The Rights of Certified Dog & Handler Teams
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)
Under the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, certified dog and handler teams have the same rights as people not accompanied by dogs.
Provided the dog is well-behaved, a team cannot be denied access to:
- Restaurants and cafes
- Buses and taxis
- Hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts
- All other businesses
- Any public place
Strata bylaws and rental terms prohibiting or restricting pets do not apply to certified guide and service dogs.
The Rights of Guide and Service Dogs-in-Training
Dogs being trained by Assistance Dogs International or International Guide Dog Federation accredited schools are eligible for dog-in-training certification. This certification allows them to train in public places when they are accompanied by a certified dog trainer.
Strata bylaws and rental terms prohibiting or restricting pets apply to certified dogs-in-training.
If You are Denied Service
If a business denies you service, show your dog and handler or dog-in-training certificate. Refer the owners to the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act and tell them how your dog helps you. They may not know how guide and service dogs assist people with disabilities.
If you are still denied service, report the business to Security Programs. If we find the denial was unlawful, we may:
- Educate the business
- Write a formal warning
- Issue a violation ticket or fine
A person convicted of denying access to a certified dog and handler team or a certified dog-in-training faces a fine of up to $3,000.
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.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act makes it an offense to interfere with or harm a guide or service dog. A conviction may result in a fine or violation ticket.