Service Dogs In Alberta

service dogs in alberta
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What Are Service Dogs?

Let’s dive right in and learn about service dogs in Alberta. Service Dogs help people with specific tasks relating to visible and non-visible disabilities. Just a few examples of the things a Service Dog can help people with are epilepsy, PTSD, diabetes and mobility limitations.

What Are Guide Dogs?

  • Guide dogs are specifically trained to assist people who are blind, have low vision, or are visually impaired.
  • Guide dogs and qualified service dogs have been trained and tested to ensure safety in public.
  • By law, qualified service dog teams have the right to access any location where the public is allowed.

Service Dog Identification Card in Alberta

Service dogs in Alberta Require an ID Card (FREE)

In Alberta, Service Dogs with their person are allowed to access public places, but they must have an Alberta Service Dog Identification Card (No fee to get the ID card).

When you’re in public with your Service Dog, you should always carry your ID Card with you. This verifies that you and your Service Dog have protected public access rights in Alberta.

Each ID card has:

Service Dog Identification Card in Alberta
  • the name of the handler and dog
    • a photo of the handler and dog
    • a validation number
    • a date of expiration

Eligibility for Service Dog ID Card

You can apply for your Service Dogs in Alberta ID Card if you have a Service Dog that has:

  • passed an assessment from one of Alberta’s approved service dog providers, graduated from a program accredited by Assistance Dogs International, or
  • been qualified by an organization contracted by a provincial or territorial government in Canada to train or assess service dogs to standards equivalent to the Alberta Training Standard

If your service dog does not have one of these qualifications, you can apply to have your service dog assessed.

Assistance Dogs International

How to Apply For a Service Dog ID Card

When you meet the qualifications, you can:

Apply online for an ID card or request an application form by contacting the Service Dog Assessment team at 780-427-9136 or  servicedogs@gov.ab.ca

There is no fee for the card.

Apply for a card

Photo Requirements for Service Dog ID Card

You need to submit a photo of you with your Service Dog.

Your assessor or trainer may be able to take your photo and submit it on your behalf.

Your photo must follow these guidelines:

  • Must clearly show you with your Service Dog
  • No other dogs or people in the photo
  • You must be facing the camera
  • Your face must be clear and visible.
  • The image must be a close-up portrait format
Photo Requirements for Service Dog ID Card

After You Apply

It will take about 2 weeks for your official Identification Card to arrive in the mail.

Contact

To connect with the Service Dog Assessment Team:

Phone: 780-427-9136 (Edmonton)
Toll free in Alberta: dial 310-0000, then the phone number
Email: servicedogs@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Service Dog Assessment Team
Community and Social Services
3rd Floor Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4R7

Service Dogs in Alberta – Public Access Rights

Remember to carry your Service Dog ID card with you at all times when in public.

Under the law, a qualified service dog team has their rights to access public spaces.

Service Dogs in Alberta - Public Access Rights

The right to public access means that a service dog team has the right to go anywhere the public is allowed to go, including:

  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • retail stores
  • movie theatres
  • golf courses
  • schools
  • pet-restricted apartments or condos
  • hospitals
  • taxis and buses
  • places of worship
  • all other public areas

*This does not apply to non-public areas such as food preparation areas, sterile hospital rooms or restricted access areas.

If other people are present who are allergic to dogs, afraid of dogs, or avoid them for religious reasons, the rights of both parties must be taken into account. A reasonable compromise should be found to accommodate both parties. The Service Dog Assessment Team may be of assistance in finding options for dealing with conflicting interests.

How To Interact With Service Dogs in Alberta

Please, Don’t Distract the Service Dogs in Alberta

How To Interact With Service Dogs in Alberta
  • Service Dogs really have to focus on their handler and the task they are doing.
  • Service Dogs have been trained to very high standards and typically ignore distractions, but they are not perfect.
  • A distracted service dog could make a mistake that puts it and its handler in danger.

Some Distractions Include:

  • calling to the dog
  • making kissing, barking or other sounds
  • petting the dog without permission
  • allowing pets to interact with the dog
German Sheperd Service Dog

Please, Don’t Offer Food

  • Service dogs are trained to ignore food on the ground and not to beg for food.
  • Feeding a service dog could make it sick, which could take away its handler’s independence.
Offering Food to Service Dog

Please, Don’t Be Offended

Don’t be offended if:

  • a service dog handler will not let you pet his or her dog
    • the dog is working and should not be interrupted in the performance of its duties
  • a service dog handler doesn’t stop to chat
    • they may be in a hurry or have other reasons not to be able to stop and talk

Allow a service dog handler to go about his or her business just as you would anyone else.

Please, Be Respectful

  • Speak to the person, not to the dog
  • Don’t ask personal questions about the handler’s disability
  • Don’t ask for the dog to do a demonstration of its skills
  • Don’t photograph or record a service dog team without permission

Responsibilities of Service Dog Handlers

  • It is the responsibility of the service dog handler to maintain control of the dog at all times.
  • Service dogs should not growl, bark aggressively, snap, bite, or lunge.
  • If the service dog displays behaviours that are aggressive, damage property or are disruptive to other patrons, the service dog team can be asked to leave.
  • The handler is responsible for any damages caused by their service dog.
  • Handlers are required to clean up or make arrangements to clean up if their service dog toilets in a public place.

Responsibilities of Businesses Regarding Service Dogs in Alberta

Service dogs in Alberta Businesses

Individuals with qualified service dogs are allowed entry into all places where the public is allowed. Businesses should keep the following information in mind:

  • The rights of all Albertans must be considered in a respectful and tolerant manner.
  • If your customers or employees have allergies, a fear of dogs or don’t want to be near dogs, they can make their fear known to you and ask that you make alternate arrangements for them.
  • You can’t designate a specific area for individuals with service dogs, such as an outside seating area.
  • A taxi driver unable to transport the person and the service dog, can order another taxi from the company, requesting that a priority response be provided.

Businesses that discriminate against qualified service dog teams can be fined.

Traveling to Alberta with Your Service Dogs in Alberta

Traveling to Alberta with Your Service Dog

If you are planning long-term stays in Alberta or will be traveling frequently to the province, you should apply for an Alberta Service Dog Identification Card.

People travelling with dogs with owner- managed training or that have graduated from a non-ADI school can apply for a qualification assessment. Please note that the application process and assessment scheduling takes some time, so plans must be made well in advance of travel.

Service Dogs in Alberta – Violations & Penalties

Service Dog Violations and Penalties

The Service Dogs Act include fines for violations from both service dog handlers and businesses. Fines include the following:

OffenseFine (Max.)
Falsely claiming to be a disabled person to get protection under the Act$300
Refusing to return a service dog identification card when asked to do so$300
Discriminating against a person lawfully using a qualified service dog or refusing access to qualified service dog teams$3,000

Report a Concern About Service Dogs in Alberta, Handler or Trainer

You can report a concern about a service dog, service dog handler or service dog trainer.

Contact

To connect with the Service Dog Assessment Team:

Phone: 780-427-9136 (Edmonton)
Toll free in Alberta: dial 310-0000, then the phone number
Email: servicedogs@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Service Dog Assessment Team
Community and Social Services
3rd Floor Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4R7

Get a Service Dog Decal for Your Business to Welcome Service Dogs in Alberta

Service Dog Decal Alberta

Service Dogs Decal Show your business is welcoming and inclusive towards people with disabilities and service dogs by placing a Government of Alberta Service Dog Decal on your door or window.To request a decal, contact the Service Dog Assessment Team:Phone: 780-427-9136
Toll free: dial 310-0000, then the phone number
Email: servicedogs@gov.ab.ca


Service Dogs at Work in Alberta

How to Report a Concern About a Service Dog

You can report a concern to the Service Dog Assessment Team if you encounter or witness a violation of the Service Dogs Act and Service Dogs Qualification Regulations (PDF, 278 KB) or Alberta Training Standard (155 KB).

Responsibilities of a Service Dog Handler

Service Dog Handler Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the handler to maintain control of the service dog at all times. If the service dog displays behaviours that are aggressive, disruptive to other patrons or damaging to property, the service dog team can be asked to leave.

Accommodation For Others

The rights of all Albertans must be considered in a respectful and tolerant manner. Some people may have allergies, fear of dogs or avoid dogs for religious reasons. Upon expressing their concerns to the manager of the public space, they, the manager and the service dog team will cooperate to make alternate arrangements or find a compromise that satisfies everyone.

Service Dog Sneeze

Common Concerns About Service Dog Teams

Some common concerns may be:

  • a qualified service dog team being denied access to a public space after presenting their Service Dog Team Identification Card
  • a service dog acting in an unruly, intrusive or aggressive manner
  • a service dog handler or trainer using harmful or injurious discipline on their service dog

Report a Concern About a Service Dog Team

Please use the Service Dog Concerns Form (PDF, 155 KB) to report your concerns.

You can submit the form by mailing it to the address below, by faxing it to 780-427-9145 or by email at servicedogs@gov.ab.ca.

Contact the Service Dog Assessment Team

To connect with the Service Dog Assessment Team:

Phone: 780-427-9136 (Edmonton)
Toll free in Alberta: dial 310-0000, then the phone number
Email: servicedogs@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Service Dog Assessment Team
Community and Social Services
3rd Floor Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4R7

Overview of the Service Dog Qualification Assessment

A service dog team can take the Service Dog Qualification Assessment (PDF, 212 KB) to become qualified and have public access rights. This assessment is needed for service dogs that:

  • have been trained by their owner
  • are privately trained
  • are acquired from an organization not recognized in Alberta

Service dogs do not need to be assessed if they have:

Assessment Details

The Service Dog Qualification Assessment (PDF, 212 KB) evaluates the service dog team in a variety of settings to prove they do not pose a risk to the public. The dog must also demonstrate a minimum of 3 skills or tasks it does to help with the handler’s disability.

The assessment is based on the Alberta Training Standard and consists of 40 exercises that test the service dog’s ability to:

  • assist the person with a disability
  • demonstrate appropriate public behaviour
  • demonstrate calm disposition in busy places, like a shopping mall
  • not attract attention in public places

The handler is assessed to make sure they have control over the dog at all times.

Once a letter of approval has been received, a Service Dog Identification Card will be processed and mailed to the handler.

Cost of the Assessment

The assessment fee is $50 for Albertans and $150 for out-of-province applicants.

Albertans receiving income supports may be eligible to have the fee waived and receive reimbursement for travel costs to attend the Assessment. Contact the Service Dog Assessment Team for more information.

Eligibility

Service Dog Handler

You can get your service dog assessed if you:

  • are 18 years of age or older with a diagnosed disability and require a service dog to help with tasks related to your disability
  • are a service dog team consisting of a minor with a diagnosed disability, a service dog and an adult service dog handler

Service Dog Eligibility

Service dogs are eligible for assessment if they:

  • are between the age of 18 months and 9 years of age
  • have been spayed or neutered
  • are in good physical health
  • have current vaccinations
  • are clean and well groomed
  • are physically and mentally capable of performing a minimum of 3 tasks to help with the handler’s disability

Before You Get Your Service Dog Assessed

Before getting your dog assessed, you may want to get upgrade training for your service dog.

How To Get an Assessment for Your Service Dog

Step 1. Fill out the forms

You can also get printed versions of the forms by contacting the Service Dog Assessment Team.

Step 2. Mail or drop off completed forms

Service Dog Assessment Team
Community and Social Services
3rd Floor Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Avenuue NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4R7

Once the application is processed, you will be contacted to set up a time and location for the assessment. Note: Incomplete applications and packages will not be processed.

Step 3. Go to the assessment

Go to the location of the assessment on the day and time it is scheduled. The assessment will be done in public areas that include distractions such as:

  • crowds
  • food
  • transportation
  • other animals

If appropriate assessment areas are not available in your community, alternate arrangements will be made.

Trained staff from approved organizations will conduct the assessment.

The service dog team must successfully complete all assessment exercises of the Qualification Assessment (PDF, 212 KB). The assessor will explain each exercise prior to beginning the assessment.

Service Dogs in Alberta – Service Dog Handler Behavior

The assessor may stop, postpone or cancel the assessment at any point if they feel that the performance of the assessment may cause risk to any person or animal.

The assessment will immediately be stopped if the handler:

  • uses offensive language
  • utters threats
  • refuses to have their dog perform required tasks
  • abuses the dog

Grounds for Disqualification

A dog will be disqualified if it:

  • shows aggression, enhanced prey drive, resource guarding or excessive fear
  • requires major restraint or a continuously tight leash to perform the exercises, unless required to do so due to the handler’s mobility
  • is distracted to the extent of causing risk to itself,  the client, assessor or public
  • has poor health

If a dog is disqualified for any of these reasons, they may not be eligible for further assessments.

After Your Service Dogs in Alberta Assessment

You will be notified about the assessment results in writing. If you qualify, you will get a temporary letter of acknowledgement for public access. An official Identification Card will be mailed to you shortly after. Service dog teams should carry their ID with them at all times when in public.

If Your Assessment was Unsuccessful

If the assessment is unsuccessful, the Service Dog Assessment Team will discuss the reasons with you.

You can apply to have your dog reassessed if:

  • failure was not due to the service dog’s aggression, enhanced prey drive, resource guarding or excessive fear
  • you were unsuccessful on fewer than 5 exercises

You can apply for reassessment after 30 days from the last assessment. The Service Dog Assessment Team may request a longer period to wait for a reassessment.

Contact

To connect with the Service Dog Assessment Team:

Phone: 780-427-9136 (Edmonton)
Toll free in Alberta: dial 310-0000, then the phone number
Email: servicedogs@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Service Dog Assessment Team
Community and Social Services
3rd Floor Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4R7

Service Dogs in Alberta – Approved Organizations

Where to Get a Service Dog?

These organizations meet the requirements of the Alberta Training Standard:

Alberta

Aspen Service Dogs

Provider, trainer and assessor.

Address:
121 Ellington Crescent
St. Albert, Alberta  T8N 4C6
Phone: 780-288-0776

Canadian Canine Training Corporation

Provide service dogs and training.

Address:
52111 Range Road 231
Sherwood Park, Alberta T8B 1A4
Phone: 780-416-5050

Courageous Companions Incorporated

Provider of PTSD service dogs for military personnel and first responders.

Address:
Box 48074
St. Albert, Alberta  T8N 5V9
Phone: 780-982-4790

Hope Heels Service Dog Team Building Institute

Service dog provider.

Address:
4748 99 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5H5
Phone: 780-719-3284

Red Dog Training Solutions

Provide training.

Address:
12136 168 Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5X 0J1
Phone: 780-782-7318

Very Special Paws, Camrose and District Victim Services Society

Provider and training.

Address:
6220 48 Ave
Camrose, Alberta T4V 0K6
Phone: 780-679-8833

The following organizations are accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) and/or Assistance Dogs International (ADI). These schools will only place their own guide or service dogs with approved clients. They do not accept privately-owned dogs for training.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind

Phone: 613-692-7777

Dogs with Wings

Provider of guide and service dogs.

Address:
11343 174 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5S 0B7
Phone: 780-944-8011
Toll free: 1-877-252-9433

Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides

Phone: 905-842-2891
Toll free: 1-800-768-3030

National Service Dogs

Phone: 519-623-4188

Pacific Assistance Dogs Society

Provider of service dogs.

Phone: 604-527-0556
Toll free: 1-877-292-1765

BC & Alberta Guide Dogs

Provider of guide and service dogs.

Phone: 403-258-0819
Toll free: 1-877-258-0819

British Columbia Service Dogs

The Province of British Columbia service dogs training standards are equivalent to the Alberta Training Standards and are accepted in Alberta.

For organizations to be eligible for the qualified list, as per section 1(2)(b) of the Service Dogs Qualifications Regulation, AR 59/2017, an organization must meet the requirements set out in A or B:

A. Training methods and standards for dogs

  1. The organization uses training methods that support the ethical and humane treatment of service dogs that do not cause fear, pain or other negative responses in the dog, for example, no shock collar, prong collar or similar equipment is to be used in the training or testing of a service dog.
  2. The organization has a service dog training or testing program that ensures dogs that are trained or tested meet the following standards:

Health

  1. Are between the ages of 18 months and nine (9) years.
  2. Have current vaccinations.
  3. Have been spayed, if female (ovariohysterectomy) or neutered, if male (bilateral orchiectomy).
  4. Have an operating microchip that is a full duplex type conforming to ISO Standards 11784 and 11785.

Public appropriateness

  1. Are clean, well-groomed and do not have an offensive odour.
  2. Toilet only in appropriate circumstances and locations.
  3. Display a jacket, cape, harness or other equipment to indicate that it is a working animal assisting a person with a disability.
  4. Present as healthy and able to work.

Behaviour

  1. Do not solicit attention, visit or annoy any member of the general public.
  2. Do not disrupt the normal course of business.
  3. Do not vocalize unnecessarily, i.e. barking, growling or whining.
  4. Show no aggression towards people or other animals.
  5. Do not solicit or steal food or other items from the general public.
  6. Work calmly and quietly in a harness, leash.
  7. Are able to perform tasks in public without showing distress or avoidance.
  8. Are able to lie quietly beside the handler without blocking aisles, doorways, etc.
  9. Stay within 24 inches of their handler at all times unless the nature of a trained task requires them to be working at a greater distance.

Basic obedience skills

  1. Are able to demonstrate mastery of basic obedience skills sufficient to support a disabled person having public access with that dog.
  2. Are able to focus on the person with a disability despite distractions, such as children running, loud noises, flashing lights, traffic, and presence of food, balls, toys or other attractants.
  3. Have prompt recall directly to the handler.
  4. Respond to commands 90 per cent of the time on the first command in all public environments.
  5. Exhibit good canine citizenship and be able to demonstrate that the dog is safe to be in a public setting.

Advanced skills

  1. Have mastered the Basic Obedience Skills set out above.
  2. Are capable of performing three (3) or more tasks in order to mitigate aspects of the handler’s disability, i.e. performing specific tasks which the handler is unable to do themselves due to their disability.
  3. Have received a minimum of 240 hours of advanced training.

B. Other province or territory

The organization has been contracted by a provincial or territorial government in Canada to train or test dogs to be qualified as service dogs in that province or territory, and the provincial or territorial government has service dogs training or testing standards that are equivalent to the Alberta Training Standards, as determined by the Minister of Community and Social Services.