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Government increases access to service dogs

Above: Premier and Minister Sabir greet Ellie – GOA Photo

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta says the new Service Dogs Qualifications Regulation, which came into effect Apr. 1, will allow more schools to train qualified service dogs, something the province believes will give more Albertans opportunities to find a job, attend school and participate in their communities.

Approved organizations on the qualified list will train and test service dogs based on the province’s new standards; however, service dogs previously trained at schools or by their owners can take a test administrated by a school on the qualified list to become a qualified service dog in Alberta.

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“Everyone deserves the opportunity to contribute to their community and build better lives for themselves and the people they love,” said Premier Rachel Notley. “We are working to make life better for Albertans with disabilities by ensuring they have access to service dogs so they can live safe, inclusive lives in their communities.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services, said the new Service Dogs Qualifications Regulation will increase access to service dogs so that more Albertans will have the support of these life-changing companions.

“I have heard from many Albertans with disabilities that qualified service dogs make a real difference in their day-to-day lives, contributing to emotional and psychological wellbeing of those who rely on them.

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The government is granting $250,000 to be be shared among six organizations to pilot the qualified list process. This process also includes training and mentoring services from National Service Dogs, a school specializing in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder dog training.

The training pilot program will run from April until August 2017 and
organizations selected for the pilot include Hope Heels Service Dog Team Building Institute, Alpha K9 Canada, St. John Ambulance, Pacific Assistance Dogs Society, Omega Service Dog Testing & Consulting and Dogs with Wings Society Assistance Dog Society.

The qualified list for training and testing organizations is scheduled to open in August 2017.

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