Another Attack On Guide and Service Dog Handlers – A Message From Yvonne Peters

Well, Canada’s federal government is once again mounting another attack on guide and service dog handlers.

Now the Canadian Transportation Agency is proposing that all guide and service dog handlers provide documentation and register with all federally regulated modes of transportation if they wish to travel.

They are requesting that an accredited professional service animal training institution certify that our dogs are indeed trained. No definition of what they mean by such an institution.

They also want a vet to provide a up-to-date vaccination record. Okay, maybe to some this sounds reasonable, but the CTA offers no rationale or explanation as to how this will improve passenger service.

I have traveled for about 40 years with my guide dog and never been asked for documentation. My speculation is that maybe people have been trying to pass their pets off as service dogs and causing problems once onboard. So why not go after those fakers? Why put the burden on persons with legitimate guide and service dogs? Such action is contrary to how are society normally addresses crime or wrongdoing.

Maybe we should level the playing field and ask other groups to also register and provide documentation of their ability to travel. For example, doctors could be asked to certify that passengers will not cough and sneeze on fellow passengers; social workers could certify that parents are trained to manage their children while in the air; and an addictions counsellor could certify that passengers are capable of drinking responsibly while flying.

This constant demand to prove legitimacy is getting so tiresome and an erosion of our rights. Traveling with a guide or service dog is not a luxury or life style. It is a human right confirmed by Canadian law.