FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – Cathay Wagantall, Member of Parliament for Yorkton—Melville and member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, has announced the publication of a report — A Path to Veterans’ Service Dog Standards — by Conservative members of the Committee on the need for national service dog standards for veterans.
The Committee concluded its study by hearing from final witnesses on June 14. Due to the House of Commons summer recess, Committee members were not able to consider a draft report on the efficacy and use of psychiatric service dogs for Canadian Armed Forces veterans.
“As a consequence, veterans will have to wait longer for a national standard for PTSD Service Dogs to be established,” said Wagantall.
“That’s why I’m so pleased to release this report with my Conservative colleagues. Our veterans and their families can benefit significantly from quality psychiatric service dogs in their lives. This path shows the way to finally get national standards in place. Let’s get it done.”
The report, A Path to Veterans’ Service Dog Standards, is the Conservative response to the evidence heard directly from witnesses. The Conservative report makes five recommendations, including:
The standards body should aim to develop national standards through a two-pronged approach; an approach that considers both standards of training as well as the performance of service dogs and their teams post-training. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
During four days of testimony, the committee heard from stakeholders, organizations, service dog trainers, scientists, researchers and veterans. The testimony revealed a mix of training and testing standards used across Canada. A previous attempt to create a national standard was halted by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). An invitation to have members of the CGSB appear at Committee to hear about the obstacles they faced was declined.
Wagantall noted that a Conservative government would make the creation of Canadian national standards for service dogs a priority of Veterans Affairs Canada.
In the event that an election does not take place, Wagantall said that the Conservative members of the Committee insist that the Standing Committee meet immediately following the return of MPs to Ottawa to consider the draft report and to send it to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, to act upon.