FAQs and Detailed Information on Service Dogs in Ontario [2023].

Table of contents

Do you have questions about Ontario's Service Dog Program? There are roughly 2 There are approximately 6 million people in Ontario who are disabled. Almost a quarter of the population of Ontario! As an aid to their handicap, some people rely on service dogs.

Because of its potential to lend critical assistance with regular tasks and life, this is of paramount importance. In addition, it can help those with disabilities gain greater access to and opportunities for participating in society without risk.

This comprehensive guide explores the role of service dogs in Ontario from several angles. You are in the right place if you are:

  • Tenant or Landlord
  • Employer
  • Employee
  • Owner of a Company
  • Close relative
  • Citizen or resident
  • A potential recipient of a service dog
  • Someone who is simply curious

This guide will help you learn all about service dogs in Ontario, including what they do, where they're allowed, questions you can ask the handler, if the dog needs to be certified or registered, policies for public buildings and housing, and much more. Let's get started, or you can check out my other piece, "Ontario Service Dog Organizations" (Directory). Service Dogs Ontario @katelynburelleOpens in a new tab.Everest, Katelyn Burelle's Multipurpose Service Dog

Pet Therapy Dogs in Ontario
Service dog certification Ontario Balu, a Portuguese service dog

An Outline of the Service Dog Legislation in Ontario

The following statutes afford protection to people with disabilities in Ontario: service dog laws Ontario @the_working_willowOpens in a new tab."Willow" the service dog, @the_working_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. A letter or other document from a licensed medical professional attesting to the service animal's necessity due to the user's disability must be presented.
  • An individual with a disability can get assistance from a Service Dog.
  • 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.
Choosing the Right Breed of Service Dog
Service Dog in training Ontario bishop.service.dog.in.trainingOpens in a new tab.Bishop, the Service Dog in Training @bishop.service.dog.in.training

Animals Trained to Help People 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.Lucy the Service Ibe from Kylie's "Lucy on Duty"

Certification for Service Dogs in Ontario

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

Making sure dogs are well-mannered at home, in public, and around other dogs and people is made easier with the help of 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 for Ontario Service Dogs

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. Neither a license nor proof of registration is required for a service animal. Those who rely on service dogs may, however, be asked to show proof of their status. The letter/prescription from the doctor explaining the disability and the need for the animal is all that is required.

The required paperwork must either:

  • Medical records from a licensed practitioner
  • 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 are. For more information on why it is not necessary for genuine service dog teams to be registered, see my article Which Service Dog Registry is Legitimate.

Guide to Registering an Assistance Dog in Ontario

There is no

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

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.

A member of one of the following academies is considered to be a regulated health professional:

So, to sum up...

  • One who specializes in hearing and speech disorders
  • Chiropractor
  • Nurse
  • Specialist in Occupational Health
  • Optometrist
  • Physician
  • Surgeon
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Counselor or psychologist
The Pros and Cons of Having a Service Dog

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The benefits and drawbacks of having a service dog
Multipurpose Service Dog Ontario Canada German Shepherd @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab."Eri," a versatile service dog (@eri_servicedog), has many uses.

Bringing Your Service Animal Somewhere May Require a Doctor's Note

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. Your medical recommendation letter could also come from another doctor besides the ones we listed above.

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?

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

The purpose of a service dog is to:

  • Assist with routine and ad hoc tasks
  • Enhance people's quality of life and ensure their safety
  • Allow people to take advantage of a variety of options
service dog for depression and anxiety Ontario Portuguese service dog Balu

Ontario's List of Disabilities That Require a Service Dog

A disability may take the form of:

  • Whether or not it is seen
  • Always be there
  • Evolutionary process
  • Accidentally triggered
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

Several Disabilities Exposed

  • Having trouble seeing or total blindness
  • Deafness or difficulties with hearing
  • Problems Communicating
  • Disabilities affecting one's ability to move around physically (such as paralysis, amputation, poor balance, and/or clumsiness).
  • Brain damage
  • Mental disorders like PTSD
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Disabilities of the Mind
  • Disorders of learning
  • Disorders of development
  • Disorders of the mind
Service animals Ontario @snow_leopard_81Opens in a new tab.Snow Leopard, Blue Heeler, @snow_leopard_81

Service Dog Duties, as an Illustration

Almost any kind of disability can be accommodated by training a service dog to perform a specific task. Here are just a few of the many ways in which these incredible animals can aid humankind:

Jobs for Ontario's Service Dogs:

  • Bringing someone out of a nightmare (such as PTSD)
  • Warning of high or low blood pressure (as in Diabetes) or low blood sugar levels
  • A wheelchair being towed
  • Adjusting drawers and cupboards
  • Toting a load of groceries
  • Making a purchase using a credit or debit card
  • Fear of entering a strange room due to a perceived threat (post-traumatic stress disorder).
  • Washing clothes
  • Notifying patients of when it's time to take their medication
  • Providing someone with water and medication (during a panic attack, for instance)
  • Hearing-impaired people can have their handlers alerted to the sound of the doorbell, the fire alarm, the phone ringing, or even their own name.
  • Helping a person who is blind or has low vision cross a busy street.
  • 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."
  • Helping the caretaker break harmful routines (autism, PTSD).
  • Helping someone who is having a seizure or protecting them during one
  • 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 bishop.service.dog.in.trainingOpens in a new tab.Training Service Dog Bishop @bishop.service.dog.in.training

How to Obtain an Ontario Service Dog

Where can you obtain a service dog if you decide you need one? Several possibilities and approaches exist.

  • 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).
  • You can also choose to adopt a dog and train him yourself with the guidance of a professional dog trainer.
  • Alternatively, one could consider acquiring a service dog from a reputable organization. Some of these organizations are non-profit or charity groups and have very long waiting lists and/or a lengthy application process, but it still may be a valid option for you or someone you know 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

  • Please be aware that ADI will only accept applications for accreditation or membership from formally recognized nonprofit 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.  

Trained service dogs are also available from a wide variety of non-government organizations and commercial enterprises. You could also get assistance in training your own Psychiatric service dogs Ontario @sarge.in.serviceOpens in a new tab.Therapy Dog "Sarge" Tweets at @sarge.in.service

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

Be wary, though, because dog training is currently a highly unregulated industry. In Ontario, this is also the case for service dogs.

Therefore, it is necessary to prepare thoroughly. Check their background and credentials before hiring them. Numerous groups provide opportunities for professionals to join as members. This guarantees adherence to strict norms and ethical guidelines.

Membership Options for Working Dog Agencies in Ontario

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).

Association of Qualified Dog Trainers in 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.Cricket and Saraphena, Service Dogs for the Medically Impaired

Accessing an Ontario Service Dog for Emotional Support

In Ontario, there are a few different routes you can take to acquire a service dog for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Feel free to read my piece I wrote on training a service dog to help with anxiety and other psychological challenges.

  1. Instruct the dog or puppy on your own.
  2. Use expert guidance when dog-training.
  3. Find a group that trains service dogs and see if they can help you out (you might have to raise money or pay for something else).
  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 about the tasks that a psychiatric service dog may be asked to perform, check out my article Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks - 17 Examples. Here are a few examples of such responsibilities:

  • Awakening someone from a bad dream or at a predetermined time
  • Touching and feeling
  • Promoting Communication and Community
  • Eliminating anxiety when exposed to large groups of people
  • Acting as a barrier to ease someone into 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
  • Facilitating the development of a secure inner world
  • Provide water and medicine to those who are unable to do so
  • Helping Out
  • Facilitating Stability
  • Continually prompting a patient to take their medication.
  • Overwhelming feelings are interrupted
service dog registration Ontario @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab."Eri," a versatile service dog, tweets as "@eri_servicedog."

Ontario Dogs for the Mentally Ill

It should go without saying that getting or training a service dog is no picnic. Getting a service dog is not a quick process, whether you train it yourself, hire a trainer, or adopt one. 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 obtained in a few different ways: through self-training, assisted-self-training, or 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. If you ever need to take your service dog on a plane with you, this letter will be essential. Ontario service dog @sarge.in.serviceOpens in a new tab.Therapy Dog "Sarge" (@sarge.in.service) for Mental Health

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

  • By yourself, with the assistance of professional dog trainers, or through some other group
  • Spending a lot of money on a private organization's psychiatric service dog program
  • Buying the dog from a charity or other non-profit institution Although 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.

Service Dog Legislation in Ontario: Available Online

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.

Taxis, supermarkets, and shopping centers are all examples of public places where it is expected that service animals and their handlers will be welcome because there is no law prohibiting the presence of such animals.

However, if a business is located in an area where service animals are prohibited by law, that establishment must make alternative arrangements to ensure that customers with service animals have equal access to their products and services. 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?

It is legal in Ontario for businesses and other public service providers to request proof that a customer has a service dog. A prescription or letter from a doctor from the aforementioned fields is acceptable. Sadly, fake service animals do exist, and they create hassles 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 "Willow" Service Dog and Her Colleagues at @the_working_willow

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

OADAOpens in a new tab.All Ontario businesses and service providers must allow service animals in accordance with OADA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act). Few exceptions exist, mostly pertaining to food, such as certain subsections in 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, the Goldendoodle Service Dog, is a member of the Medical Alert System.

Providers still have an obligation to provide suitable alternatives in such cases. This is done to guarantee that the customer is still able to receive the service normally provided at that address.

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

Providers may also be able to accommodate customers whose pets are not welcome at their establishment. In such a case, the service animal might have to find a new place to wait.

The laws governing service animals must be respected by all businesses. If not, they're obstructing justice. Threat of Legal Action

Businesses and service providers who make reasonable accommodations for customers with service animals demonstrate their dedication to serving people of all abilities. service animals are not pets Ontario A service dog is not a pet.

The Definition of 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. This is the key distinction between a service dog and a therapy dog. What is a Therapy Dog? Ontario, Canada A therapy dog is typically an individual's pet that travels to various locations to spread happiness and ease stress. Therapy Dog in Canada @eddieandboomerOpens in a new tab.Eddie and Boomer, the therapy dogs, on Twitter: @eddieandboomer

Many people benefit from the presence of therapy dogs, and their owners take them everywhere they go.

The presence of a friendly, calm animal can have a calming effect on people who are confined in stressful environments like hospitals, schools, and other institutions. therapy dog Ontario @eddieandboomerOpens in a new tab.Eddie, the Therapy Dog @eddieandboomer

Despite the fact that therapy dogs aren't afforded the same public access privileges as service dogs, they serve a vital purpose.

  • Training a Therapy Dog, The Ultimate GuideOpens in a new tab.How to Raise and Train a Dog to Be a Therapy Animal
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 of the many ways in which they can improve their owners' lives. And it has to abide by the same ordinances and regulations that apply to other pets.

Because they are not specifically trained to assist a disabled person, companion animals are not considered service dogs.   Border Collie Service Dog @celestialbordercolliesOpens in a new tab.Celestial Border Collies / Instagram

Support Animals in Ontario

Mini Service Horse Service Animal @flirty.the.mini.service.horseOpens in a new tab.Miniature service horse "Flirty" [USA] @flirty.the.miniature.horse

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.Residential Tenancies Act Section 14 states the following. PTSD Service Dog Ontario Canada All sizes and breeds of dogs are acceptable to serve as service animals. @vos_ptsd_servicedogOpens in a new tab.This picture was taken by: @vos_ptsd_servicedog

Emotional Support Animal Pet Deposits and Fees

Furthermore, landlords are prohibited from imposing pet fees. Having a pet will not be 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 @bishop.service.dog.in.trainingOpens in a new tab.Bishop, the Service Dog-in-Training Twitter Handle What is an emotional support animal? Ontario does not recognize emotional support animals. Unlike most service animals, they have not been "task-trained." Possible lack of training

Service Dogs in Ontario: 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).

Check out my article on the benefits and drawbacks of getting a service dog to help you make up your mind, or read up on how to choose the best service dog breed to suit your 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_PREFIXhttps://theservicedogs.com/service-dog-organizations-in-ontario/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Service Dog Organizations in Ontario and a href="https://theservice Food, veterinary care, supplies, possibly insurance, and more are all necessities.

Psychological Service Dog Education

How do dogs learn to help people who are experiencing emotional distress? To put it plainly, no, they are not. 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.

Emotional support animals are not typically task-trained like service animals. This means that although ESAs may be trained in basic dog obedience, they are not required to perform any additional tasks or services for their disabled handlers.

Can I Register My Dog in Ontario to Be a Service Dog?

It's a common question how one can acquire a service dog. A few things are worth keeping in mind.

It takes a special breed of dog to make a good service dog. You'll have more time with your dog after training is complete if you begin when it's young. Keep in mind that dogs don't work indefinitely and don't live nearly as long as humans.

Furthermore, some canines were clearly meant to work and others were not. Your current pet may not be the best "prospect" for a future career as 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 offer assistance in this area. Obtaining a reliable service dog can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

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 local ordinances mandate it for all dogs, service dogs in Ontario do not need to be registered, certified, or licensed.

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.

Do Ontario Restaurants Allow Service Dogs?

Wherever the general public is allowed to go (with some exceptions like operating rooms and other sterile environments), service dogs are welcome to accompany their handlers. 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.Accessibility Ontario is a great resource for learning more.

ontario.ca/accessibilityOpens in a new tab.Click here: ontario.ca/accessibility
Write to us at [email protected].
Dial (416) 849-8276
Dial 1-866-515-2025 or 1-800-268-7095 (TTY) toll-free.

twitter.com/ONAccessibilityOpens in a new tab.On Twitter: @ONAccessibility

facebook.com/ONAccessibilityOpens in a new tab.Like us on Facebook: ONAccessibility
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