One Montrealer's attempt to renew his daughter's Medicare card has him suspecting that Quebec bureaucrats are becoming overzealous in enforcing rules governing headwear.

On Friday, Carlos Rodriguez and his daughter Miranda went to the Cote des Neiges CLSC carrying a professionally-shot ID photo, in the aims of renewing a Medicare card.

But the photo was rejected by a clerk on the grounds that young Miranda had been photographed wearing a small headband, “When we got there, the person made some sort of gesture that this picture would not be accepted on the grounds that she was wearing some kind of religious head gear,” said father Carlos Rodriguez.

“She refused the picture because there's a headband.”

The headband has no religious significance and is a type commonly worn by girls and women.

The clerk eventually told Rodriguez that she could accept the photo but warned him that the government would likely refuse to issue a Medicare card with that image.

“She said, ‘I will take it but you will probably get a refusal letter, meaning you will have to reapply and do the whole thing over.’ At that point I took the application back and went back to the pharmacy and they agreed to take the picture over again,” he said.

New guidelines issued on December 9 declare that, “Decorative head accessories are accepted if they do not cast a shadow over or reflect on the face, and if they do not alter the shape of the face or head.”

And religious head coverings can be allowed, according to another clause: “No hat or head cover can be worn, other than for religious or medical reasons. In such cases, the entire face must be clearly visible and the head cover must not cast any shadow over the face.”

Quebec’s RAMQ medical authority told CTV Montreal that it could not comment on the individual case but said that its new photo specifications are similar to the those described by the International Civil Aviation Organization for travel documents.

In the meantime, Rodriguez took his daughter for another photo and resubmitted her application.

Rodriguez said he wants others to be forewarned about the possible consequences of wearing even a small and unremarkable item in such a photo.