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. That's equivalent to nearly 25% of Ontarians. 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. Furthermore, it can allow people with disabilities to take part in society in a more secure and independent manner.

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

  • A homeowner or tenant
  • Employer
  • Employee
  • Instituent founder
  • Related person
  • Citizen or resident
  • Interested Party in 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 my other article, "Ontario Service Dog Organizations" (Directory). Service Dogs Ontario @katelynburelleOpens in a new tab.Everest, Katelyn Burelle's Multipurpose Service Dog

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

The following statutes afford protection to people with disabilities in Ontario: service dog laws Ontario @the_working_willowOpens in a new tab.Twitter handle for service dog "Willow"

In Ontario, what qualifies as a 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. Visual cues such as a harness or vest can be used to spot it; or...
  2. The service animal user must present documentation (such as a letter) from a licensed medical professional stating that the service animal is necessary due to the user's 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 SDiT is on Twitter at bishop.service.dog.in.training.

Animals Used as Service Dogs in Ontario

In accordance with the Customer Service Standard, any kind of animal may be used as a service animal. 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."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

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. Those who rely on service dogs may, however, 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:

  • 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 information on why it is not necessary for genuine service dog teams to be registered, see my article Which Service Dog Registry is Legitimate.

Service Dogs in Ontario - Service Animal Registration in Ontario

You are not

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) 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 provides documentation from a qualified healthcare provider 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
  • Expert in Occupational Therapy
  • Optometrist
  • Physician
  • Surgeon
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Counselor, or Psychiatrist,
Disadvantages and Advantages 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, can do it all.

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.

The sole purpose of this letter is to express your need for a service animal. 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 disability.

Therapy dogs are trained to:

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

Ontario's List of Disabilities That Require a Service Dog

Impediments can take many forms.

  • To be Seen or Not Seen
  • 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.Industrious Collie "Remmi" @working.collie.remmi

Several Disabilities Exposed

  • Lack of sight or total blindness
  • Problems with hearing or total deafness
  • Problems Communicating
  • Disabilities affecting mobility or physical activity (such as paralysis, amputation, poor balance, and/or clumsiness).
  • Damage to the brain
  • Mental disorders like PTSD
  • 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

Almost any kind of disability can be accommodated by training a service dog to perform a specific task. Some of the amazing things these creatures can do to aid humankind include:

Functions of Service Dogs in Ontario:

  • Bringing someone out of a bad dream (PTSD)
  • Diabetic alerting, high/low blood pressure alerting, etc.
  • Wheelchair pulling
  • Adjusting 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.
  • The Laundry
  • Setting alarms to remind patients to take their medication
  • Providing someone with water and medication (during a panic attack, for instance)
  • Those with impaired hearing can set up their service animals to respond to specific sounds (a doorbell, a fire alarm, a phone ringing, or even their handler's name).
  • Walking beside a person as they make their way across a busy street (for those who are blind or have 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."
  • Interrupting the caretaker's harmful or repetitive 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.Bishop, the Future Service Dog @bishop.service.dog.in.training

Where To Find A Service Dog In Ontario

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).
  • One alternative is to get a dog from a shelter and train him or her yourself with the help of a professional.
  • 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. You can find a growing list of Ontario service dog organizations in 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.

Service Dog Training 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. Either they will assist you in training your own, or 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.

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

Therefore, it is necessary to prepare thoroughly. Make sure you check their background and credentials. Numerous groups provide opportunities for professionals to join as members. This ensures that strict norms and ethical practices are adhered to.

Professional Memberships for Service Dogs in Ontario are available 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.

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

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

If you live in Ontario and are in need of a service dog due to depression or anxiety, you have a few options. Feel free to read my piece I wrote on training a service dog to help with anxiety and 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 (you may have to raise money or pay other fees) and see if they can help you out.
  4. Any permutation of the above
how to register a service dog in Ontario @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.Where I Go, You Go at Kylie's and Lucy's on Duty at Kylie's are both tweets by @lucytheservicesibe.

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. These responsibilities can include, for instance:

  • Awakening someone from a bad dream or at a specific time
  • Touching and feeling
  • Helping people communicate with one another
  • Eliminating anxiety when exposed to large groups of people
  • Acting as a barrier to ease someone's transition into a dense human population.
  • 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
  • Assisting in the formation of a secure inner sanctum
  • Provide water and medicine to those who are unable to do so
  • 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," a versatile service dog (@eri_servicedog), has many uses.

Ontario Dogs for the Mentally Ill

In case it isn't clear, getting or training a service dog isn't a breeze. Getting a service dog is not a quick process, whether you train it yourself, hire a trainer, or adopt one. The same holds true when you need a dog to help with your mental health. Let's talk about the process of acquiring an Ontario psychiatric service dog. Read my piece I wrote on Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) service dogs for the mentally ill as well.

Where can I go in Ontario to get a service dog for mental illness?

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. Your first step should be to call your doctor and request 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 @sarge.in.serviceOpens in a new tab.@sarge.in.service, "Sarge," Psychiatric Service Dog

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.
  • Getting the dog for mental health purposes from a charity or non-profit. There may be a lengthy wait time (typically over two years) before a person can receive one of these free, fully trained service dogs from one of these organizations.
  • 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. Funding for nonprofits comes primarily from contributions and sponsorships.

Public Access to Ontario's Laws Regarding Service Dogs

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 the same legal protections.

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 @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. The existence of fake service animals is unfortunate because it 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.Friends of the service dog "Willow" @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). A few food-related exceptions exist, including some clauses 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.Medical alert goldendoodle "Koda" (@thatlilbearkoda)

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

Numerous alternatives exist for 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.

Employers are required by law to accommodate service animals. If they don't, 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 enjoys social situations with many people at once, such as those found in a classroom, nursing home, or hospital.

These dogs may or may not have received training, but they are not customized to assist a single person with a unique disability. In this respect, service dogs and therapy dogs differ significantly. 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.@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.

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.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

Dogs are popular pets because their mere presence can improve the lives of their owners. As a pet, it must also adhere to all applicable regulations and ordinances.

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

Ontario Service Dogs for Emotional Support

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

Emotional support animals are not recognized in Ontario.

The Ontario government does not support emotional support animals. There are no laws in Ontario that protect ESAs, and ESAs cannot gain preferential housing access.

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

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 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. Having a pet will not be grounds for eviction. You are restricted in the types of pets you can keep.

There should be no barriers to housing for people who need to keep their emotional support animals with them. 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." They may have received no training at all.

Questions About Ontario's Service Dog Program

In Ontario, a person who has a service dog may be asked to provide documentation from a medical professional to verify the dog's status as a service dog. Professions that are acceptable can be found in the table above.

Costs associated with training a service dog

Training a dog, especially one to perform a service, is not a simple or inexpensive task. Training a service dog can take a long time and a lot of money (up to $50,000 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 may be obtained for free or at a low cost from a group that matches people in need with dogs. 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 have numerous needs, including sustenance, veterinary care, supplies, possibly insurance, and more.

Psychological Service Dog Education

How do we teach dogs to help people who are experiencing emotional difficulties? The short answer is no; 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."

Can I Register My Dog in Ontario to Be a 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.

It takes a special breed of dog to make a good service dog. It's ideal to begin training when 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. 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?

Ontario is not one of the states, provinces, or municipalities that issue official service dog licenses. Unless local ordinances mandate it for all dogs, service dogs in Ontario do not need to be registered, certified, or licensed.

For service dogs to be allowed into public establishments, their owners must either wear a vest identifying their dog as a service animal or present a letter or prescription from a doctor.

Do Ontario Restaurants Allow Service Dogs?

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 be treated equally in the workplace.

Who Can Get an Ontario Service Dog?

In Ontario, a person with a disability who lives with them may apply for a service dog.

Providing Access in Ontario

Accessibility Ontario.Opens in a new tab.Check out Accessibility Ontario for further details.

ontario.ca/accessibilityOpens in a new tab.See ontario.ca/accessibility for more information.
[email protected] is where you can send an email.
Dial (416) 849-8276
Accessible TTY Line: 1-800-268-7095 Toll-Free: 1-866-515-2025

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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