Gateway Gazette

Government Increases Access to Service Dogs

The new Service Dogs Qualifications Regulation will allow more schools to train qualified service dogs, giving more Albertans opportunities to find a job, attend school and participate in their communities.

Premier and Minister Sabir greet Ellie

The Government of Alberta is supporting the safety and inclusion of Albertans who rely on service dogs by developing provincial standards and a qualified list of training schools that will increase access to qualified service dogs.

Approved organizations on the qualified list will train and test service dogs based on the new standards. Service dogs previously trained at schools or by their owners can take a test administrated by a school on the qualified list to become a qualified service dog in Alberta.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to contribute to their community and build better lives for themselves and the people they love. We are working to make life better for Albertans with disabilities by ensuring they have access to service dogs so they can live safe, inclusive lives in their communities.”

Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta

“I’ve heard from many Albertans with disabilities that qualified service dogs make a real difference in their day-to-day lives, and contribute to emotional and psychological wellbeing of those who rely on them. The new Service Dogs Qualifications Regulation will increase access to service dogs so that more Albertans will have the support of these life-changing companions.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

In order to build and expand capacity for service dog training and testing in Alberta, $250,000 will be shared among six organizations to pilot the qualified list process. This also includes training and mentoring services from National Service Dogs, a school specializing in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder dog training.

Quick facts

  • The new regulation is in effect April 1, 2017.
  • The training pilot will run from April – August 2017.
  • Organizations selected for the pilot include: Hope Heels Service Dog Team Building Institute, Alpha K9 Canada, St. John Ambulance, Pacific Assistance Dogs Society, Omega Service Dog Testing & Consulting and Dogs with Wings Society Assistance Dog Society.
  • The qualified list for training and testing organizations is scheduled to open in August 2017.

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