A service dog team can take the Service Dog Qualification Assessment (PDF, 212 KB) to become qualified and have public access rights. This assessment is needed for service dogs that:
- have been trained by their owner
- are privately trained
- are acquired from an organization not recognized in Alberta
- The Province of British Columbia and the Province of Nova Scotia service dogs training standards are equivalent to the Alberta Training Standards and are accepted in Alberta.
Service dogs do not need to be assessed if they have:
- completed a program delivered by one of Alberta’s approved service dog organizations
- graduated from a program that is accredited by, or holding candidacy status with Assistance Dogs International
- have been qualified by an organization contracted by a provincial or territorial government in Canada to train or assess service dogs to standards equivalent to the Alberta Training Standard as determined by the Minister
The Service Dog Qualification Assessment (PDF, 212 KB) evaluates the service dog team in a variety of settings to prove they do not pose a risk to the public. The dog must also demonstrate a minimum of 3 skills or tasks it does to help with the handler’s disability.
The assessment is based on the Alberta Training Standard and consists of 40 exercises that test the service dog’s ability to:
- assist the person with a disability
- demonstrate appropriate public behaviour
- demonstrate calm disposition in busy places, like a shopping mall
- not attract attention in public places
The handler is assessed to make sure they have control over the dog at all times.
Once a letter of approval has been received, a Service Dog Identification Card will be processed and mailed to the handler.
Assessment of owner-trained dogs must be conducted yearly.
The assessment fee is $50 for Albertans and $150 for out-of-province applicants.
Albertans receiving income supports may be eligible to have the fee waived and receive reimbursement for travel costs to attend the Assessment. Contact the Service Dog Assessment Team for more information.
Service dog handler
You can get your service dog assessed if you:
- are 18 years of age or older with a diagnosed disability and require a service dog to help with tasks related to your disability
- are a service dog team consisting of a minor with a diagnosed disability, a service dog and an adult service dog handler
Service dogs are eligible for assessment if they:
- are between the age of 18 months and 9 years of age
- have been spayed or neutered
- are in good physical health
- have current vaccinations
- are clean and well groomed
- are physically and mentally capable of performing a minimum of 3 tasks to help with the handler’s disability
Before you get your service dog assessed
Before getting your dog assessed, you may want to get upgrade training for your service dog.
How to get an assessment
Step 1. Fill out the forms
You can also get printed versions of the forms by contacting the Service Dog Assessment Team.
- Fill out the Qualification Assessment Application form.
- Get your doctor to provide a medical recommendation and your veterinarian to provide the veterinary requirement. Fill out the 2 forms below:
Step 2. Apply online and submit forms along with your online submission
Once the application is processed, you will be contacted to set up a time and location for the assessment. Note: Incomplete applications and packages will not be processed.
Step 3. Go to the assessment
Go to the location of the assessment on the day and time it is scheduled. The assessment will be done in public areas that include distractions such as:
- other animals
If appropriate assessment areas are not available in your community, alternate arrangements will be made.
Trained staff from approved organizations will conduct the assessment.
The service dog team must successfully complete all assessment exercises of the Qualification Assessment (PDF, 212 KB). The assessor will explain each exercise prior to beginning the assessment.
The assessor may stop, postpone or cancel the assessment at any point if they feel that the performance of the assessment may cause risk to any person or animal.
The assessment will immediately be stopped if the handler:
- uses offensive language
- utters threats
- refuses to have their dog perform required tasks
- abuses the dog
Grounds for disqualification
A dog will be disqualified if it:
- shows aggression, enhanced prey drive, resource guarding or excessive fear
- requires major restraint or a continuously tight leash to perform the exercises, unless required to do so due to the handler’s mobility
- is distracted to the extent of causing risk to itself, the client, assessor or public
- has poor health
If a dog is disqualified for any of these reasons, they may not be eligible for further assessments.
After the assessment
You will be notified about the assessment results in writing. If you qualify, you will get a temporary letter of acknowledgement for public access. An official Identification Card will be mailed to you shortly after. Service dog teams should carry their ID with them at all times when in public.
If your assessment is unsuccessful
If the assessment is unsuccessful, the Service Dog Assessment Team will discuss the reasons with you.
You can apply to have your dog reassessed if:
- failure was not due to the service dog’s aggression, enhanced prey drive, resource guarding or excessive fear
- you were unsuccessful on fewer than 5 exercises
You can apply for reassessment after 30 days from the last assessment. The Service Dog Assessment Team may request a longer period to wait for a reassessment.
The Alberta Training Standard requires yearly re-assessments. Individuals who are training their own dog and need their assessment can apply through the service dog portal. Click “Request an Assessment for an Owner-Trained Dog” tile to access the online application form.
This is a 2-step process. First you must obtain an Alberta.ca Account to access the online portal. Once the online application form has been filled out, remember to include:
Connect with the Service Dog Assessment Team:
Government of Alberta, Guide and Service Dogs
Civil Society and Community Initiatives Branch
Seniors, Community and Social Services
4th Floor, 9920 108 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2M4
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