Learn about the CNIB Guide Dog Program and what you need to do to apply
How do I know if I'm ready for a guide dog ?
It is recommended that applicants are at least 16 years of age, however the guide dog team will collaborate to determine readiness on a case by case basis.
Here are some things that you need to consider before applying.
1. Do you have sight loss that limits your mobility and are you (or are you willing to be) a CNIB client?
2. Do you use a white cane to travel a few different routes independently including crossing intersections?
3. Are you willing to trust your dog and allow them to guide you even if you would have chosen a slightly different path?
4. Are the people you live with and work with supportive of you getting a guide dog?
5. Are you ready for the responsibility of caring for a dog? This can include taking them to veterinary checkups, picking up after them, grooming as well as playing with them and providing them with love and attention.
6. Walking with a guide dog often brings unwanted attention – both positive and negative. This can be frustrating when you are in a hurry or you just want to be unnoticed. Are you prepared for this attention?
What breeds does CNIB train?
We train Black and Yellow Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers, or crosses of the two breeds.
Do I have to travel somewhere for the training?
Currently we are offering hotel-based training. Classes are centralized in a hotel and clients stay for two weeks of training.
Following the two week class, an instructor will travel to your community and stay one to two weeks to make sure that transition goes smoothly.
Eventually, when the program grows we will offer applicants the choice of hotel-based or home-based training.
How big are the classes?
Classes typically will have no more than four students per instructor.
Can I bring someone to accompany me to the training class?
The initial meeting and bonding with your new guide dog is an important time. A new handler needs to be able to devote all their attention to this process and therefore we ask that you do not have anyone accompany you.
Is there any cost associated with getting A CNIB guide dog?
CNIB believes that financial need should not stand in the way of Canadians choosing to partner with a guide dog. There is no cost to the handler to receive and train with a dog. Food will also be provided by CNIB and Royal Canin for the entire life of the dog and veterinary bills (upon approval) will also be covered.
Will follow up visits and assistance be provided?
CNIB Guide Dog Mobility Instructors provide two weeks of after-care immediately following completion of class training. There will be a follow-up visit six months after that and another visit one year after completing the class training. Visits will then be provided every year unless otherwise needed.
What is involved in the application process?
1. The first step is to complete the application form.
2. Once the application has been received a staff member who uses a guide dog will arrange a phone call with you to discuss what life is like with a guide dog and answer any questions you have.
3. If you are not registered with CNIB you will need to do so.
4. You will be asked to complete a self-declaration medical form. You will not need to have your doctor complete a form unless you have an additional medical condition.
5. You will be asked to provide consent to having a Police Record Check to ensure the safety of our staff (who will be visiting your home) as well as the safety of our dogs.
6. An Orientation and Mobility Instructor will arrange a phone call with you to discuss how and when you use your cane, some of the places you travel and how much walking you do per day.
7. A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will arrange a phone call with you as the first step in a collaborative process to determine if a guide dog is right for you.
8. When a match is found, you will be notified of the date of your class.
Please note that CNIB Guide Dogs is a new program. While we are growing the program, we have a limited supply of guide dogs to match with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. We encourage you to apply to as many schools as you are interested in to increase your chances of being matched as quickly as possible.
We are in the process of making this form as accessible as possible, in the meantime if this version is not accessible to you, we can mail you an alternate format or you can call Miriam Mas to complete the form over the phone. For an alternate format, please email our program administrator by clicking the link below:
For questions and more information please email:
or phone 416-375-1571.