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 ?
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?
CWe train Black and Yellow Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers, or crosses of the two breeds.
Do I Have to Travel Somewhere for the Training?
Eventually, when the program grows, we will offerHome-based training. For now, training Hotel-based for about two weeks. Following the training an instructor will travel back to your community with you to make sure the transition goes smoothly. This takes place over approximately 1-2 weeks.
How big are the classes?
Classes typically will have no more than 4 students per instructors.
Can I bring someone to accompany me to the training class?
The initial meeting and bonding with your new guide dog are 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 6 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.
3. 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.
4. You will be asked to provide 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.
Please note, the accessibility of this process differs between different police departments. In some cases, you are able to apply online, in other cases you need to go in person. If you are going in person, it is a good idea to call ahead and find out what documents you need to bring and request that someone assist you in completing the form.
5. 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.
6. A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will arrange a phone call with you to get some more information that will help them determine if a guide dog would be an effective mobility aid for you. .The instructor will also schedule an in-person visit to help with this decision.
7. 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's 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:
To complete the application form over the phone please call Miriam at
between 9;00 AM- 5:00 PM EST.
For questions about the program please contact Victoria Nolan at
or by phone