Canada's Liberal government has abandoned a court challenge that sought to require women to remove their niqabs, face coverings worn by some Muslim women, during citizenship ceremonies.

The previous Conservative government had asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal of a ruling that said it was unlawful to prohibit women from wearing a face covering at a citizenship ceremony.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government argued it was important for new citizens to show their face at the moment they become Canadian.

The Liberals accused the Conservatives of using the niqab as a distraction and a wedge issue during the recent federal election campaign.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Immigration Minister John McCallum say the court application has been discontinued.