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

Table of contents

Do you have questions about Ontario's Service Dog Program? Slightly over 2 There are approximately 6 million people in Ontario 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. Additionally, it can allow people with disabilities to take part in society in a more secure and independent manner.

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

  • Tenant or Landlord
  • Employer
  • Employee
  • Owner of a Company
  • Related person
  • Citizen or resident
  • An Individual Considering Obtaining a Service Dog
  • Someone who is simply curious

You will have a thorough understanding of service dogs in Ontario by the time you finish this guide, including what they are, what they do, where they are allowed, questions you can ask the service dog handler, whether or not the dog needs to be certified or registered, and the rules for public businesses and housing. Let's get started, or you can check out the Service Dog Organizations in Ontario [Directory] I wrote. Service Dogs Ontario @katelynburelleOpens in a new tab.Everest, the Multitasking Service Dog @katelynburelle

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

An Overview of the Service Dog Legislation in Ontario

The following statutes provide legal protections for people with disabilities in Ontario: service dog laws Ontario @the_working_willowOpens in a new tab.Willow, the service dog, tweets at @the_working_willow.

In Ontario, what qualifies as a service animal?

Customer Service Standard of the AODA,Opens in a new tab.Animals are considered service animals under the Customer Service Standard of the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) if:

  1. Visible indicators, such as a harness or vest, can be used to...
  2. Service animal users must present documentation (such as a letter) from a licensed medical professional stating that their service animal's presence is necessary due to a disability.
  • An individual with a disability can benefit from the assistance of a Service Dog.
  • The dog aids in overcoming some of the impairment's practical restrictions.
  • When accompanied by their handler or owner, service dogs are granted special privileges in public spaces.
  • In most public places, service animals are welcome, including movie theaters, restaurants, doctors' offices, hotels, and government buildings.
Choosing a Breed for a 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 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.Lucy the Service Ibe from Kylie's "Lucy on Duty"

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.

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.A Canine Good Citizen in Canada
service dog laws in Ontario Canada @luna_exploregonOpens in a new tab.Featured image by @luna_exploregon.

Registration for Ontario Service Dogs

In the same vein as the USA, service dogs in Ontario are not required to be registered. This is required by the AODA and the Human Rights Code of Ontario. Certificates or other forms of identification are not required for service animals. However, owners of service animals may be asked to show proper identification. A simple letter or prescription from a doctor stating that the animal is required due to a medical condition.

It's important that the paperwork be either:

  • Medical records from a licensed practitioner
  • Guide dog owners in Ontario can get an identification card from the Ministry of the Attorney General.

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 users' lack of computer literacy for financial gain. 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

For the purposes of this Part, an animal is considered a service animal for a person with a disability 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 Act to Improve Access for Persons with Disabilities in Ontario

Members of the following academies are considered regulated health professionals:

So, to sum up...

  • One who specializes in hearing and speech disorders
  • Chiropractor
  • Nurse
  • The Occupational Therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Physician
  • Surgeon
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Counselor or psychotherapist
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Having a Service Dog

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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 (@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 to get you started with your new best friend, the service animal. 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.

These canines are trained to:

  • Assisting with routine and other responsibilities
  • 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

Ontario Disability Types for which Dogs Can Help

Impairments can take many forms.

  • To be Seen or Not Seen
  • Existing at birth
  • Evolutionary process
  • Accidentally induced
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."Remmi" the Working Collie @working.collie.remmi

Some examples of impairments

  • Lack of sight or total blindness
  • Problems with hearing or total deafness
  • Problems Communicating
  • 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
  • Having a seizure disorder, like epilepsy
  • Disabilities of the Mind
  • Impairments in learning
  • Disorders of development
  • Problems with one's mental health
Service animals Ontario @snow_leopard_81Opens in a new tab.Snow Leopard, a blue heeler, tweets at @snow_leopard_81.

Service Dog Duties: a Few Examples

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
  • Pulling and pushing on drawers and cupboards
  • Shopping bags in hand
  • 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
  • Setting alarms to remind patients to take their medication
  • Bringing a person medication and a bottle of water (during a panic attack, for instance)
  • Hearing-impaired individuals can set up alerts for the doorbell, the phone, the fire alarm, and their own 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 patient in order to facilitate a psychological shift from the flight-or-fight response to a more calm and relaxed state.
  • Putting a stop to harmful or repetitive actions by the handler (Autism, PTSD).
  • Preventing an attack or protecting someone who is having 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.Bishop, the Future Service Dog @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? Multiple choices and paths are available.

  • You could get a dog from a shelter or a pet store and train it yourself (it takes about two years to fully train a service dog).
  • Alternatively, you can adopt a dog and train him yourself with the guidance of a professional dog trainer.
  • One more choice that may be available is to acquire a service dog from a reputable training facility. It's possible that you or someone you know could benefit from a non-profit or charity that has a lengthy waiting list and/or application process. If you're looking for a growing list of service dog organizations in Ontario, check out my article on the subject.
German Shepherd service dog Ontario @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.Service dog in training (SDiT) Lucy the Services Ibe is Kylie's "Where I Go, You Go" companion.

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.
  • You can get a service dog that is both ethical and high-quality from a wide variety of other sources.  

Trained service dogs are also available from a wide variety of non-government organizations and commercial enterprises. They could also assist you in training your own Psychiatric service dogs Ontario @sarge.in.serviceOpens in a new tab.Therapy Dog "Sarge" (@sarge.in.service) for Mental Health

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

The dog training industry is currently highly unregulated, so proceed with caution. In Ontario, this is also the case for service dogs.

Therefore, it is crucial to prepare thoroughly. 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.Service Dog In Training (SDiT) @lucytheservicesibe is Kylie's "Where I Go, You Go" motto.

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.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 psychological challenges.

  1. Do it yourself dog training
  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. All of the above, or none of them
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"

Psychiatric service dogs are service dogs that have been specially 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. Here are a few examples of such responsibilities:

  • Awakening someone from a bad dream or at a predetermined time
  • Touching and feeling
  • Helping people communicate with one another
  • Getting over social anxiety and feeling more comfortable in large groups of people
  • Acting as a barrier to ease someone into a group of people they may find overwhelming
  • Assisting someone in settling down after experiencing anxiety
  • Helping someone who is anxious or fearful feel more secure
  • Reconnecting a person with the here and now
  • Aiding in the establishment of a secure inner sanctum
  • Delivering water and medicine to those who cannot
  • 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" the Service Dog, Who Can Do It All @eri_servicedog

Ontario Dogs for the Mentally Ill

It should go without saying that acquiring 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. My article on Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) service dogs for the mentally ill is also worth reading.

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

You can get a psychiatric service dog in a few different ways: by training your own dog, by hiring someone to help you train your dog, or by acquiring one from a private business or a charity. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor to obtain a letter of recommendation. Or, see one of the other doctors I recommended.

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 @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
  • 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).
  • Whether a for-profit or non-profit organization is doing the training, the price tag for a single service dog is at least $20,000. Donations and corporate sponsorships are crucial sources of revenue for non-profit organizations.

Accessible Legislation Regarding Service Dogs in Ontario

In Ontario, service animals are legally permitted in all public areas of businesses. Businesses have an obligation to accommodate customers with disabilities by letting them bring their service animals inside.

The only time this isn't the case is if you're in a place that legally doesn't allow service animals (like a hospital operating room).

Taxis, supermarkets, and shopping centers are all examples of public places where it is expected that service animals and their handlers will be welcome, provided that local law does not prohibit service animals.

However, if a facility or business is located in an area where service animals are prohibited by law, then they must make alternative arrangements to ensure that people with service animals can still use them. Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog @bri.and.piperOpens in a new tab.Piper, the Goldendoodle Service Dog for Autism, on Twitter: @bri.and.piper

Can You Demand ID for an Ontario Service Dog?

In Ontario, places that serve the public may request proof that a customer has a service dog. A letter or prescription from one of the aforementioned medical professionals is acceptable. Fake service animals are unfortunately a thing, and they make life difficult for genuine service dog teams who are just trying to live normally.

service dog with friends Ontario @the_working_willowOpens in a new tab."Willow" the Service Dog and Her Pals at @the_working_willow

Access privileges for service animals in Ontario: restrictions and exemptions

OADAOpens in a new tab.Businesses and service providers in Ontario are required to allow service animals in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (OADA). Some parts of food manufacturers' manuals and a few other places are exceptions to this rule.

A person who is disabled and uses a service animal may want or need to go somewhere that is open to the public but does not legally allow service animals or service dogs in Ontario. Medical alert service dog Ontario Goldendoodle @thatlilbearkodaOpens in a new tab.@thatlilbearkoda, Goldendoodle, Service Dog, Medical Alert

Providers still have an obligation to provide suitable alternatives in such cases. This is done to guarantee that the usual level of service is still available to the customer at their usual location.

It's important to note that providers have some flexibility. 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 cases, the service animal may be required to wait elsewhere.

The laws governing service animals must be respected by all businesses. If not, 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 A service dog is not a pet.

A 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 they are not customized to assist a single person with a unique 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

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

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)

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.Complete Instructions for Creating a Therapy Dog
Poodle service dog @cricket_n_saraphenaOpens in a new tab.Dog Trained to Respond to Medical Emergencies @cricket_n_saraphena

Definition of a Companion Dog

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.Thanks to @celestialbordercollies for the photo!

Ontario Service Dogs for Emotional Support

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. In Ontario, there are no regulations for ESAs, and ESAs do not have preferential housing access.

In the U S Access to housing is guaranteed for service animals, but not to the general public.

Landlords in Ontario cannot forbid tenants from owning pets if the animals are used as emotional support animals. Residential Tenancies ActOpens in a new tab.Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act states the following. PTSD Service Dog Ontario Canada There is no standard size or breed for a service dog. @vos_ptsd_servicedogOpens in a new tab.Thanks to @vos_ptsd_servicedog for the photo!

Emotional Support Animal Pet Deposits and Fees

Furthermore, landlords are prohibited from imposing pet fees. The presence of a pet is not grounds for eviction. The types of pets you can have are restricted.

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.Training Service Dog Bishop @bishop.service.dog.in.training What is an emotional support animal? In Ontario, service animals for the emotionally disabled are not recognized. Unlike most service animals, they have not been "task-trained." They might not have any training at all.

Service Dogs in Ontario: Frequently Asked Questions

In Ontario, if a business or other public service asks for proof that a dog is a service dog, the owner must be able to produce documentation from a licensed medical professional. Professions that are acceptable can be found in the table above.

How much does it cost to train a service dog?

Nobody ever claimed that a dog, much less a service dog, would be simple or inexpensive to train. To train a service dog to its full potential can cost tens of thousands of dollars (up to fifty thousand is possible) and take months, if not years.

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_PREFIXhttps://theservicedogs.com/service-dog-organizations-in-ontario/" 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 comfort their owners when they're feeling down? The short answer is no; In Ontario, service dogs for the emotionally disabled are not recognized. In the province of Ontario, landlords are required to accept all pets.

Unlike service animals, ESAs are not typically trained to perform specific tasks. 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.

How to Register Your Dog as an Ontario Service Dog

The question of how to obtain one's own service dog is a common one. A few things are worth keeping in mind.

Not every dog is cut out to be a 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. Keep in mind that dogs don't work indefinitely and don't live nearly as long as humans.

In addition, not all canines are suited to working. 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 offer assistance in this area. Obtaining a reliable service dog can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

Is It Possible to Acquire an Ontario Service Dog Permit

There may be official service dog licenses in some states, provinces, or municipalities, but Ontario is not one of them. Service dogs in Ontario are not required to be registered, certified, or licensed unless such registration or certification is required by local law for all dogs.

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?

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.

Who Can Get an Ontario Service Dog?

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

Ontario's Barrier-Free Access

Accessibility Ontario.Opens in a new tab.Check out Accessibility Ontario if you want to learn more.

ontario.ca/accessibilityOpens in a new tab.Go to ontario.ca/accessibility for more information.
[email protected] is the address to write to.
Dial (1-)416-849-8276
Dial 1-866-515-2025 or 1-800-268-7095 (TTY) toll-free.

twitter.com/ONAccessibilityOpens in a new tab.Follow us on Twitter at @ONAccessibility.

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