Friday, May 29, 2015

BC Government Answers to Questions about Service and Assistance Dogs

A new document has been posted on the Ministry of Justice website. The new legislation has passed three readings but has not yet become law. It is expected that later in 2015, it will.

The current regulations are still posted at the top of the page. Look at the second section with the blue heading for the NEW information.

BC Ministry of Justice webpage

There is some good news for owner-trained service dogs!

Good News!

Service and Assistance dogs are not required to be certified in BC but it is still recommended. This applies to both residents and visitors.

It appears like those individuals/organizations who are authorized to recommend the certification to the government will not have to be affiliated with ADI or IGDF. Designated third parties (who can test owner-trained and recommend certification of owner-trained and out-of-province dogs) will be revealed by the government at a later date.

There is a higher penalty for fakers (people who claim their dog is a service dog but is really a pet, therapy or emotional support dog.) Police officers will be authorized to issue fines to publically-accessible location who deny access if the service dog team has a valid BC ID card.

More effort will be made in educating retail, housing and transportation providers about the laws.

Bad News: 

If you visit a public place with an uncertified dog, there may be delays in allowing you access with your service dog as they have a right to question you as ask for proof that your dog is a trained service dog.

In the case of access difficulty for people with service dogs, if it goes to court, only those with certified dogs will be supported by BC laws and it will be up to owners of non-certified service and assistance dogs to prove that their dog meets the standards. However, their lack of access issue would still be valid under the Canadian Human Right Code.