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Access Overview

Of the numerous telephone calls and E-mail requests we receive, the most common inquiries relate to the rights of access for a person accompanied by a guide dog. In order to assist guide dog users and service providers alike, as well as to provide some insight for curious members of the public, we are pleased to provide these resources to help you better understand how a guide dog and its handler work as an integrated team and to spell out each parties’ rights and obligations under the legislation for your respective province/territory.

NOTE: While we will refer to guide dogs throughout the following pages, rights of access and legislation applies to both a guide dog (assisting a person who is blind or sight-impaired) and to a service dog (assisting a person with a physical or sensory disability.) This latter category of dog is sometimes referred to as a “service dog” or an “assistance dog” – both titles can be used interchangeably. In any case, the rules governing these highly trained, well tempered dogs are the same.

For service providers and the public-at-large, we thought an excellent starting point would be to introduce the proper etiquette when you meet a guide dog team. We have also provided some helpful hints for proper etiquette when you meet a person who is blind or sight-impaired.

Included on our site is a direct link to a listing of Guide Dog Associations, Organizations and Schools. We have also included legislation Pertaining to Guide Dog Access​ which provides direct links to various Provincial, Territorial and US statutes. We invite you to familiarize yourself with the legislation that applies to your locale. In all cases, the intent of the legislation is consistent in all Canadian and US jurisdictions. Simply put, these statutes enable any person with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog to receive any service or enter into any facility that is available to the public. There are some very rare exceptions to the rule which we have included here.

In response to the frequently asked questions by service providers we offer many answers to questions received from this sector. Whether you are a service provider in the hospitality industry, a restaurateur, a taxi operator, a public transit employee, an inn keeper or provide any other service to the general public, we believe you will find the answer to your question here.

We have also fielded a number of calls from guide dog users. Again, we have addressed the Frequently asked questions by guide dog users and provided some strategies for access to provide some useful hints for those challenging situations.

And to answer those inquisitive questions often presented by the general public, we have created a page to heighten awareness and understanding by curious but admiring onlookers within our Frequently Asked Questions by the General Public​ link.

We are happy to expand the information provided on these pages. Should you have any additional questions that you would like to see posted here or information that we may have overlooked, please contact Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers via e-mail.