Lions Foundation Canada


To view or download a copy of the current  Lions Foundation of Canada Newsletter or Canine Courier please click the following links:


The Lions Foundation of Canada was founded in 1983 by Lions Clubs acrossCanada. The vision was to provide Dog Guides at no cost to Canadians with visual disabilities, helping them to achieve freedom and independence.

The Lions Foundation began with the Canine Vision Canada Dog Guide program in 1985, this program trains Dog Guides to work with persons who are blind or visually disabled. The dogs used in this program are usually Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Standard Poodles. A six month training program in addition to a 26 day period with the client evolves into a team ready to face street situations and ensures ” They’ll Never Walk Alone “.

In 1988, the Foundation expanded with the Hearing Ear Dog Guide program, to provide Dog Guides to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. This programs trains year old, small to medium sized dogs who are assessed for both medical reasons and temperament. These dogs also undergo a six month training program in addition to specialized training in the client’s home. Fully trained, these dogs provide ” Their Link To a World of Sound “.

In 1991 a third Dog Guide program, Service Dog Guides (formally known as Special Skills Dog Guides), was added to extend Dog Guide capabilities to train Guide Dogs for people with physical disabilities and/or medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or injury due to accidents. These dogs are usually Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Standard Poodles but on occasion, smaller breeds are trained depending on the needs of the client. Six to eight months of custom training along with a two week period together with the client establishes the bonding required to ensure ” They’ll Never Be Alone “.

The Special Skills program expanded in 2008 with the introduction of Seizure Response Dog Guides. Trained to assist individuals 10 year of age or older with epilepsy, Seizure Response Dog Guides are capable of activating an alert system or barking for help in the event of a seizure. Their ability to respond and react quickly makes them a trustworthy companion, and providers their handlers with the confidence to live independently.

Autism Assistance Dog Guides.  These Dog Guides help provide safety, companionship and unconditional love for children 3-18 years of age who have autism.  As well as providing comfort and consistency for both the child and their family, Autism Assistance Dog Guides provide a calming relief for children in high anxiety situations, and help to reduce the stress commonly experienced in public places.  Bonding with the Dog Guide helps both the child and their family gain increased independence and social interaction.

Diabetic Alert Dog Guides assist people aged 10 or older who have type 1 diabetes with hypoglycemic unawareness. They are trained to detect sudden drops in their handler’s blood sugar through scent and alert them so that they can ingest something sweet. They can go get help within the home or activate an alert system if needed. Their ability to detect and react to hypoglycemic episodes helps their handler’s avoid loss of consciousness and subsequent life-threatening effects. Ultimately, these specially trained Dog Guides provide increased safety, security and independence.

Support Dog Guides are for use by professional agencies with individuals in traumatic situations. These Dog Guides are trained to provide comfort to victims or witnesses of a crime or sudden tragedy. Support Dog Guide will provide on scene support when requested to those most vulnerable in our community, as well as provide added support to persons providing difficult disclosure to police for crimes such as child abuse, sexual assault, etc. 

Each Dog Guide costs approximately $35,000, yet they are provided at no cost to Canadians with disabilities. This incredible gift of freedom and independence is made possible only through the dedicated support and generosity of several groups. From the foster families who raise the puppies to the Lions club, Lioness clubs, Leo clubs, individual and corporate donors who provide the financial backing, each pillar of support makes the Foundation’s work possible.

Learning is a lifelong process, and we are committed to providing our clients with a lifetime of follow-up support. By contributing to the Dog Guide Scholarship Program, you are giving the gift of education, and a future full of possibility. The opportunities to contribute towards a scholarship are: 

  1. Novice Scholarship – Early Training Unit $5,000: Providing basic skills and training for all future Dog Guides 
  2. Intermediate Scholarship – Intro to training $7,500: Offering beginner program-specific training for dogs 
  3. Advanced Scholarship – Skills training $10,000: Elevating skills to a high level with program-specific training for dogs 
  4. Expert Scholarship – Final team training $15,000: Enabling in-person training for clients with their Dog Guides at the LFCDG training school 
  5. Full Scholarship – Lifetime partnership $35,000: Ensuring support and follow-up for the entire duration of the Dog Guide team’s working relationship. The Full Scholarship offers the only opportunity to name a Dog Guide (with LFCDG’s approval).

Funding for the programs at the Foundation come from dog guide sponsorships, memorial donations, fellowships and from generous corporations and individuals acrossCanada. Specific projects such as the following also assist with raising the much needed funds:

  • ” Adopt ” a Dog Guide Puppy
  • Lions Project Pride
  • Walk for Dog Guides
  • Pet Memorial Wall
  • MemorialForest
  • Lions Foundation of Canada– Gift Shop
  • Planned Giving Program
  • Lions Foundation of Canada– Awards Program
  • Foster Puppy Program

The Board of the Lions Foundation of Canada consists of a representative from each of the Provinces who serves a 3 year term. A Chairman is elected from the outgoing Directors in any given year. The day to day operation of the School is overseen by an Executive Director who reports directly to the Board and is responsible for approximately 50 employees. This Foundation is among the leaders in the world of providing assistance to the visually, hearing and physically impaired. For further information on the Lions Foundation of Canada or more details on their programs, please go to our links page and click on Lions Foundation ofCanada..

We encourage you to join in our mission of providing safety, mobility, independence and confidence to Canadians with disabilities. Your support helps us to achieve our commitment of service. Together we can make an incredible difference.

For a better understanding and insight into the programs offered by the Lions Foundation of Canada please view the following videos: Dog Guides PSA with Subtitles and Descriptive Video - YouTube


The Lions Foundation of Canada Website can be viewed by clicking the following link: