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 In Ontario alone, there are 6 million people who are disabled. Almost a quarter of the population of Ontario! 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. And it can help make it easier for people with disabilities to take part in society without risk.

This comprehensive guide examines 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

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. If you'd rather skip ahead, I also have a [Directory] of Service Dog Organizations in Ontario, which you can access from this article. 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

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. 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 get assistance from a Service Dog.
  • The dog assists in reducing the impact of the impairment on daily life.
  • Access for service dogs and their handlers in public spaces
  • In most public places, service animals are welcome, including movie theaters, restaurants, doctors' offices, hotels, and government buildings.
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 Used as Service Dogs in Ontario

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

Certification for Service Dogs in Ontario

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

The Canadian Canine Good Citizen Test is a useful tool for ensuring that dogs have been socialized and trained to behave well at home, in public, and around other dogs and people.

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

Ontario Registration for 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. However, owners of service animals may be required to show proof of eligibility. A simple letter or prescription from a doctor stating that the animal is required due to a medical condition.

The paperwork needs to either:

  • Evidence from a certified medical expert
  • 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.

How to Register a Service 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)

Definition of a Licensed Health Care Provider

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

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

(b) the individual provides verification from one of the following licensed medical professionals that they need the animal due to their disability:

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

Any practitioner who holds membership in the following academies is considered to be a regulated health professional:

To rephrase...

  • Professionals in the fields of audiology and speech pathology
  • Chiropractor
  • Nurse
  • Expert in Occupational Therapy
  • Optometrist
  • Physician
  • Surgeon
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Counselor or psychotherapist
The Pros and Cons of Having a Service Dog

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Arguments for and against using a service dog
Multipurpose Service Dog Ontario Canada German Shepherd @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab.Eri, the Multitasking Service Dog @eri_servicedog

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

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 doctor's recommendation letter could also come from another doctor or hospital (as mentioned 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

Who Can Get an Ontario Service Dog?

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

Therapy dogs are trained to:

  • Assisting with routine and other responsibilities
  • 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 Balu, a Portuguese service dog

Ontario's List of Disabilities That Require a Service Dog

Some examples of impairments are:

  • To be Seen or Not Seen
  • Existing from infancy
  • Eventually, it 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."Remmi" the Working Collie @working.collie.remmi

Several Disabilities Exposed

  • Lack of sight or total blindness
  • Deafness or difficulties with hearing
  • Disorders of the Voice
  • Disabilities affecting mobility or physical activity (such as paralysis, amputation, poor balance, and/or clumsiness).
  • Damage to the brain
  • Conditions of the mind like PTSD and others
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Mental retardation
  • Impairments in 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 nightmare (such as PTSD)
  • Diabetic alerting, high/low blood pressure alerting, etc.
  • Wheelchair pulling
  • Adjusting drawers and cupboards
  • Toting a load of groceries
  • Using a bank or credit card to make a purchase
  • For those with PTSD, entering a room requires a thorough search for potential danger.
  • Washing clothes
  • Instructing patients to take their pills at regular intervals
  • Assistance with medication and hydration in the event of a medical emergency (such as a panic attack).
  • Helping the handler hear important sounds (the doorbell, the fire alarm, the telephone ringing, the handler's name).
  • Helping a person who is blind or has low vision cross a busy street.
  • Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) is a method where a service dog applies pressure to a person to help them move from a state of "fight or flight" to one of "rest and relaxation."
  • Helping the caretaker break harmful routines (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: An Enormous Checklist for Working 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).
  • 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. 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.
  • You can get a service dog that is both ethical and high-quality from a wide variety of other sources.  

In addition to public agencies, many non-profits and for-profits provide service dog training. They could also assist you in training your own Psychiatric service dogs Ontario @sarge.in.serviceOpens in a new tab.@sarge.in.service, "Sarge," Psychiatric Service Dog

The dog training industry lacks proper oversight.

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

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

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.

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. 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. 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"

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

  • Awakening someone from a bad dream or at a predetermined time
  • Sensation through touch
  • Helping people communicate with one another
  • Eliminating anxiety when exposed to large groups of people
  • Acting as a barrier to help someone feel more comfortable in a large group of people
  • Facilitating a person's ability to relax after experiencing frustration
  • Helping someone who is anxious or fearful feel more secure
  • Reconnecting a person with the here and now
  • Inspiring a sense of security in one's own quarters
  • Delivering water and medicine to those who cannot
  • Helping Out
  • Facilitating Stability
  • 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, can do it all.

Mental Health Assistance Dogs in Ontario

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 when you need a dog to help with your mental health. 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. 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 when you submit 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.Therapy Dog "Sarge" (@sarge.in.service) for Mental Health

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

  • Whether you choose to train your dog on your own or seek professional or group assistance,
  • It may be expensive to acquire a service dog for mental health purposes through a third-party organization.
  • Buying the dog from a charity or other non-profit institution 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).
  • 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. Support from donors and sponsors is crucial for non-profit organizations.

Public Access to Ontario's Laws Regarding Service Dogs

In Ontario, businesses with public access must accommodate customers with service animals. They have a responsibility to accommodate customers with disabilities by letting them bring their service animals with them everywhere they go.

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

Taxis, grocery stores, and shopping malls are all examples of public places where service animals should be allowed to accompany their handlers if there is no law prohibiting the presence of such animals at such establishments.

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," a goldendoodle, is a service dog for people with autism.

Ontario Service Dogs: Can You Demand ID?

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. Unfortunately, fake service animals do exist, and they create obstacles for genuine service dog teams who are just trying to live normally.

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

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

OADAOpens in a new tab.Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (OADA) mandates that all Ontario businesses and service providers accept and even encourage the presence of service animals. A few food-related exceptions exist, such as specific 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.Koda, the Goldendoodle Service Dog, is a member of the Medical Alert System.

Still, in such cases, service providers must provide suitable alternatives. This is done to guarantee that the usual level of service is still available to the customer at their usual location.

There are a few different paths open to providers. The customer could be served in an area accessible by the animal.

Providers may also accommodate customers whose pets are not welcome at their establishments. In such cases, the service animal may be required to wait elsewhere.

Business establishments are required by law to accommodate service animals. The alternative is that they are 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 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, a pair of therapy dogs (@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.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 Animal

An animal's mere presence can bring comfort to its human companions, which is why dogs make excellent pets. In addition, it must abide by all local ordinances and policies regarding pets.

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

Support Animals in Ontario

Mini Service Horse Service Animal @flirty.the.mini.service.horseOpens in a new tab.U.S. version of the mini service horse "Flirty" @flirty.the.mini.horse

Emotional support animals are not recognized in Ontario.

Ontario does not have any form of ESA recognition. There are no laws in Ontario pertaining to ESAs, and ESAs do not have preferential access to housing.

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 relevant section of the Residential Tenancies Act is 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.This picture was taken by: @vos_ptsd_servicedog

Emotional Support Animal Pet Deposits and Fees

Furthermore, 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, those who need to live with their emotional support animals shouldn't have any trouble doing so. 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 might not even have any 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.

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. Training a service dog from scratch can take months or even years and cost tens of thousands of dollars (up to fifty thousand is possible).

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

A service dog may be obtained for free or at a low cost from a group that matches people in need with dogs. Browse my lists of Canadian and Ontario Service Dog Organizations here: 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." data- They require nutrition, medical attention from a veterinarian, various supplies, possibly even insurance, and more.

Psychological Service Dog Education

How do they teach dogs to help with emotions? The short answer is no; 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.

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

How to Register Your Dog as an Ontario Service Dog

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

A dog's temperament is crucial to its success as 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. 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. 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.

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?

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

Ontario's Barrier-Free Access

Accessibility Ontario.Opens in a new tab.Accessibility Ontario is a great resource for learning more.

ontario.ca/accessibilityOpens in a new tab.Please visit ontario.ca/accessibility for more information.
Write to us at [email protected].
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 @ONAccessibility.

facebook.com/ONAccessibilityOpens in a new tab.Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/ONAccessibility.
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