BC’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Announcement

British Columbia’s new Guide Dog and Service Dog Act will come into force on January 18, 2016.  Corresponding changes to the Strata Property Act will also come into force on January 18, 2016.

That means that strata owners, occupants, tenants and visitors will be able to have their certified guide dog or service dog on strata premises, regardless of tenancy agreements or strata bylaws restricting or banning pets. Owners, occupants and tenants will also be able to keep their certified retired guide dog or service dog with them, including after a new dog has been certified to take over its duties. This acknowledges the bond between a handler and their retired guide dog or service dog.

According to the Ministry of Justice, in order to be certified, a guide dog or service dog will need to demonstrate that it meets a high training standard for public safety. Once the new program is in place, efforts will be made to provide certified handlers and trainers with standard provincial identification.

For more information please visit https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2015JAG0296-002012 or http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/guideanimal/index.htm

Also note that BC human rights legislation may still apply even if a dog is not certified, so where dogs are uncertified, strata corporations should consider seeking legal advice specific to their situation.

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