Get a service dog assessed for public access

Get a service dog's training tested to see if they are qualified to access public places with their handler.

Overview

A service dog team can take the Service Dog Qualification Assessment (PDF, 0.2 MB) to earn qualification and protection for public access rights under the Service Dogs Act and Service Dogs Qualification Regulations (PDF, 0.3 MB). This assessment is needed for service dogs that:

  • have owner-managed training
  • are privately trained
  • are acquired from an organization not recognized in Alberta

Service dogs do not need to be assessed  if they have one of the following qualifications:

  • have graduated from a program that is accredited by, or holding candidacy status with Assistance Dogs International
  • completed a program delivered by an organization identified as a producer in the Qualified List
  • 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 (PDF, 0.2 MB) as determined by the Minister

Assessment details

The Service Dog Qualification Assessment (PDF, 0.2 MB) evaluates the service dog team in a variety of settings to prove they  pose a minimum risk to members of 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 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.

The assessment is based on the Alberta Training Standard (PDF, 0.2 MB).

The service dog team will not be considered qualified until the letter of approval has been received. The Service Dog Identification Card will be mailed separately to the handler once it is issued.

Cost

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.

Eligibility

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 dog

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 service dog assessed, upgrade training is available. You can find training by:

How to get your service dog assessed

Step 1. Fill out the application form

PDF form instructions

We recommend using Internet Explorer on a desktop computer to download and fill out this form. It may not work with mobile devices or Chrome.

Fill out the Qualification Assessment Application form (PDF, 0.2 MB).

You can also get a form by contacting the Service Dog Assessment Team.

Step 2. Get your medical and veterinarian confirmations.

Get your doctor to provide a medical recommendation and your veterinarian to provide the Veterinary requirement.

Forms are available for you to use.

PDF form instructions

We recommend using Internet Explorer on a desktop computer to download and fill out this form. It may not work with mobile devices or Chrome.

Medical Recommendation for a Service Dog (PDF, 0.3 MB)

Veterinarian Requirements for a Service Dog (PDF, 0.2 MB)

Step 3. Gather your documents into an application package

Create an application package that includes:

  • your completed application form
  • the medical form filled out by your doctor
  • the veterinarian form filled out by your veterinarian

Step 4. Submit the application package

Mail or drop off the application package at the address below.

Incomplete applications and packages will not be processed.

Service Dog Assessment Team
Community and Social Services
3rd Floor Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Ave NW
Edmonton AB  T5J 4R7

Once the application is processed, you will be contacted to set up a time and location for the assessment.

Step 5. 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:

  • crowds
  • food
  • transportation
  • other animals

If appropriate assessment areas are not available in your community, alternate arrangements will be made.

Trained staff from organizations identified as assessors on the Qualified List will conduct the assessment.

The service dog team must successfully complete all  assessment exercises of the Qualification Assessment (PDF, 0.2 MB) . The assessor will explain each exercise prior to beginning the assessment.

Handler behaviour

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 for reassessment 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.

Contact

Service Dog Assessment Team
780-427-9136 (Edmonton)
310-0000, then 780-427-9136 (toll-free) 
servicedogs@gov.ab.ca

Mailing address:
Service Dog Assessment Team
Community and Social Services
3rd Floor Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Ave NW
Edmonton AB  T5J 4R7