

  • Karen G.

    As a teacher, I can see pros and cons. The school and community I am in is showing increasing income disparity every year, and I cringe when I see kids in $120 jeans... And others in thread-bare fleece. Uniforms might assuage the sting of that?? But then again, young people need to learn to discern what is appropriate clothing for what occasion... Having their own choices allows them to learn what one should wear to your place of work(school) , what to wear to watch Netflix, and what to wear to the beach. It's not judgemental... It's just figuring it out. It's fine to be individual... But we need common sense, too. Person I know was looking to hire a new assistant for her insurance business... And a twenty-something showed up for the interview in pajama pants... Um... No... Just... No.

  • Billie L.

    The cost is ridiculous. 45 for black pants and 30+ for polos, and God help you if your kids are growing at a rapid pace. You spend hundreds of dollars. The only one it benefits is the supplier.

  • Sandy B.

    From what I can see from our local Catholic school it's no longer a uniform but a wardrobe. They just dictate where you can buy it ! I wonder if the school gets a kickback from the companies they allow to use their logo?

  • Brenda M.

    We wore school uniforms and even the poor kids didn't look different

  • Melissa C.

    Id be happy with it. Our town has bunches of small shops that sell authorized used uniforms. It would help immensely with budget, as my kids play stuff woulf last longer, not as much "need" for expensive brands, it cuts down on time needed to get dressed daily, and my kids have some sensory issues due to ASD, so it would be great to tell them "you don't have a choice but to wear this exact item." And have them just do it. Sometimes my kiddo takes hours to get dressed and it sucks. And I do believe uniformity cuts down on class/social issues like who the poor kid is... Etc. I'm all for it.

  • Tanya N.

    I love the idea of uniforms however, I do not like the fact that their are never more than 2 pant style choices, 1 skirt choice, long or short sleeve of the same Polo Shirt, one short style with logo far down leg, 1 Capri style again with logo far down the leg, etc. Kids who do not fit into the pattern mold have a very hard time. Example: My daughter is super short...that means no shorts and no Capri so she's over heating in the warmer months with pants and thick skirts. The logo rule has to go or they need to place them somewhere high so the hemming can be done properly. Example: girls who are very thin will always look strange in the pants due to the cuts and inability to hem the pant legs in. Like I said, love the uniform idea but hate some of the 'rules' surrounding them. And sometimes the price does outweigh the quality...

  • Stacey S.

    I've experienced both for my kids and I have to say that the uniform was challenging. The fabrics were not comfortable for my kids but they had no choice. I think uniforms need to be full of choices too - maybe a sweats option as well as the dressy option for kids that have fabric issue like mine. I think kids need to be comfortable at school whether they are in uniform or not.

  • Janice D.


  • Tannis M.

    When I was child I would have hated a uniform and being told what to wear BUT I never had to do so who knows. As a mother I wish that my kids had to do a uniform. Mornings are a nightmare. Kids pick on each others clothing choices, they all want the expensive brand names and they chaange their mind often. One day its cool that night they'll never wear it again. I would say uniforms for school and in the evening and weekends they can express themselves how they want. My oldest has stood in front of her closet and cried bacause she doesn't know what to pick and then we are late.

  • Joan C.

    I grew up wearing uniforms, grade school, high school and then nursing school. For and for about 20 of my 40 years as a nurse, I continued to wear a uniform, as my staff does now. While the initial cost of uniforms can be pricey it's usually because they are well made, wash well and stand up for years. They can and were traded in my experience between us all as sizes changed making them very economical. It was the great equalizer for me in high school. On rare 'civie' days were everyone could wear individual clothes you could absolutely tell rich from poor but otherwise we were all the same. And talk of stifling individualism is unnecessary fear mongering, my class mates and myself grew up to be independent, successful and happy people. I certainly would recommend them.

  • Tanya B.

    I think uniforms are for people who want to be sheeple and are full of cons. The uniform companies make a ton of money off of everyone who has to buy them. Their prices are ridiculous

  • Amy S.


  • Amy S.

    With knee length skirts otherwise what's the pount

  • Heena H.

    Uniforms are great:) no arguments no fights no complaints from school, no competition, no apparel related bullying. Everyone looks the same and kids can focus on learning.

  • Nicki I.


  • Nancy M.

    No, I want to be with the kool kids.

  • Sharon M.

    nope were is individuality and im not up for paying for over priced clothing just so teachers and schools dont have to do their jobs and actually look after kids and make sure they dont get into altercations because of what they wear.

  • Brandon R.

    I think it's stupid, first your told when to talk then your told what you can or can't bring for food and now your being told how to dress.....it's a good thing my kids don't have to deal with this whole dress code crap because I can tell you they would hate every second of it and not only that but I am not paying for something that should be automatically supplied at no cost!

  • Christine F.

    I prefer to see kids wearing what they get to choose. Looks better too. I think most kids would agree.

  • Howie M.

    who says theyre popular

  • Suzanne M.

    School uniforms all the way!

  • Gail G.

    My daughter has been wearing one since grade 1 and I hate it to expensive and ugly. I hope the public high schools don't do it.

  • HollyJ

    i would support the school uniform. I wore a school uniform until grade 9. Our's was more generic and not from a particular company. Based on the school colours; purple and white. We wore black pants and white or purple polo shirt (logo free) and black shoes. Everyone dressed the same. The focus was on school work.Then the uniform was voted out and the focus shifted. I came from a lower income family and not having nice clothes to wear to school became stressful and I worried more about what to wear than I did about my studies. Several of us were the brunt of ridicule and avoidance because our attire couldn't compare to the 'well to do kids'.   

  • PGordon

    I would love it if my kids school's had uniforms. I worked in a public school that went to uniforms and since it was an economically challenged area, students wore navy pants or skirts with a white collared shirt. If they could not afford more than one school crest, they pinned it to their shirt of the day. Economical, and it made it easy to spot people who did not belong in this very large school.  Uniforms also lessen the "haves" and "have nots" division which exists in every school. 

    As for individualism coming from clothes, I feel that children can be taught that they are not the things they wear or own. Their individuality is the sum of their character and their ideas which can be expressed regardless of the clothes on their back. 

What do you think?

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