Update on the Development of a National Standard for Service Dog Teams

The CGSB Committee on Service Dogs is pictured here from a 2015 meeting. The most recent, sixth committee meeting was held from September 20 to 22, 2017 in Gatineau, Quebec.

The following points summarize the key outcomes from the sixth meeting of the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) Committee on Service Dogs held from September 20 to 22, 2017, and help explain the progress made to date on this Standards development work.

  1. The comments from the first Public Review period were discussed and reviewed by the Committee. In addition, it was noted that comments received in any format and even comments received after the Public Review period officially closed were considered. During this discussion at the meeting, all members and guests were given an opportunity to provide their feedback and feelings on the process and draft standard.  In particular, the Committee heard that the Standard must address human rights concerns which were raised, and action must be taken to consider existing industry certifications that many Guide and Service Dog users have obtained.
  2. It was determined that going forward, the Standard should have a companion document that will act as information to users, stakeholders and regulators. This document will speak about the ability to recognize equivalencies regarding certification and that there is no intent for the Standard to introduce duplicate certification requirements in Canada from existing recognized international schools. This document will also help in clarifying the role of a National Standard versus Regulation. Furthermore, it will provide an informative component consisting of background on the development of the Standard, as well as an education piece on the spirit of inclusivity in Canada and creating a barrier-free system.
  3. Prior to the second Public Review period, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as well as the Human Rights division of Justice Canada have both agreed to review the next draft document for any concerns. The companion document will be included with the second draft at the Public Review period with the purpose of providing guidance to anyone reading the draft and an explanation for all stakeholders.
  4. A second Public Review period will be held at the beginning of 2018 to allow all stakeholders 60 days to comment on the second, revised draft National Standard. This Public Review will be made accessible via the CGSB website with a draft in HTML, as well as PDF and Word documents available upon request. Unlike the first Public Review period, there will not be an HTML comment form on the website as this created some challenges for stakeholders to submit comments. The comments will be received by CGSB in any format, although a clause by clause break down remains the preferred method.
  5. The seventh CGSB Committee meeting is scheduled to be held later in 2018, for the purpose of reviewing the comments received during the second Public Review period.