New Regulations for Guide and Service Dogs
Prince George, B.C. – Provincial legislation that modernizes guide dog and service dog guidelines in B.C. comes into effect this week. It will mean higher training standards and improved accessibility to public spaces and strata properties.
The Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, which becomes law on Monday, gives certified guide or service dog handlers access rights equal to those enjoyed by all members of the public. The act updates guide dog and service dog guidelines, by:
- Expanding tenancy rights to include strata properties and certified retired dogs residing with their handlers.
- Providing public access rights for certified dogs in training.
- Recognizing service dogs in addition to guide dogs.
- Requiring a high training standard.
- Improving the process for certification.
- Strengthening compliance and enforcement.
Starting tomorrow dog handlers will be able to submit certification applications to the Security Programs Division of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Once these applications are processed, handlers seeking certification for guide and service dogs that were not trained by an accredited school will be able to have their dogs tested by the Justice Institute of BC.
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor-General Mike Morris says the act “is one more step toward making B.C. the most progressive province in the country for people with disabilities. These certification changes will enable people who rely on a guide or service dog to enjoy the same protected rights and opportunities as every citizen.”