National Standard of Canada Status Update: April 16, 2018 – Notice of Intent Withdrawn for information and further inquiries please visit http://www.scc.ca/en/standards/notices-of-intent/cgsb/service-dogs
Development of a National Voluntary Standard of Canada for Service Dog Teams FAQ's
The National Standard Advantage
Even before The Canadian Foundation for Animal-Assisted Support Services (CFAS) officially opened our doors in 1998 the CFAS's founder had begun receiving emails and calls with respect to various concerns people had in regard to accessing and working with service dogs. Among the biggest barriers are the cost of service dogs, long waiting lists, the fragmented and unregulated emergent field, public access issues, and the identification of service dog teams. Soon the calls and emails started to multiply. Twenty-five plus years later industry gaps, systemic issues, and the need for widespread education continue to contribute to these barriers.
The average person, if asked, is under the assumption that a credible and cohesive infrastructure exists in the world of service dogs, however, the opposite is true. Service dog trainers and organizations are not regulated by any level of government or an impartial independent third-party. Currently, there are no nationally or internationally recognized service dog standards within the national or global standards arena, but rather, private company standards that only apply to specific member organizations.
Investing in Consumers/End-Users Satisfaction, Canine Welfare, Public Safety and Confidence
While exploring potential solutions the Foundation turned to Canada's National Standards System (NSS) to explore what might be possible if the stakeholders worked with consumers/end-users to establish a credibility chain to begin clearly identifying and removing industry and systemic barriers.
In 2014 the Foundation hosted two national military service dog summits, as a result of the growing interest in service dogs for veterans. Attendees unanimously voted in favour of the Foundation submitting a New Work Proposal (NWIP) to the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) to assess the feasibility establishing a National Standard of Canada. Shortly thereafter CGSB and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) announced that VAC would invest in the development the service dog standard (See: Veterans Affairs greenlights standards for service dogs). Read more...
How can a Voluntary National Standard of Canada benefit people that partner with service dogs and their families?
Drafting the standard took into account the need to:
The general public can purchase service dog ID cards and vests online. The danger is that this practice does not provide assurance with respect to the suitability of the dog for service work or whether adequate training and socializing has been achieved to assist the handler with specific tasks to mitigate their daily living challenges. In most instances the rationale behind selling ID cards and vests online was an attempt to assist Service Dog Teams with public access. Good intentions, while commendable, do not take into account these loose ends.
Terminologies, legislation and regulations pertaining to Service Dog Teams continues to be fragmented and inconsistent at best, further complicating matters. There are still no provincial or national third-party credentialing standards for service dog trainers making it even harder to discern who to turn to for help. Additionally, the cost of obtaining a service dog has gone through the roof making it even more difficult to meet demands. Another concern is that there are not enough service dog trainers, nor do trainers train dogs to assist with every type of disability or daily living challenges. Consequently, the safety of the handler, alternate handlers, the canine and the public remain at risk.
Lengthy waiting lists, the inability to find a trainer that trains dogs for a specific disability or life-altering injury, limited income to care for a service dog and not meeting the specific criteria of a given service provider are other barriers individuals and their families face, as they strive to improve their situations.
FAQ Document Updates: April 16, 2018
How many service dog teams graduate annually?
There are currently no statistics available to determine the total number of service dog team graduates. Please contact the individual organizations to request this information.
Service Dog Programs Approval and Oversight
There is currently no national, provincial, or international third-party oversight program, third-party regulatory body, or service dog industry association that approves and monitors service dog trainers, qualifications, or schools (organizations). Private company standards should not be confused with National Standards of Canada (NSC). This project was intended to develop a NSC to prevent the exploitation of service dog teams as well as to overcome accessibility barriers.
Are there nationally recognized standards for service dogs trained to work with people who have been diagnosed with PTSD?
No, there are no PTSD Service Dog National Standards of Canada. PTSD Service Dog Industry standards could be developed once stakeholders agree to develop a service dog industry and corresponding standard.
60-day Public Review - CAN/CGSB-193.1 Service Dog Teams - Please be sure to include your voice by July 14, 2017.
To request a copy of the draft standard and comment form please call the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) at 819-956-0425 or 1-800-665-2472, fax at 819-956-5740 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The HTML links of the draft standard are enclosed for your convenience.
Your support will help CFAS to:
Invest in Canine-Assisted Living...
Seamless Public Access for All
Your support will contribute to developing a National Canine-Assisted Living Fund so as to develop resources such as: