There are now two “streams” in the certification of guide dogs (for individuals who are blind or visually impaired) and service dogs (for individuals with other disabilities):
- Dogs and handlers that have been trained at a school accredited by Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation
- All other dogs and handlers
Dogs and handlers from an accredited program undergo a rigorous application process.
The province recognizes that not everyone who requires a guide dog or service dog will be able to acquire one from an accredited school. In order to ensure that these dogs have been trained to a high standard and pose no public safety risk, they will be required to successfully complete an assessment to be offered by the Justice Institute of BC. The handlers will also need to submit a medical form to the ministry, completed and signed by a BC physician or nurse practitioner.
The medical form, developed in consultation with the respective regulatory colleges and professional associations, includes guidelines to assist practitioners who may be asked to complete it as of January 18, 2016.
For more information on the certification of guide dogs and service dogs in BC, click here.