The Rights of Certified Dog and Handler Teams
Certification under the GDSDA is voluntary. Valid guide and service dog teams exist outside of the GDSDA certification process. Persons with disabilities who rely on a guide or service dog that is certified with other authorities, or is not certified, have an equal right to access and use of public services and places and rental or strata housing, and are protected under the BC Human Rights Code.
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
The GDSDA dog-in-training certification has been cancelled. Employees and volunteers training dogs for ADI or IGDF accredited schools are no longer required to apply for dog-in-training certification allowing them to train dogs in public places. They only need to apply for the dog trainer certification.
For more information read the Public Information to Support Accessibility for People with Disabilities Who Use a Guide or Service Dog.
If You are Denied Service
If you are denied service, you can make a complaint against the business or person to Security Programs.
A business or person found to have denied 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 offence to represent a dog as belonging to a guide or service dog team when it does not. A person convicted of the offence faces a fine of up to $3,000.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act makes it an offence to interfere with or harm a guide or service dog. A conviction may result in a fine or violation ticket.