Ministry of Justice

Guide Dog and Service Dog Certification

Guide and service dogs help people who require assistance to avoid hazards or to perform tasks.  Guide dogs assist people with visual impairment while service dogs provide a variety of assistance to people with other kinds of disabilities (e.g. hearing impairment, epilepsy, etc).  A guide/service dog can help a person to negotiate through public areas, alert a person when hearing a sound, or perform service tasks like opening doors.

Under the current legislation, the Guide Animal Act, a person with a disability accompanied by a certified guide/service dog has the same rights, privileges and obligations as a person not accompanied by a dog – specifically, they may enter and use an accommodation, public transportation, eating place, lodging place or any other place to which the public is invited. Dogs are the only type of animal that can be certified under the Act.

On March 12, 2015, government introduced a new Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, which will modernize BC’s guide and service dog program and will be in force later in 2015. For more information, see news release and the Questions and Answers regarding the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act (to be in force later in 2015).

Obtain Certification - current legislation

To obtain certification (Guide Animal Certificate) under the Guide Animal Act, your guide/service dog must be trained by a training facility that has been approved by the Ministry. While regulations are being developed to support the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, the Ministry will only be certifying new dog and handler teams that have been trained by schools accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI), the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), or by schools previously approved by the Ministry.

Upon successful completion of the program, the training facility will provide a graduation certificate to you. Send a copy of this graduation certificate to the Ministry of Justice, Security Programs Division (SPD). See the Contacts page for the SPD’s information. Upon verification of the certificate, the SPD will issue a driver's licence-sized Guide Animal Certificate that can be shown if any questions arise when using public transportation or entering an establishment with your dog.

New procedures will be in place once the new Guide Dog and Service Dog Act is in force later in 2015.