Nova Scotia Government Introduces Service Dog Act

Angela Poirier, Senior Policy Analyst, Nova Scotia Department of Justice

You will likely recall participating in a consultation in the summer of 2015 focused on protecting the rights of service dog users. Building on the input received, Government has introduced legislation today that will uphold the rights and responsibilities of service dog users and should help prevent situations that result in people being denied access to public places and refused tenancy rights.

The Act will establish a Registrar responsible for overseeing application, certification and identification processes for qualified service dog users, details of which will be captured in forthcoming regulations. The Act also outlines penalties for denying rights and for falsely representing a service dog.

This new legislation will not affect guide dog users, who are already protected under Nova Scotia’s Blind Persons’ Rights Act. A separate amendment to that Act will also see an increase in penalties for denying access and false representation.

A copy of the news release announcing the new legislation can be found by following This Link.

A copy of the bill can be found by following This Link.

If you would like to comment on the bill, you should advise the Nova Scotia Legislative Counsel Office as soon as possible so your name can be added to the list of presenters. Typically, persons or groups interested in presenting their views on a bill appear before the Law Amendments Committee. The committee also accepts written submissions through the Legislative Counsel Office. For more information on this process, please follow This Link.

If you require additional information, including receiving this information in an alternate format, please Contact Angela Poirier who will work to accommodate your request.

Thank you once again for your interest in this issue and sharing your insights with the Department of Justice.

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