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

Table of contents

Is the topic of Ontario Service Dogs intriguing you? There are roughly 2 There are approximately 6 million people in Ontario who are disabled. One in every three Ontarians As an aid to their handicap, some people rely on service dogs.

This is significant because it has the potential to offer essential assistance with regular tasks and routines. Furthermore, it can allow people with disabilities to take part in society in a more secure and independent manner.

Different perspectives on service dogs in Ontario are presented in this comprehensive guide. To whom this manual may be of use:

  • A homeowner or tenant
  • Employer
  • Employee
  • Instituent founder
  • Related person
  • Citizen or resident
  • 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. Let's get started, or you can check out my other article, "Ontario Service Dog Groups" (Directory). Service Dogs Ontario @katelynburelleOpens in a new tab.Everest, Katelyn Burelle's Multipurpose Service Dog

Ontario's Service Dogs
Service dog certification Ontario Portuguese service dog Balu

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, tweets at @the_working_willow.

Definition of an Ontario Service Animal

Customer Service Standard of the AODA,Opens in a new tab.An animal is considered a service animal in accordance with the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) Customer Service Standard if:

  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.
  • 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.
Choosing a Breed for a Service Dog
Service Dog in training Ontario bishop.service.dog.in.trainingOpens in a new tab.Bishop, the SDiT (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 on Duty" by Kylie Minogue, aka @lucytheservicesibe

Certification for Ontario Service Dogs

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.

To make sure dogs are well-mannered at home, in public, and around other dogs and people, the Canadian Canine Good Citizen Test can be helpful.

  • Canadian Canine Good Citizen Opens in a new tab.The Canine Good Citizen of Canada
service dog laws in Ontario Canada @luna_exploregonOpens in a new tab.Featured image by @luna_exploregon.

The Ontario Registry for Service Dogs

Service dogs in Ontario do not require registration, just like in the US. Legally, this is a violation of the AODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code. Neither a license nor proof of registration is required for a service animal. However, owners of service animals may 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 paperwork needs to 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. Watch out for websites that prey on the ignorance of internet users in order to make a profit. In my article Which Service Dog Registry is Legitimate, I explain why it is not necessary for legitimate service dog teams to be registered.

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

No, you

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

Who exactly is a Health Care Provider?

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

a) the animal's vest or harness clearly indicates that it is being used by a person in connection with that person's disability; or b) the animal's behavior indicates that it is being used in this way.

(b) the individual presents documentation from one of the following licensed medical professionals attesting to the necessity of the animal due to the disability:

Ontario Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Opens in a new tab.The Ontario Disability Support Program Act

Members of the following academies are considered regulated health professionals:

To rephrase...

  • One who specializes in hearing and speech disorders
  • Chiropractor
  • Nurse
  • A professional in the field of occupational therapy
  • Optometrist
  • Physician
  • Surgeon
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Counselor, or Psychiatrist,
Benefits and Drawbacks of Having a Service Dog

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Difficulties and benefits 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. 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

Ontario Service Dogs: Eligibility Requirements

In Ontario, a service dog can be obtained by anyone who has a qualifying disability.

Therapy dogs are trained to:

  • Assist with routine and ad hoc tasks
  • Enhance people's well-being 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

Incapacity may take the form of:

  • Whether or not it is visible
  • Always be there
  • Eventually evolved
  • Accidentally induced
Service Dogs can help people with a number of different disabilities Ontario People with a wide range of disabilities, both visible and invisible, can 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 examples of impairments

  • Inability to see or total blindness
  • Problems with hearing or total deafness
  • Problems Communicating
  • Impairments to one's physical capabilities (such as weak muscles, a lack of sensation, or impaired balance and/or coordination)
  • 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, Blue Heeler, @snow_leopard_81

Service Dog Duties, as an Illustration

Dogs trained as service animals can assist people in a wide range of ways. Some of the amazing things these creatures can do to aid humankind include:

Functions of Service Dogs in Ontario:

  • Reviving a sleepwalker (PTSD sufferers)
  • Warning of high or low blood pressure (as in Diabetes) or low blood sugar levels
  • Wheelchair pulling
  • Adjusting drawers and cupboards
  • Toting a load of groceries
  • Using a bank or credit card to make a purchase
  • Fear of entering a strange room due to a perceived threat (post-traumatic stress disorder).
  • Doing the wash
  • Setting alarms to remind patients to take their medication
  • Providing someone with water and medication (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.
  • 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."
  • 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 Service Dog-in-Training Twitter Handle

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 (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 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. Non-profits and charities often have lengthy application processes and/or waiting lists, but they may be a viable option for you or a loved one in need. You can find a growing list of Ontario service dog organizations in my article.
German Shepherd service dog Ontario @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.Where I go, you go: Service Dog in Training @lucytheservicesibe is Kylie's 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.
  • You can get a service dog that is both ethical and high-quality from a wide variety of other sources.  

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 @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. This holds true in most cases, and in Ontario, it also applies to service animals.

Therefore, preparation is key. Make sure you check their background and credentials. Numerous groups provide professional development opportunities and memberships. 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.Where I go, you go: Service Dog in Training @lucytheservicesibe is Kylie's 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

Ontario's 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. 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. Get some help training the dog from an expert.
  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.Lucy the Service Ibe on Twitter: "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. For more information on the tasks that a psychiatric service dog may be asked to perform, see my article Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks - 17 Examples. These responsibilities can include, for instance:

  • Forcing someone to awaken from a bad dream or at a specific time
  • Touch sensation
  • 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 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
  • Delivering water and medicine to those who cannot
  • Aiding oneself
  • Helping with equilibrium
  • Continually prompting a patient to take their medication.
  • Destabilizing a mountain of feelings
service dog registration Ontario @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab."Eri," a versatile service dog, can do it all.

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. Discuss obtaining a service dog for mental health in Ontario. You may also be interested in reading my piece on Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) service dogs for the mentally ill.

When I need a Psychiatric Service Dog in Ontario, who do I contact?

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. You can also seek help from another qualified medical expert, as described above.

Any service dog organization worth its salt will require this as part of your application. 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.@sarge.in.service, "Sarge," Psychiatric Service Dog

Obtaining a service dog for mental health in Ontario can be done in a few different ways:

  • 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 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.

Public Access to Ontario's Laws Regarding Service Dogs

In Ontario, service animals are legally permitted in all public areas of businesses. 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.

A service animal and its handler are entitled to the same access to public accommodations, such as taxis, supermarkets, and shopping malls, as everyone else, so long as no such access is prohibited by local law.

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 dogs 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

Service Dog ID Required in Ontario?

Service providers in Ontario may request proof that a dog is trained to assist a disabled customer. A letter or prescription from one of the aforementioned medical professionals is acceptable. False service animals are unfortunately a common occurrence, creating obstacles for genuine service dog teams.

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

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.

Options for providers are limited but not nonexistent. It's possible that they'll provide service in an area accessible to the animal.

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

Business establishments are required by law to accommodate service animals. If not, they're obstructing justice. There may be repercussions

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 No one should treat a service dog like a pet

Definition of a Therapy Dog

A therapy dog is typically a pet that has met and interacted with many people in a variety of settings, including classrooms, nursing homes, and hospitals.

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 Dogs who volunteer as therapy animals are typically beloved family pets who enjoy making the rounds to spread cheer and ease the stresses of everyday life. 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.

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.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

Definition of a Companion Dog

An animal's mere presence can bring comfort to its human companions, which is why dogs make excellent pets. Furthermore, 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

Obedience Training Dogs in Ontario

Mini Service Horse Service Animal @flirty.the.mini.service.horseOpens in a new tab.The Miniature Service Horse Known as "Flirty" in the United States of America

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.

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.The Residential Tenancies Act specifies this in Section 14. 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 Fees

Moreover, no pet fees may be imposed by landlords. 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.Bishop, the Future Service Dog @bishop.service.dog.in-training 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

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. For a complete list of approved experts, see above.

Costs associated with training a service dog

Nobody ever claimed that training a dog, much less a service dog, would be simple or inexpensive. Training a service dog can be extremely expensive (up to $50,000 is possible) and time-consuming (months to years).

If you're trying to figure out whether or not getting a service dog is the right choice for you, my article outlining the benefits and drawbacks of having one can help guide you in the right direction.

A service dog may be obtained for free or at a low cost from a group that matches people in need with dogs. Check out my lists of Canadian and Ontario-specific Service Dog Organizations: a href="MY_REDIRECT_PREFIXhttps://theservicedogs.com/service-dog-organizations-in-ontario/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Service Dog Organizations in Ontario. img src="/image/empty.gif" alt="Opens in a new tab." They require nutrition, medical attention from a veterinarian, various supplies, possibly even insurance, and more.

Psychological Service Dog Education

What sort of training do dogs that help people deal with their emotions go through? To put it plainly, no, they are not. Ontario does not recognize the use of service animals for emotional support. 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.

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.

A dog's temperament is crucial to its success as a service dog. You'll have more time with your dog after training is complete if you begin when it's young. It's important to remember that dogs have limited lifespans and can't work indefinitely.

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. Start with a puppy and a dog trainer or look for a group that can assist you. 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 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 canine companions wear identification tags or have a letter from a physician prescribing the use of a service animal in order to gain access to any establishment that caters to the general 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.

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.Please go to ontario.ca/accessibility.
To contact the Ontario government's Accessibility Office, write to [email protected].
Contact Number: 1(416)849-8276
Accessible TTY Line: 1-800-268-7095 Toll-Free: 1-866-515-2025

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

facebook.com/ONAccessibilityOpens in a new tab.On Facebook: www.facebook.com/ONAccessibility
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