Frequently Asked Questions: Service Animal Guideline
Frequently Asked Questions: Service Animal Guideline
For more information, consult theService Animals Guideline FAQs
Statement of Commitment
The University of Toronto is fully committed to compliance with theAccessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act(AODA) and the OntarioHuman Rights Code. This includes a commitment to the principle of non-discriminatory treatment in the provision of services, and compliance with the duty to accommodate. For further information on guidelines and legislation related to disability more broadly, visit the University’sAODA Policies webpage.
The University’sStatement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilitiesstates that it is the “University’s goal to create a community that is inclusive of all persons and treats all members of the community in an equitable manner.”
In this spirit, service animals, as defined below, are welcome to accompany persons with disabilities on any of the three University of Toronto campuses, unless one of the exceptions outlined below applies.
This guideline applies to University of Toronto-owned spaces on all three U of T campuses, as well as to Chestnut Residence.
What qualifies as a service animal in Ontario?
Whether an animal will qualify as a service animal for a person with a disability is defined by law in Ontario, primarily in theCustomer Service Standards of theAccessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act(AODA). Those standards indicate that some service animals may be readily identifiable as a result of “visual indicators” worn by the animal that indicate that the animal is being used by a person “for reasons relating to that person’s disability”. An example of such a service animal might be a guide dog with a vest or harness, which is trained to work with a blind person, and which has the qualifications outlined inprovincial laws.
In other cases, it is not readily obvious how the animal is providing support to a person with a disability. In such cases,under Ontario provincial law set out in the AODA, an animal, including an ‘emotional support’ animal, will qualify as a service animal if a person “provides documentation from one of the following regulated health professionals confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability”:
- A member of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Nurses of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario.
Where a member of the University community provides this documentation, the service animal will be welcomed in any of the University of Toronto-owned spaces on all three U of T campuses (barring one of the exceptions noted below). Please note that the health professional providing the documentation must be licensed in the province of Ontario.
Welcoming service animals on our campuses
The University welcomes service animals on our campuses. Here are some of the ways that you can help create an environment where service animals and their owners/handlers feel included in campus spaces:
- Do not request that the owner leave the animal in a different location, such as outside of your office or classroom (unless one of the legal exceptions listed in this guideline applies).
- Avoid petting or talking to a service animal: this distracts the animal from its tasks.
- Not all service animals wear special collars or harnesses. In general, individuals should only be asked to verify whether the animal is a service animal by employees of the University, and only where necessary for a health and safety or operational reason.
- Remember that the owner is responsible for maintaining control over the animal at all times, and for cleaning up after the animal. You may provide water if the owner requests it.
- Do not feed or offer treats to the animal.
Voluntary registration of a service animal with the University
The University has implemented an optional registration process for service animals. This optional process has been created to assist service animals to be integrated seamlessly into the campus life of an individual being accompanied by a service animal. Students wishing to register their service animal should contact their campus’ accessibility service office, and faculty and staff wanting to register a service animal are requested to contact the University’s. Contact details for these offices are found at the end of this guideline. An individual may register their service animal without having to register themselves with accessibility services or Health & Well-being at the University.
The registration of a service animal with the University is not mandatory. However, registering a service animal should minimize the need for the service animal owner/handler to produce health documentation, thereby enhancing their privacy, and reducing their need to carry such documentation with them on campus. Following registration of the animal, the owner/handler will receive an updated T-Card that will include an easily identified symbol confirming that the service animal has been registered with the University. Persons accompanied by a registered service animal can show their T-Card symbol to any staff member inquiring about the presence of a service animal, rather than having to produce medical documentation.
If you lose your TCard, you would first get it replaced at the TCard Office and afterwards notify the department from where you obtained the sticker that you will need a replacement sticker.
The registration process will also assist in addressing in advance any issues or concerns that could potentially arise (such as the health needs of other members of the University community), in navigating any exceptions, and in ensuring that all options for accommodation can be explored. The office assisting with registration of the animal will provide the individual with a registration form that requests additional information about the animal and the types of spaces that the individual typically navigates on campus.
Possible restrictions on service animal access on campus
Service animal access on our campuses may be restricted in some cases, typically due to a health and safety requirement or a local bylaw. Further details on these restrictions are provided below.
If a service animal is required to be excluded from a space on campus, other arrangements will need to be explored in order to provide reasonable accommodations for the person with a disability, up to the point of undue hardship, so as to allow the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the University’s services and facilities. The AODA Office can assist with exploring other arrangements to accommodate the individual.
If you have any questions regarding whether a service animal may need to be excluded for one of the below reasons, please contact the University’s AODA Office directly email@example.com 416-978-7236.
a) Health and safety requirements, including accommodation needs of others
There may be circumstances where a service animal may need to be excluded from a space due to:
- health and safety requirements set out in the law;
- an unreasonable or direct threat to the health or safety of others posed by the service animal’s presence, behaviour, or actions;
- situations where the rights or legally protected interests of others, such as accommodations for disability, conflict with the rights of the person needing the service animal (in which case further guidance should be requested fromthe AODA Officeso that alternative accommodations can be explored); or
- location-specific safety concerns that arise when considering the presence of a service animal.
Regulations under Ontario’sHealth Protection & Promotion Actstate that service animals are permitted in rooms where food is served, sold or offered for sale. Service animals are restricted, however, from rooms where food is prepared, packaged, or handled.
Specific campus locations where the presence of a service animal could raise potential safety concerns, and may need to be excluded, include controlled and high hazard environments such as some laboratories, and medical or dental clinics on campus. When assessing whether to exclude an animal due to a location-specific safety concern or to a threat to others, it is important that those concerns be based on cogent information, rather than speculative threats. Inclusion of a service animal may be possible even in controlled spaces such as laboratories. Individuals accompanied by service animals who will be working in a laboratory or a medical or dental clinic at U of T should speak to the laboratory or clinic supervisor in the first instance. The AODA Office and the University’sEnvironmental Health and Safety Officecan provide assistance with the analysis of what accommodations or arrangements may be possible or necessary in the particular circumstances.
The OntarioHuman Rights Codealso specifically identifies health and safety risks as a relevant factor in assessing the duty to accommodate up to the point of undue hardship. Each situation is unique, and if there are safety concerns or questions, members of the community are encouraged to contact the AODA Office directly for assistance.
b) Laws prohibiting the keeping of certain types of animals
Local laws such as theCity of Toronto Municipal Code (Chapter 349) and the City of MississaugaAnimal Care and Control By-Law (98-04) prohibit the keeping of certain types of animals. ‘Keeping’ is defined by both of these laws as having temporary or permanent control or possession of an animal. Examples of prohibited animals and birds in both the City of Toronto and the City of Mississauga are ducks, monkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, wolves, peacocks, pheasants, horses, and ponies.
Further, theDog Owner’s Liability Actbans pit bull dogs in Ontario. A pit bull is defined as a pit bull terrier, a Staffordshire bull terrier, an American Staffordshire terrier, an American pit bull terrier, and a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristic substantially similar to any of those dogs.
There may be rare instances in which a member of the University community has received documentation from a listed regulated health professional indicating the individual’s need for a service animal that is prohibited under the municipal or provincial laws listed above. In such cases, the individual seeking to bring the service animal to campus should contact the AODA Office to discuss options for accommodating their particular disability needs.
c) General considerations regarding restrictions on service animals
If you have any questions about any of this Guideline’s definitions or restrictions, please contact the University’s AODA Office directly firstname.lastname@example.org 416-978-7236.
Members of the University community shall treat an individual accompanied by a service animal with dignity and respect. A decision to exclude a service animal from a campus space must take into account all relevant legal requirements, as well as the principles in the Statement of Commitment above.
University staff are strongly encouraged to work with the AODA Office, accessibility services offices (for student concerns) or Health & Well-being Programs & Services (for faculty and staff concerns), as well as with the person accompanied by a service animal to ensure that all options for accommodating their needs are carefully considered.
If a service animal is excluded from a campus space, other arrangements will need to be explored in order to provide reasonable accommodations for the person with a disability, up to the point of undue hardship, so as to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the University’s services and facilities. The AODA Office can facilitate this exploration of other arrangements.
Behaviour and presence of service animals
Members of the University community are expected to provide a welcoming environment for those being accompanied by service animals. At the same time, the behaviour and presence of service animals will be expected to meet reasonable standards regarding behaviour, noise, odour, and waste. When on campus, the owner/handler of the service animal will be solely responsible for the supervision of the service animal. This will normally involve ensuring control through appropriate restraint methods, as necessary, and the keeping of the animal in close proximity to the owner/handler. Service dogs should be kept on a leash, as required by the municipal laws referenced above. For any questions regarding behavioural issues, contact the AODA Office email@example.com 416-978-7236.
Students living in University residence who are accompanied by service animals
Students living in residence buildings on our campuses should inform their residence prior to moving in that they will be accompanied by a service animal. To help with this process, it is also recommended that students complete the registration process mentioned in the ‘Voluntary registration of a Service Animal with the University’ section. This guideline applies to University of Toronto-owned residence buildings, including Chestnut Residence.
Service animals in training
The University is supportive of individuals who are training a future service animal, and who wish to bring a service animal in training to one of our campuses. Given that service animalsin trainingare not legally-protected service animals, however, before the animal in training is brought onto a campus, the AODA Office should be contacted directly firstname.lastname@example.org advice on approval processes by the faculty/division or office where the animal will be predominantly located. Once faculty or office-level approval has been received, it is a best practice for students to notify their instructors in advance that they intend to bring a service animal in training to class. Instructors are not obligated to allow a service animalin trainingin their class.
‘Stress-relieving’ student events involving animals
From time to time, University community members may wish to have animals (usually dogs) temporarily present on campus for various ‘stress-relieving’ events, such as Exam Jams. The University recognizes the de-stressing effects that animals may have in some circumstances for some students. When organizing such events, planners should make every effort to seek out organizations that offer certified and vetted animals who are accompanied by vetted and trained handlers. Groups should also be mindful that the presence of animals might cause discomfort or anxiety for some community members. The same standards of behaviour outlined in the ‘Behaviour and presence of service animals’ section of this guideline also apply to such animals.
To discuss stress-relieving events involving animals, please contact the University’s AODA Office directly email@example.com 416-978-7236.
The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association recommends the administering of twosets of core vaccines, one for dogs and one for cats. This includes the rabies immunization, a legal requirement under theHealth Protection and Promotion Act.
Pets on Campus rules more generally
For the University’s general rules regarding non-service animals (i.e. pets) on campus, please review U of T’sPets on Campus Guideline.
For all general questions regarding service animals and to provide feedback on this Guideline:
AODA Office at the University of Toronto
See alsoFAQs on the Guideline
Students: questions regarding registering a service animal
St. George Campus
Faculty & staff: questions regarding registering a service animal
Health & Wellbeing Programs & Services
Please be polite, courteous and respectful at all times. Remember that not everyone you encounter will be knowledgeable about Service Dogs, your rights or the ADA. Be prepared to explain what tasks your dog is trained to complete to help manage your disability. You do not need to explain your disability.How can you tell a real service dog from a fake? ›
Proof that the animal has been trained, certified, or licensed as a service animal. Require that the animal wear identifying tags or vests. Ask for the dog to demonstrate its ability to perform tasks or do work.What animals are recognized as service animals CVS? ›
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.Which of the following questions may we ask about service animals? ›
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.What are the 3 questions you can ask about a service animal? ›
- Medical documentation in relation to their disability;
- Documents in regard to the animal's training or certification; and.
- A demonstration of the animal performing a task.
If airline personnel are not certain of the animal's status, even after being told that an animal is a service animal, additional questions may be asked, including: What tasks or functions does your animal perform for you? What has the animal been trained to do for you?What percent of service dogs are fake? ›
I have a service dog, and it only takes seconds to spot a fake one. Probably 90 percent of the service dogs out there are fake from my own experience. They are big problem dealing with them. My dog still gets distracted from them and I've had to get in-between my dog and theirs to prevent Jack from being attacked.How do people prove they have a guide dog? ›
Some guide dog schools do provide ID cards and people may choose to show ID for their dogs under certain circumstances, but this is a personal choice, not something a public entity can require.Can service dogs wear e collars? ›
E-collars are not permitted for therapy dog training. In fact, most training collars are not permitted. A therapy dog should be calm and allow people to pet it with out any equipment on whatsoever. On a side note, some dogs just don't have what it takes to be a therapy dog.What do the color of service dog vests mean? ›
The ADA does not state that service dogs need vests in any particular color. There is no official guidance about what different colors mean when it comes to service dog vests. The most common colors are red and blue, or purple for purple heart veterans with PTSD.
Some common mental disabilities that qualify someone for an emotional support animal (ESA) are anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, chronic stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder.What's the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog? ›
Service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) giving them public access rights. A therapy dog is trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas.What do you say when asked about a service animal? ›
If you don't want to reveal anything about your disability, you can respond with a list of things service dogs can do like “Service dogs can help out with many things—they can alert to sounds, seizures, migraines, panic attacks and other mental illness, retrieve dropped items for people with mobility impairments, and ...What questions can be asked about an emotional support animal? ›
They may only ask two questions if it is not obvious what service the dog provides: (1) Is the animal required because of a disability; and (2) What work has it been trained to perform? No further proof is required. Any animal, not just dogs, can be an ESA. ESAs do not require individual training.What are good questions to ask about animals? ›
- True or False: ...
- Through what part of the body do dogs sweat? ...
- What bird can fly backward? ...
- What dog breed has a black tongue? ...
- What mood has a cat when its tail is curled like a question mark? ...
- What is the name of the richest cat in the world until 2018? ...
- What bird has the largest wingspan?
- 1.) Structural Imbalances or Issues. ...
- 2.) Genetic Illness. ...
- 3.) Vision or Hearing Problems. ...
- 4.) Unsuitable Size. ...
- 5.) Overweight or Obese. ...
- 6.) Timidity. ...
- 7.) Reactivity. ...
- 8.) Aggression.
The difference between an ESA and PSD lies in how they provide support to their owners. A PSD must be trained to perform tasks related to the owner's disability. By contrast, ESAs do not require any specialized training. ESAs provide comfort for their owners just by being present during times of difficulty.Can my service dog sit on my lap during a flight? ›
Onboard the aircraft
Your service animal must be permitted to accompany you in the space under the seat in front of you. Certain small service animals may be permitted to sit on your lap, if it can be done so safely. Your service animal cannot block a space that must remain unobstructed for safety reasons (ex.
You can bring pee pads and let it do its business in the bathroom. They are trained to eliminate on command, though, and a handler would make use of the pet relief areas before the flight and during connections.Do I need a PSD letter to fly with my dog? ›
If you're flying with a psychiatric service dog to or from the U.S., there is only one document you need to fill out. All airlines accept the Department of Transportation's Service Animal Air Transportation Form as proof that you have a psychiatric service dog.
Due to the rigorous requirements, many service dog candidates will not become service dogs. As many as 50-70% of the candidates do not complete the training. This does not mean that the dog is not a wonderful animal.Are service dogs clingy? ›
The dogs tend to be more clingy and attentive to their caregivers. Those 'velcro dogs' are just what we need when training service dogs, especially for conditions such as diabetes or seizures where the dogs have to pay close attention to changes in the person's physical condition.Can service dogs make mistakes? ›
Service dogs are not robots, they are not perfect.
In reality, they have bad days, off days, sick days and can make mistakes. A highly-trained service dog will perform well 98% of the time, but the other 2% can cause severe stress if you expect perfection, that is too much pressure for both you and your dog.
Guide dogs are the guiding eyes for people who are blind or visually impaired. Service dogs are assistance dogs for people with disabilities other than blindness. These dogs are specially bred and trained for this most important job.Do guide dog owners have to pick up poop? ›
Legally guide dog owners don't have to pick up their dog's poo. However, Guide Dogs encourage owners to pick it up if they can. On training owners are taught how to do this without being able to see it.What does a judge look for in a dog show? ›
The main consideration is the dog's conformation or overall appearance, temperament and structure. The judges are looking for characteristics that allow the dog to perform the function for which his or her breed was bred.Why do service dogs wear harnesses? ›
A service dog wearing a vest lets the community know they are trained and prepared to act in the event of an emergency. A service dog wearing a vest also signals to the public that they aren't there to play. Dogs are loveable and engaging animals.Should a dog sleep in an e-collar? ›
All veterinarians and dog trainers would agree that the collar is not designed to be a 24/7 accessory. Another good reason to remove it at night is nonstop wear could cause fur to break off leading to irritation or infection.Should service dogs wear prong collars? ›
Specific types of collars to be used on a service dog. Service dogs may work in whatever equipment a handler deems optimal, be that a flat buckle collar, check chain, prong collar, head collar, or any other piece of equipment.What does a purple dog coat mean? ›
Assistance Dogs, Support Dogs or Dogs for the Disabled assist people with many different tasks ranging from alerting people when their owner has a seizure, carrying items, loading and unloading washing machines and many other tasks. They wear a purple coloured coat.
Blue – The dog is a service animal. It's training or working, so don't disturb it. White – The dog has difficulty hearing or seeing, or is completely blind/deaf. Purple – Don't feed anything to the dog.What does a purple vest on a dog mean? ›
Assistance dogs trained by Canine Partners wear purple and assist with a range of daily tasks that may be difficult, painful or impossible to perform. Image caption, Assistance dogs carry out activities such as unloading the washing machine, shopping and opening and closing doors. Image caption, Support dogs wear blue.What animal is best for anxiety? ›
These are some of the best emotional support animals for mental health. The best small pets for anxiety include rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds. These animals help lower blood pressure, regulate heartbeat, better self-esteem, and keep the mind preoccupied.What disqualifies a dog from being an emotional support animal? ›
Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an emotional support dog, also called an emotional support animal (ESA), the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness.What are the service dog commands for anxiety? ›
However, other commands used include: “Nudge,” “Lap/Visit,” and “Snuggle.” All of these commands are used and focused on relieving any stress and anxieties the handler may be feeling. “Nudge” is often used when the dog detects higher levels of anxiety.What is another name for a service dog? ›
While the terms “service dog,” “therapy dog,” and “emotional support animal” are often used interchangeably, these three types of animals have very distinct roles and qualifications. This resource is designed to clarify the roles among dogs that are geared to improve human health.What should a service dog letter say? ›
[Patient name] has certain limitations which affect his/her activities of daily living. To assist in alleviating these difficulties, and to enhance his/her ability to live independently, I am prescribing a service dog [or Emotional Support Animal] that will assist in coping with his/her disability.What makes a good service animal? ›
The best service dogs are smart and have temperaments that make them easy to train as well as reliable, calm under pressure, and not easily distractible. Breeds that have long histories of these traits and are purposely bred to maintain these qualities make the best service dogs.What is the most common emotional support animal? ›
Dogs. Being man's best friend, dogs are the most common type of emotional support animal. Dogs are loyal and loving making them great companions to their owners.Does ADHD qualify for an emotional support animal? ›
Under ADA guidelines, to be considered an Emotional Support Animal, the owner must have a diagnosed psychological disability or condition, such as an anxiety or personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ADHD, depression, or other mental health disabilities.
- What is the slowest animal in the world? ...
- How many years can a snail sleep for? ...
- Which animal has no vocal cords? ...
- How many eyes does a honey bee have? ...
- What is a female donkey called? ...
- How many hearts does an octopus have? ...
- What type of animal is a Flemish Giant?
The issues of animal ethics include: Why do non-human animals deserve protection? Do non-human animals have rights? If they do have rights, why do they have rights?
- Fleas can jump 350 times its body length.
- Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards.
- Crocodiles cannot stick their tongue out.
- Starfish do not have a brain.
- Slugs have 4 noses.
- Only female mosquitoes bite.
- Polar bear skin is black!
- The only mammal capable of flight is the bat.
Please don't touch, talk, feed or otherwise distract the dog while he is wearing his harness or vest. You should allow the dog to concentrate and perform for the safety of his handler. Don't treat the dog as a pet; give him the respect of a working dog. Speak to the handler, not the dog.How do you greet a service dog? ›
- Check in With the Owner. Approach the owner and ask if you can pet the dog. ...
- Remember the Rules. Follow any instructions the owner gives you. ...
- Don't Rile the Dog Up. One of the main issues with letting people pet or greet service dogs is that it can distract the dog from their work. ...
- Be Respectful.
Whether the dog is in service or in training to serve, the rule of thumb is: don't touch or distract him. This is because interacting with a dog that is working or training could put the other half of his team — his owner — in harm's way.Can you say hi to a service dog? ›
The canine has a harness that reads "SERVICE DOG." While many of us know that we shouldn't touch a service dog, our first instinct may still be to say hi, wave, or try and get its attention. Even though these actions may seem harmless, they are really distracting and dangerous.What three questions can you ask about a service dog? ›
A. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?