The proposed Act and accompanying regulations address access rights for individuals who rely on guide dogs or service dogs, while ensuring clarity and safety for businesses and other members of the public. In particular, the Act will:
- Limit certification to dogs and no other animals;
- Recognize both guide dogs for the visually impaired and service dogs for individuals with other disabilities;
- Require a high training standard for certified dogs;
- Provide an option for dogs to be tested by a designated third party if they were not trained at a facility that is accredited by either Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation;
- Extend public access rights to certified dogs in training;
- Extend tenancy rights to include strata properties and retired certified dogs that continue to reside with their handlers; and
- Increase the existing penalties and create a new offence of falsely purporting to be a certified team.
The changes will help address difficulties business operators, retailers, landlords and strata corporations have had with parties claiming that their dogs (and other pets) are service animals when they are not.
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