B-C’s new rules to increase fines for businesses that violate the rights of people using certified guide dogs is getting two paws up from the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society.
“It’s been a great day.”
PADS Executive Director Laura Watamanuk worked with the Justice Ministry on the new rules and says it gives people who use certified guide-dogs the rights they needed.
“We’ve got good will and a lot of movement in the last three years. I’m happy with where we are today. The industry has evolved a lot in the last few years and a lot more growth and working dogs.”
She says in that time, the public has matured, and come to a better understanding of what service dogs are and why people have them.
“When I started with PADS years ago, people didn’t really understand what service dogs were there to provide. Now, we have service dogs, and hearing dogs, and guide dogs, and dogs for diabetics and dogs who support children with autism. It goes on and on.”
Starting next January, stiffer fines will be imposed on businesses that violate the rights of people who use certified guide dogs.
The protections will apply to public transit, restaurants, stratas, and will now cover dogs used by people with hearing problems or epilepsy
Higher training standards for service dogs will also come into effect.
The new rules were developed after a variety of incidents in which people with service dogs were discriminated against.
In one case back in March, a Saanich man confined to a wheelchair says his family was denied a rental property because of his service dog.