A service dog is not a pet and should be considered a medical aid or a piece of medical equipment.
Service dogs are specially trained to assist people with specific tasks relating to visible and non-visible disabilities. Guide dogs are a type of service dog which are trained to assist people who are blind or visually impaired.
Qualified service dogs and qualified guide dogs wear specialized vests or harnesses. These dogs have been extensively trained and have passed rigorous testing standards outlined by the province. These standards are in place to ensure public safety.
According to the Service Dogs Act and the Blind Persons’ Rights Act, people with a disability who use a qualified service dog or guide dog are guaranteed public access rights. This means a qualified service dog team, consisting of the handler with a disability and the service dog, may access any place where the public is allowed, including all City-operated buses, buildings and facilities.
Qualified dogs may be trained by a school associated with Assistance Dogs International, or by a member organization of the International Guide Dog Federation.
Owner-trained dogs may also become qualified service dogs, following training and testing which must meet the Alberta Training Standard. For more information on the process and requirements, please visit the Government of Alberta website.
People with a qualified service dog may be asked to provide government issued identification as proof they are qualified. Service dog owners should carry their ID in public at all times.
Please remember that not all disabilities are visible.
Community Inclusion Coordinator
City of Medicine Hat