Answers to All Your Questions About Service Dogs in Ontario [2023]

Table of contents

Is the topic of Ontario Service Dogs intriguing you? Slightly over 2 Ontario is home to 6 million people who are disabled. Almost a quarter of the population of Ontario! An assistance dog is used by some people with disabilities.

This is significant because it has the potential to offer essential assistance with regular tasks and routines. And it can help make it easier for people with disabilities to take part in society without risk.

This comprehensive guide explores the role of service dogs in Ontario from several angles. To whom this manual may be of use:

  • A homeowner or tenant
  • Employer
  • Employee
  • Owner of a Company
  • Related person
  • Community Participant
  • An Individual Considering Obtaining a Service Dog
  • A curious observer who wants to know more

This guide will help you learn all about service dogs in Ontario, including what they are and what they do, where they are allowed, questions you can ask the handler, if the dog needs to be certified or registered, and the regulations for public businesses and housing. You can continue reading this article, or you can visit my other one, Service Dog Organizations in Ontario [Directory]. Service Dogs Ontario @katelynburelleOpens in a new tab.Everest, Katelyn Burelle's Multipurpose Service Dog

Assistance Dogs in Ontario
Service dog certification Ontario Balu, a Portuguese service dog

The following statutes provide legal protections for people with disabilities in Ontario: service dog laws Ontario @the_working_willowOpens in a new tab.Twitter handle for service dog "Willow"

The Definition of an Ontario Service Animal

Customer Service Standard of the AODA,Opens in a new tab.The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) defines a service animal as one that meets the following criteria:

  1. Visible indicators, such as a harness or vest, can be used to...
  2. Individuals who require the assistance of a service animal due to a disability must present appropriate documentation (such as a letter) from a licensed medical professional.
  • A Service Dog is trained to assist a person with a disability.
  • The dog aids in overcoming some of the impairment's practical restrictions.
  • Access for service dogs and their handlers in public spaces
  • Any public place (with a few exceptions) is accessible to people with disabilities, including the theater, the restaurant, the doctor's office, the hotel, and the government building.
Breed Choice for a Working Dog
Service Dog in training Ontario in a new Bishop, the Service Dog in Training

Animals Used as Service Dogs in Ontario

No specific breed or type of service animal is required in order to comply with the Customer Service Standard. service dog training Ontario @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.A "Lucy on Duty" tweet from Kylie's @lucytheservicesibe

Certification for Service Dogs in Ontario

There is currently no system in place in Ontario for certifying or testing Service Dogs. Canadian Canine Good Citizen testOpens in a new tab.The Canadian Canine Good Citizen test is highly recommended for canine citizenship.

Dogs can be tested for their social skills and manners in the home, in public, and around other dogs and people with the Canadian Canine Good Citizen Test.

  • Canadian Canine Good Citizen Opens in a new tab."Canadian Good Citizen Dog"
service dog laws in Ontario Canada @luna_exploregonOpens in a new tab.Thanks to @luna_exploregon for the photo!

Registration of Service Dogs in Ontario

Service dogs in Ontario do not require registration, just like in the US. This is required by the AODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code. Certificates or other forms of identification are not required for service animals. However, owners of service animals may be asked to show proof of their status. A simple letter or prescription from a doctor stating that the animal is required due to a medical condition.

The required paperwork must either:

  • Evidence from a certified medical expert
  • A guide dog user's identification card issued by the Ministry of the Attorney General in Ontario.

Like the rest of the world, there is no such thing as a legitimate "registration" for service animals. You should be wary of websites that prey on those who aren't as tech-savvy as you. For more on why it is not necessary for genuine service dog teams to be registered, see my article Which Service Dog Registry is Legitimate.

How to Register an Assistance Animal in Ontario - Service Dogs Ontario

There is no

how to get a service dog in ontario @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.@lucytheservicesibe Where I Go, You Go by Kylie Minogue

Definition of a Licensed Health Care Provider

(4) An animal is considered a service animal for the purposes of this Part if,

(a) visual indicators, such as a vest or harness, make it clear that the animal is being used by the person for reasons related to the person's disability; or

(b) the individual provides documentation from a licensed medical professional stating that the animal is necessary due to the individual's disability.

Ontario Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Opens in a new tab.The Ontario Disability Act ensures equal access for all Ontarians.

Members of the following academies are considered regulated health professionals:

So, to sum up...

  • One who specializes in hearing and speech disorders
  • Chiropractor
  • Nurse
  • Expert in Occupational Therapy
  • Optometrist
  • Physician
  • Surgeon
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Counselor or psychotherapist
Arguments for and against using a service dog

Allow JavaScript in your browser.

The Pros and Cons of Having a Service Dog
Multipurpose Service Dog Ontario Canada German Shepherd @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab."Eri," a versatile service dog, can do it all.

Medical documentation of your service animal's necessity may be required.

A simple letter from your doctor may be all that's required if you decide that getting a service animal is the right choice for you. As mentioned up top, you could also obtain your letter from another doctor.

This letter will merely explain why a service dog is necessary for you. It doesn't have to be super detailed or tell the whole story of your life. Service Dogs Amusement Parks Ontario @dog.human.duoOpens in a new tab."Kodiak," the service dog, @dog.human.duo

Who Can Get an Ontario Service Dog?

A service dog is available to anyone in Ontario who has a disability.

Therapy dogs are trained to:

  • Assist with routine and ad hoc tasks
  • Enhance people's quality of life and ensure their security
  • Make available a variety of options
service dog for depression and anxiety Ontario Balu, a Portuguese service dog

Disability Types in Ontario That Require the Use of Service Dogs

Examples of impairments include:

  • In plain sight or not
  • Existing from infancy
  • Eventually evolved
  • Because of a mishap
Service Dogs can help people with a number of different disabilities Ontario Invisible and visible impairments alike benefit from the assistance of service dogs. ontario Canada service dog laws @working.collie.remmiOpens in a new tab.@working.collie.remmi, the working dog kitty

Some specific types of impairments

  • Disabling Eyesight or Complete Blindness
  • Problems with hearing or total deafness
  • Disorders of the Voice
  • Disabilities affecting one's ability to move around physically (such as paralysis, amputation, poor balance, and/or clumsiness).
  • Damage to the brain
  • Conditions of the mind like PTSD and others
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Disabilities of the Mind
  • Disorders of learning
  • Disabilities in development
  • Problems with one's mental health
Service animals Ontario @snow_leopard_81Opens in a new tab."Snow Leopard" the Blue Heeler, @snow_leopard_81 on Twitter

Service Dog Duties, as an Illustration

Dogs trained as service animals can assist people in a wide range of ways. Here are just a few of the many ways in which these incredible animals can aid humankind:

Jobs for Ontario's Service Dogs:

  • Rousing a sleeper (a person suffering from PTSD, for instance)
  • Diabetic alerting, high/low blood pressure alerting, etc.
  • A wheelchair being towed
  • Adjusting drawers and cupboards
  • Toting a load of groceries
  • Using a bank or credit card to make a purchase
  • For those with PTSD, entering a room requires a thorough search for potential danger.
  • Washing clothes
  • Instructing patients to take their pills at regular intervals
  • Assistance with medication and hydration in the event of a medical emergency (such as a panic attack).
  • Helping the handler hear important sounds (the doorbell, the fire alarm, the telephone ringing, the handler's name).
  • Crossing a street with a guide (for the blind or those with low vision).
  • Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) is a method in which a service dog applies pressure to a person in order to ease them out of their heightened state of "fight or flight."
  • Putting a stop to harmful or repetitive actions by the handler (Autism, PTSD).
  • Keeping someone safe who is having a seizure, or helping them afterward,
  • The Giant List of Service Dog Tasks (K9 Total Focus) Opens in a new tab.K9 Total Focus' Enormous Checklist of Duties for Service Dogs
Ontario service dog registration in a new tab.Bishop, the Future Service Dog

Obtaining an Ontario Service Dog

Where can you obtain a service dog if you decide you need one? Multiple choices and paths are available.

  • You could get a dog (or a puppy) from a shelter and train it to be a service animal for yourself (this process can take up to two years).
  • Adopting a dog and training him yourself with the guidance of a professional dog trainer is another possibility.
  • Alternatively, you could consider acquiring a service dog from a reputable organization. Non-profits and charities often have extensive application processes and lengthy waiting lists, but they may be a viable option for you or a loved one in need. To see the expanding list of Ontario service dog organizations, please read my article.
German Shepherd service dog Ontario @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.Service Dog in Training (SDiT) @lucytheservicesibe is Kylie's "Where I Go, You Go" motto.

Training for Service Dogs in Ontario

  • Note that ADI only accepts applications for membership and accreditation from preexisting non-profit or charitable programs.
  • If you or someone you know needs a service dog but is concerned about where to get one, there are plenty of other options.  

Many non-government groups and businesses also provide service dogs that have undergone extensive training. They could also assist you in training your own Psychiatric service dogs Ontario in a new tab.Therapy Dog "Sarge" ( for Mental Health

There is a lack of oversight in the dog training industry.

Be wary, though, because dog training is a relatively unregulated market right now. In Ontario, this is also the case for service dogs.

Consequently, preparation is key. Make sure you check their background and credentials. Numerous groups provide opportunities for professionals to join as members. This guarantees adherence to strict norms and ethical guidelines.

Check out the benefits of becoming a professional member of Service Dogs Ontario here:

Service dog in training German Shepherd Ontario. Canada @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.In training service dog for Kylie's "Where I Go, You Go" campaign, Lucy (@lucytheservicesibe).

Canine Professional Trainers of Canada

Canadian Association of Professional Dog TrainersOpens in a new tab.If you live in Canada and need information or assistance training a service dog, the Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers is a fantastic place to start.

You can: Medical alert service dog Poodle @cricket_n_saraphenaOpens in a new tab.Service Dog for the Elderly @cricket_n_saraphena

Ontario Guide to Obtaining a Service Dog for Depressive and Anxious Individuals

In Ontario, there are a few different routes you can take to acquire a service dog for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Read my piece I wrote on training a service dog to help with anxiety and other mental health issues if you're interested.

  1. Do it yourself dog training
  2. Use expert guidance when dog-training.
  3. Find a group that trains service dogs (you might have to raise money or pay for one in some other way).
  4. Any permutation of the above possibilities
how to register a service dog in Ontario @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.@lucytheservicesibe "Kylie's Where I Go, You Go" and "Kylie's Lucy On Duty"

A psychiatric service dog is a service dog specifically trained to assist people with mental health issues. If you're interested in learning more, you can read my articles Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks - 17 Examples or Psychiatric Service Dog Training. These responsibilities can include, for instance:

  • Awakening someone from a bad dream or at a predetermined time
  • Touching and feeling
  • Promoting Communication and Community
  • Getting over social anxiety and feeling more comfortable in large groups of people
  • Acting as a barrier to help someone feel more comfortable in a large group of people
  • Facilitating a person's ability to relax following an outburst
  • Providing stability to someone struggling with anxiety and fear
  • Restoring someone to the here-and-now
  • Aiding in the establishment of a secure inner sanctum
  • Delivering water and medicine to those who cannot
  • Aiding oneself
  • Helping with equilibrium
  • Nagging someone until they take their medication is called "nagging"
  • Overwhelming feelings are interrupted
service dog registration Ontario @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab.Eri, the Multitasking Service Dog @eri_servicedog

Ontario Dogs for the Mentally Ill

It should go without saying that getting or training a service dog is no picnic. It will probably not be a quick process whether you train the dog yourself, hire a trainer to assist you, or acquire a dog from an organization. The same holds true if you require a service dog for mental health reasons. Let's talk about the process of acquiring an Ontario psychiatric service dog. You may also be interested in reading my piece on Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) service dogs for the mentally ill.

How Do I Obtain an Assistance Dog for Mental Health in Ontario?

A psychiatric service dog can be acquired in a few different ways: through self-training, assisted-self-training, or acquisition from a for-profit or non-profit organization. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor to obtain a letter of recommendation. You can also seek help from another qualified medical expert, as described above.

This is something that any service dog organization you apply to will want to see in your application materials. This letter is also required if you plan on taking your service dog on a plane with you. Ontario service dog in a new tab.Therapy Dog "Sarge" ( for Mental Health

In Ontario, a psychiatric service dog can be obtained through a few different channels:

  • Whether you choose to train your dog on your own or seek professional or group assistance,
  • It may be expensive to acquire a service dog for mental health purposes through a third-party organization.
  • Buying the dog from a charity or other non-profit institution Even though these groups typically offer free, fully trained service dogs to those in need, waiting lists can be extremely lengthy (in some cases exceeding two years).
  • It costs at least $20,000 to train a single service dog, whether a for-profit business or a charity is doing the work. Funding for nonprofits comes primarily from contributions and sponsorships.

Accessible Legislation Regarding Service Dogs in Ontario

In Ontario, it is the law for all businesses that are open to the public to allow service animals inside. Customers with disabilities should be allowed to bring their service animals with them at all times.

Only in restricted areas (such as a hospital operating room) are service animals not permitted.

Wherever the general public is permitted to go, such as in taxis, supermarkets, and shopping malls, service animals must also be permitted to accompany their handlers under federal law.

But if a business is located in an area where service animals are prohibited by law, it must make alternative arrangements to ensure that customers with service animals can still access their establishment. Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog @bri.and.piperOpens in a new tab."Piper" the Goldendoodle Service Dog for Autism @bri.and.piper

Can You Demand ID for an Ontario Service Dog?

In Ontario, places that serve the public may request proof that a dog is trained to assist a person with a disability. A letter or prescription from one of the aforementioned medical professionals is acceptable. The existence of fake service animals creates obstacles for genuine service dog teams who are just trying to live normally.

service dog with friends Ontario @the_working_willowOpens in a new tab.@the_working_willow and "Willow," a service dog, have some fun.

Ontario's Access Rights for Service Animals: Some Restrictions and Exceptions

OADAOpens in a new tab.Service animals are permitted in all Ontario establishments and services per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (OADA). Only a few niches exist, mostly related to food production, such as certain subsections of food manufacturers

An individual who requires the assistance of a service animal may want or need to visit a public place that does not welcome service animals or service dogs under Ontario law. Medical alert service dog Ontario Goldendoodle @thatlilbearkodaOpens in a new tab."Koda," a Goldendoodle, is a service dog that can alert you to medical emergencies.

Still, in such cases, service providers must provide suitable alternatives. This is done to guarantee that the customer is still able to receive the service normally provided at that address.

There are several paths open to providers. The customer could be served in an area where the animal has free access.

Providers may also accommodate customers whose pets are not welcome at their establishments. Depending on the situation, the service animal might have to wait elsewhere.

Business establishments are required by law to accommodate service animals. Because if they don't, they're obstructing justice. There may be repercussions

By accommodating customers with service animals, businesses and service providers demonstrate their dedication to serving everyone. service animals are not pets Ontario Animals in need of a service dog are not considered pets.

What Exactly Is a Therapy Dog?

In social settings like those found in classrooms, nursing homes, and hospitals, therapy dogs are typically owned by people who enjoy interacting with many people.

These dogs may or may not have received training, but regardless, they are not tailored to assist anyone with a particular disability. For this reason, service dogs and therapy dogs are not the same thing. What is a Therapy Dog? Ontario, Canada A therapy dog is typically a family pet that takes great pleasure in making numerous visits to people of all ages and backgrounds in order to bring them comfort and happiness. Therapy Dog in Canada @eddieandboomerOpens in a new tab.@eddieandboomer, Eddie the therapy dog, and Boomer.

People in a variety of settings benefit from the presence of therapy dogs because their owners take them there.

Positive effects of having a friendly, calm animal to pet, hold, or be around have been observed for people confined to medical facilities, schools, and other institutional settings. therapy dog Ontario @eddieandboomerOpens in a new tab.Eddie, the Therapy Dog @eddieandboomer

Although therapy dogs are valuable, they are not afforded the same public access privileges as service dogs.

  • Training a Therapy Dog, The Ultimate GuideOpens in a new tab.The Complete Guide to Educating a Therapy Dog
Poodle service dog @cricket_n_saraphenaOpens in a new tab.Service Dog for Emergency Medical Response @cricket_n_saraphena

Just What Is a Companion Animal?

Dogs are popular pets because their mere presence can improve the lives of their owners. In addition, it must abide by all local ordinances and policies regarding pets.

Dogs that have not been trained to assist a specific disabled person are not considered service animals.   Border Collie Service Dog @celestialbordercolliesOpens in a new tab.Celestial Border Collies / Instagram

Support Animals in Ontario

Mini Service Horse Service Animal in a new tab.Miniature Service Horse "Flirty" [USA]

Emotional support animals are not recognized in Ontario.

Ontario does not have any form of ESA recognition. There are no ESA-related laws in Ontario, and ESAs cannot gain preferential housing access.

In the U S Housing rights for service animals are different from access rights in public places.

Tenants in Ontario are protected from discrimination by landlords who forbid pets because of their emotional support function. Residential Tenancies ActOpens in a new tab.Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act states the following. PTSD Service Dog Ontario Canada Dogs trained to assist the disabled can be of any size or breed. @vos_ptsd_servicedogOpens in a new tab.Thanks to @vos_ptsd_servicedog for the photo!

Animal Care Costs for Emotional Support Animals

Moreover, no pet fees may be imposed by landlords. The presence of a pet is not grounds for eviction. You are restricted in the types of pets you can keep.

Therefore, tenants who rely on emotional support animals shouldn't have any trouble finding a place to live that allows pets. service dog in training Ontario in a new tab.Bishop, the Future Service Dog What is an emotional support animal? Ontario does not recognize emotional support animals. Unlike most service animals, they are not "task-trained." Possible lack of training

Ontario's Service Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions

Businesses and other public service providers in Ontario may request proof from a medical professional that a dog in their establishment is in fact a service dog. For a complete list of approved experts, see above.

How much does it cost to train a service dog?

Training a dog, especially one to perform a service, is not a simple or inexpensive task. Training a service dog from scratch can take months or even years and cost tens of thousands of dollars (up to fifty thousand is possible).

Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of getting a service dog by reading my article, or get started in the right direction by reading about how to choose the best service dog breed for your lifestyle and needs.

A service dog can be obtained from a group that matches people in need with dogs for free or a nominal fee. Service Dog Organizations in Ontario and the rest of Canada can be found in my respective directories, which can be accessed via the following links: a href="MY_REDIRECT_PREFIX" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Service Dog Organizations in Ontario and a href="https://theservice They require nutrition, medical attention from a veterinarian, various supplies, possibly even insurance, and more.

Psychological Service Dog Education

How do dogs learn to help people who are experiencing emotional difficulties? They aren't, to put it simply. In Ontario, service dogs for the emotionally disabled are not recognized. In Ontario, landlords are required to accept all pets, including those used for emotional support.

Unlike service animals, ESAs are not typically trained to perform specific tasks. Even though some ESAs are dogs, they are not required to perform any duties for their disabled owners beyond "being there."

How to Register Your Dog as an Ontario Service Dog

How one can acquire one's own service dog is a common question. A few things are worth keeping in mind.

Not any dog can make a good service dog. It's ideal to begin training while the dog is still a puppy so that you can enjoy him or her for as long as possible afterward. It's important to remember that dogs have limited lifespans and can't work indefinitely.

There are also dogs that aren't suited to working and those that are. It's possible that the dog you have now isn't the best "prospect" for a service dog. You can begin with a puppy and the assistance of a dog trainer, or you can look for a group that can provide assistance in this area. Ways and means abound for acquiring a reliable service dog.

Does Ontario Issue Licenses for Service Dogs?

There may be official service dog licenses in some states, provinces, or municipalities, but Ontario is not one of them. Unless your municipality has a law requiring all dogs to be licensed, you do not need to register or certify your service dog in Ontario.

Those who rely on service dogs while out in public must ensure that their dogs are properly attired in service dog vests, and that they have a letter or prescription from a doctor authorizing the use of the dog in public.

Can Ontario Service Dogs Eat Out with Their Owners?

With a few exceptions (operating rooms and other sterile environments, for example), service dogs are welcome to accompany their handlers virtually everywhere the general public is allowed to go. Disabled people must not be subject to workplace bias.

In Ontario, Which Individuals May Receive a Service Dog?

In Ontario, a service dog is available to anyone who needs one due to a disability.

Providing Access in Ontario

Accessibility Ontario.Opens in a new tab.Check out Accessibility Ontario for further details. in a new tab.Check out if you need help with accessibility.
Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.
Dial (1-)416-849-8276.
Dial 1-866-515-2025 or 1-800-268-7095 (TTY) toll-free. in a new tab.On Twitter: @ONAccessibility in a new tab.Join us on Facebook at
Applying for Gun Licensing in Ontario: A Guide by GTA Guns and Gear
Applying for Gun Licensing in Ontario: A Guide by GTA Guns and Gear

Are you interested in purchasing firearms in Ontario? In Canada, firearms can be classified into three categories:Non-restricted (e.g.: most modern hunting firearms, including rifles and shotguns)Restricted (e.g.: primarily handguns)ProhibitedTo legally obtain non-restricted firearms and ammunition in

Author: Bramy Bones Author: Bramy Bones
Posted: 2023-08-03 00:57:16
The Conclusion of the Esso Extra Rewards Program
The Conclusion of the Esso Extra Rewards Program

The following regulations will take effect on January 1st, 2021 for existing members of the Esso Extra program who joined before October 6th, 2020. For new members who joined on or after October 6th, 2020, these rules will be effective immediately.The regulations outlined below pertain to the Esso

Author: Bramy Bones Author: Bramy Bones
Posted: 2023-08-03 00:25:16
Dialing between Europe and the Rest of the World
Dialing between Europe and the Rest of the World

To make a call from a phone in Italy, simply dial 001 followed by your desired number. Many Americans feel apprehensive about dialing European phone numbers, but there's no need to worry. With the help of these guidelines and a comprehensive list of calling codes for Europe, the process becomes quite

Author: Bramy Bones Author: Bramy Bones
Posted: 2023-08-03 00:22:51
Paying FedEx Duties Online: A Guide for Canadian Residents in 2023
Paying FedEx Duties Online: A Guide for Canadian Residents in 2023

If you have ordered an item from another country, you may have to pay shipping duties on your package. These duties are specific taxes and fees that are applied to your package by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and are usually paid through the shipping company. However, you might be wondering

Author: Bramy Bones Author: Bramy Bones
Posted: 2023-08-03 00:22:49
Showing page 1 of 46

Explore useful tips about everything around you and together improve your life with! - since 2022

Gen in 0.0998 secs