Guide Dog and Service Dog Certification

Guide and service dogs help people with disabilities avoid hazards or perform tasks. Guide dogs help people with visual impairments while service dogs help people with other kinds of disabilities such as hearing impairments and epilepsy. They can help a person navigate through public areas, alert them to sounds, open doors and do other tasks. British Columbia’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Act and regulation govern how guide and service dogs and their handlers are certified. Certification increases public safety, raises training standards and improves public access for dog and handler teams.

There are two ways to be certified:

  1. Receive a trained dog from an accredited school
  2. Pass a public safety test

Training and testing ensures only dogs who behave well in a variety of environments are certified.

See Guide Dog & Service Dog Team Certification and Trainer & Retired Dog Certification for more information.

GDSDA Protection for Teams from ADI/IGDF Accredited Schools

All guide and service dog teams with valid identification cards issued by training schools accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) and Assistance Dogs International (ADI), regardless of Province or country of issue, are considered to be certified under the GDSDA.

These teams no longer need to make a formal application for a certificate to the GDSDA Registrar to receive the protections under the legislation.

Guide and service dog teams holding valid identification cards from accredited training schools may still choose to apply for the GDSDA certificate.

Visitors to British Columbia

Certification under the GDSDA is voluntary. Valid guide and service dog teams exist outside of the GDSDA certification process. Persons with disabilities, including visitors from outside of the province, who rely on a guide or service dog, are protected from discrimination under the BC Human Rights Code and have an equal right to access and use of all public places and services.

Visitors who wish to apply for the GDSDA certification can find more information at Guide Dog & Service Dog Team Certification

Other Support Animals

Therapy and emotional support animals, including dogs, are not eligible for certification.