Requests to bring a Guide or Service Dog to learning and assessment environments as an academic accommodation are not required but encouraged. Guide or Service dogs (i.e. canine vision dog guides or hearing alert service dogs) are permitted under the BC Guide and Service Dog Act and Regulation and as such, do not require prior review or approval. Guide and Service dogs are (a) trained to perform specific tasks to assist a person with a disability and (b) certified as a guide or service dog. They can help a person navigate through public areas, alert them to sounds, open doors and do other tasks. Certification is issued by an accredited or recognized training school.
Requests to bring an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) to learning and assessment environments as an academic accommodation are independently reviewed by Centre for Accessible Learning. ESAs are pets and not service animals. Mental health professionals prescribe ESAs under the law. ESA's typically do not receive specialized training to perform a task, nor are they certified.
In considering these requests, CAL applies standards in the BC Guide and Service Dog Act and Regulation, the Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities Policy (E-2.11) and statutory requirements under the BC Human Rights Code.
CAL treats the request to bring an ESA to learning and assessment environments as it would any other request for an accommodation which includes:
Specific considerations on if the ESA will be approved (or remain approved) as an academic accommodation:
The care and supervision of a Guide or Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is the handler's responsibility.
Guide or Service dogs and ESAs are required:
Access would not be provided to animals with unacceptable behaviour such as:
If approved as an academic accommodation, the ESA cannot be denied access based on the notion that an animal might threaten the safety of others, nor can the decision be based on a person’s assumptions or bad experiences with other animals. However, approval will be revisited where significant health and safety of another (or the animal, itself) is significantly impacted or where the animal’s presence interferes with the delivery and assessment of essential course requirements/learning outcomes.
If you meet a person who is accompanied by a Guide or Service Dog or an Emotional Support Animal (ESA):