Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 9 23
09/03/2023
L. Petrykowski
  • Procedure (submissions) (written submissions)
  • Health care (support dog)

The issue under appeal was whether the worker had entitlement to a retroactive Guide and Support Dog allowance prior to January 1, 2017.

The appeal was denied.
OPM Document No. 17-06-04 directs that a severely impaired worker "may be entitled to a guide dog or support dog if it is necessary to enhance the worker's independent living and quality of life, or necessary to help in the worker's work reintegration activities, and recommended by the worker's health professional". The documentary record "intermittently" touched upon the fact that the worker cared for his dog and found it to be an important part of his life. The Vice-Chair noted that this, in itself, did not necessarily mean that the dog was a "guide and support dog" within the meaning of OPM Document No. 17-06-04. This Board policy requires that a "guide dog" or "support dog" be supported by the recommendation of "the worker's health professional". The Vice-Chair noted that such a clinical recommendation did not form part of the documentary record until the last 4-5 years.
In addition, proof of registration for the worker's dog as a "Canadian Service Dog" with the Assistance Dogs of America Registry was provided. The date of issue for that service dog registration was 2017. The Vice-Chair found it significant that there was no evidence to support such a registration for these purposes prior to 2017. The Vice-Chair concluded that there was no basis in law or Board policy to extend the retroactive Guide and Support Dog allowance to a date earlier than January 1, 2017.