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A CNIB Guide Dog in harness looks over its shoulder at the camera. The dog is a yellow Labrador Retriever.

Apply for a CNIB Guide Dog

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Before you apply for a CNIB Guide Dog, we encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I 16 or older? (Younger applicants may begin the application process with the understanding we will not train a candidate before the age of 16). 
  • Do I have sight loss that limits my orientation and mobility?
  • Do I have a lifestyle that would benefit from the use of a guide dog?
  • Am I able to maintain the necessary skills for working with a guide dog?
  • Am I willing to trust my guide dog, even if he/she chooses a slightly different path?
  • Do I have a safe and welcoming home environment for a guide dog?
  • Am I ready for the responsibility of caring for a guide dog?
  • Am I physically capable of caring for a guide dog?
  • Am I prepared for the attention that a guide dog will bring while working in public?
  • Am I a registered client of CNIB or Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada?

If you answered yes to each of these questions, we invite you to complete our application process.

CNIB Guide Dogs – Online Application Form

Our online application form takes about 20 to 40 minutes to complete. You will be asked to provide us with information about you, your daily routines, lifestyle and living conditions. We take your privacy very seriously so what you share with us will be saved in our secure client system and only used by CNIB Guide Dogs to determine your eligibility. If you are unable to complete the form in one session, save what you have entered and return later to complete it and submit your application.

The demand for a CNIB Guide Dog has significantly increased, resulting in a longer waiting period than we would like. Your independence and freedom are our top priorities, and while CNIB Guide Dogs would like to provide you with a guide dog, we suggest that you also consider applying to other International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) Guide Dog Providers in North America to explore all available options. 

What to expect after you apply for a CNIB Guide Dog  

If you have never had a guide dog, first time applicants could anticipate an approximate wait time of up to three to four years from the time they apply for a CNIB guide dog to the time they’re matched. Successor dog applicants can anticipate a reduction in wait time. All timeframes are subject to change. We are currently working diligently to increase our capacity and accept more dogs into our training program to reduce these timeframes. 

CNIB Guide Dogs application process 

Step 1: Submit an online application form.

Step 2: Once your application form is submitted, you will receive an email with detailed information about the next steps in our application process including a self-declaration health form and police record check for you to complete. 

Step 3: Applicant undergoes an orientation and mobility (O&M) assessment with a certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist. If you have received a guide dog from CNIB or any other IGDF-accredited guide dog school, you will not be required to complete an O&M assessment. 

Step 4: Applicant undergoes an in-home assessment conducted by a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI). GDMI assessments may need to be updated annually, so an in-home assessment is most beneficial closer to when applicants may be matched with a guide dog. CNIB Guide Dogs staff will review your information and contact you to discuss your application and expected wait times for a GDMI assessment. Currently, applicants may have to wait approximately 1-2 years before progressing to an in-home assessment with a GDMI. 

Step 5: Once these steps have been completed, our team will confirm the applicant’s eligibility to be accepted for training or provide alternative recommendations if an applicant is not eligible at this time. If the applicant is accepted for training, they are placed on a match list until a suitable match is identified.  Once accepted into the program, you can expect to wait an average of 2 to 3 years before you are matched with a CNIB Guide Dog. 

Step 6: Once a match identified, we will contact you to discuss the match and team training dates.  

Step 7: Matched teams attend training in either a hotel or domiciliary (home-based) environment.

CNIB Guide Dogs is committed to supporting individuals who are seeking a guide dog for their independent travel needs and making the best possible match for our dogs. If you have any questions, please contact us at 1-800-563-2642 or email guidedogs@cnib.ca.

CNIB Guide Dogs – Online Application Form