Barrier-free Public Access for Guide and Service Dog Teams

OTTAWA, November 12, 2019


Guide and service dogs have benefited the lives of Canadians of all ages with visible and invisible disabilities as well as other daily living challenges for close to a century. In spite of the many benefits fostered by these devoted working dogs there are a number of systemic issues and industry gaps reinforcing, rather than removing, accessibility and accommodation barriers. The good news is there is no time like the present to introduce pawsitive change to ensure a barrier-free Canada.


The Canadian Foundation for Animal-Assisted Support Services (CFAS) is pleased to announce the launch of the “Unleashing Potential Initiative.” This Initiative is a National Call to Action to promote service excellence, quality assurance and the satisfaction of guide and service dog teams and their families (consumers/end-users), the welfare of guide and service dogs, the credibility of guide and service dog trainers and their respective organizations, while at the same time increasing public confidence.

Phase 1 of this multi-phase project will encompass an industry analysis as a precursor to establishing Voluntary Canadian Consensus-Based Industry Standards (Benchmarks) that stimulate continuity, clarity, and enhanced credibility within this burgeoning field. For more information about this Initiative, please visit


We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Competition Bureau of Canada’s publicly available materials, which will contribute toward the Foundation’s efforts to develop a relevant Canadian Advocacy, Education, and Outreach Program.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to Courageous Companions and MSAR Service Dogs for their financial contribution in relation to Phase 1 of the Unleashing Potential Initiative.


CFAS is a national non-profit and registered charity that endeavours to inspire and sustain the innovation, coordination, and integration of exceptional Animal-Assisted Services (AAS) within Canada’s healthcare, social services, justice, corrections, and voluntary sectors in order to build a healthier, safer, and barrier-free Canada with people, pets, and partners (animals in service).

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