The Rights & Responsibilities of Businesses & the Public
In an effort to increase education and awareness surrounding guide dogs and service dogs in British Columbia, the Security Programs Division has developed a brochure: GDSD Brochure (PDF)
You must take reasonable steps to accommodate people with disabilities. This includes people with guide dogs and service dogs.
The Guide Dog and Service Dog Act makes it an offense to deny a certified dog and handler team access or accommodation. A person convicted of the offense faces a fine of up to $3,000.
What you can expect
It is reasonable for you to expect a guide or service dog to be:
- Free of offensive odours
It is also reasonable to expect the guide or service dog to be well behaved. In other words, it must not:
- Be aggressive or put others at risk
- Damage property
- Seek attention or food
- Run freely or urinate or defecate in inappropriate areas
- Disrupt business
- Bark or growl without reason
You can also expect to see certified dogs-in-training with their trainers. Certification allows dogs to train in public places provided they are accompanied by a certified dog trainer.
Certified dogs-in-training and their trainers have most of the same access rights as certified dogs and handler teams.
However, strata bylaws and rental terms prohibiting or restricting pets apply to certified dogs-in-training.
Certified Retired Guide and Service Dogs
Retired guide and service dogs may continue to live with their handlers and are issued a separate certificate.
Certified retired dogs do not have access to restaurants, buses, hotels or other public places granted to working guide dogs and service dogs under the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act.
However, certification permits them to continue living with their handlers regardless of strata bylaws or rental conditions prohibiting pets.
You can allow non-certified guide and service dogs, dogs-in-training and pets onto your premises unless you sell, prepare or serve food.
The Food Premises Regulation restricts access to places that sell, prepare or serve food to guide or service dog teams with government-issued certificates.
What you can do
Dog and handler teams carrying government certificates are well trained and often assessed. You can ask for the handler's government certificate if you have concerns.
If the dog is misbehaving after you have talked with the handler, you can require them to leave.
Additionally, the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act makes it an offense to represent a dog as belonging to a guide or service dog team when it does not. A person convicted of the offense faces a fine of up to $3,000.
Making Complaints and Reporting Offenses
To make a complaint about the behaviour of a certified dog and handler team or to report that a dog was represented as a member of a certified team when it was not, submit a Complaint Form (PDF) to Security Programs.