Welcome to Emotional Support Dogs Ontario
Emotional support dogs, or emotional support animals, are not recognized by the Ontario government. However, this doesn’t mean that people in Ontario don’t have them. In this guide, we’ll discuss the facts about emotional support animals in Ontario and ease confusion regarding emotional support animals in public, in housing, during air travel, and in other situations. Let’s dive into this! Related Article: Service Dogs Ontario – Comprehensive Guide & FAQs.
Snapshot of Emotional Support Dogs Ontario
- The province of Ontario does not recognize emotional support dogs
- Ontario does not have any specific laws about emotional support dogs and there is no additional housing access for ESAs
- Landlords in Ontario cannot prevent tenants from owning pets; this is according to Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act
- Landlords can not charge pet fees
- Renters can’t be evicted for having a pet
- There are some limits on what kinds of pets renters may have
- Canadian air carriers can refuse to accept emotional support animals on board (in the aircraft cabin), but they can still travel as pets
- Emotional support dogs can be prohibited from businesses and public places since they are not service dogs
Disability & Service Dog Laws in Ontario
- The Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
- Bill 80, Ontario Service Dogs Act
- Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act
Emotional Support Dogs in Public Places in Ontario
Not to sound silly or anything, but service dogs and emotional support dogs are not exactly the same thing. In Ontario, emotional support animals, including emotional support dogs, can be excluded from public places. In other words, businesses and other public places can prohibit emotional support dogs. However, keep in mind that Ontario seems to love dogs, and there are many places that are dog or pet-friendly where emotional support dogs would of course be welcomed.
Service animals have training to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. Emotional support animals provide comfort and security. However, they do not have training for specific tasks. Therefore, emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals under the AODA. Service providers are not required to allow support animals on their premises. Providers may ask for proof that a customer’s animal is a service animal, unless it is visibly obvious that the person has a disability and is relying on the animal. For instance, if a dog is clearly guiding a customer who is blind, providers should know without asking that this animal is a guide dog.Service Animal Laws for Ontario Workplaces
Emotional Support Dogs Ontario – Residential Tenancy Act
Landlords and other housing providers are not permitted to prohibit pets in Ontario. Therefore, someone with an emotional support dog or emotional support animal should generally not have a problem keeping their animal in a residential situation. Of course, there are some exceptions and some circumstances where the residential tenancy act doesn’t apply.
“No pet” provisions voidResidential Tenancy Act, Ontario
Who do residential tenancy rules apply to in Ontario?
- Most private residential rental units
- Private residential rental units in single and semi-detached houses
- Apartments and condominiums
- Secondary units (for example, basement apartments)
Some types of rentals aren’t included:
- University and college residences
- Commercial properties
Residential Tenancy Ontario – Pets/Animals
- A tenancy agreement in Ontario cannot prohibit animals in the rental unit or in or around the residential building
A landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict a tenant who has a pet under certain circumstances. These are some of the most common examples:
- The animal makes too much noise, damages the unit or causes other tenants to have allergic reactions
- The breed or species of animal is inherently dangerous
- The rules of the condominium corporation do not allow pets
Air Travel with Emotional Support Animals in Canada
According to Canada.ca…
Service dogs differ from emotional support animals because they receive special training in order to perform specific tasks to support people with disabilities. Given their different purpose and training requirements, emotional support animals do not hold the same certifications or status as service dogs. Major Canadian carriers can refuse to accept emotional support animals on board. In such circumstances, regular animal (pet) travel rules and fees may apply.Canada.ca
Canadian Transportation Agency on Traveling with Emotional Support Animals on Aircraft
Emotional support dogs have been growing in popularity over recent years. Naturally, more and more people have been wanting to fly with their emotional support animal or dog in the cabin of aircraft. The Canadian Transportation Agency, after much research, has issued a final decision related to traveling with Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).
The Agency determined that air carriers can refuse emotional support animals. They are only required to accommodate dogs as ESAs, and only under specific conditions.
 For the reasons detailed above, the Agency finds that:
Canadian Transportation Agency – Final Ruling on Emotional Support Dogs
- acceptance of a species other than a dog as an ESA would cause undue hardship for carriers;
- while domesticated dogs may generally be suitable as ESAs, the unrestricted carriage of ESDs would cause undue hardship for carriers due to health and safety risks, animal behaviour and welfare concerns, and the impacts of fraudulent representation of pets as ESDs; and
- with appropriate conditions and safeguards, carriers could carry some ESDs without undue hardship.
Westjet Emotional Support Animal Policy
Effective August 5, 2021, WestJet will no longer accept emotional support dogs in the cabin. Moving forward, WestJet will continue to accept service dogs who meet the outlined criteria for training and behaviour and who support those with disabilities.Westjet
Air Canada Emotional Support Animal Policy
Effective March 1, 2021, emotional support animals are no longer accepted in the cabin. If you wish to travel with a service dog, please keep the following …Air Canada
Flair Airlines Emotional Support Animal Policy
Please note, from December 1, 2021, we will not be accepting emotional support animals on all flights.Flair Airlines
Air Transat May Accept Emotional Support Animals on Flights
Air Transat will, on the request of a person with a mental or cognitive disability who needs to travel with an emotional support dog, (ESAN) accept a support dog for travel, and permit the animal to accompany the person on board, provided the acceptance conditions are met. This service is not available on codeshare flights or vacation packages.
A support dog must have been trained to behave in public settings and take direction, be at least 6 months old and be able to manage without access to relief facilities for extended periods of time.
Before you travel
Air Transat will require the person with a mental or cognitive disability requesting to travel with an emotional support dog to:
Air Transat – Accessibility, Special Needs, and Medical Equipment
- Contact us as early as possible, either before booking or at the time of booking. We require at least 48 hours notice in order to review documents and arrange seating and additional space if required. We will do all possible to assist and accommodate within that time frame. Emotional Support dogs must be pre-approved by Air Transat’s Request department, animals without pre-approval will not be accepted for transport at the airport.
Porter Airlines May Accept Emotional Support Animals
Please note that Porter accepts only dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals. A weight limit of 10 kg (22 lb), including the carrier, is enforced.
To travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you must provide supporting documentation dated within 1 year of your scheduled flight. It must be on letterhead from either a licensed medical or mental health professional to be presented to an agent upon check-in stating the following:Porter – Service and Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support dogs are not service dogs. But emotional support dogs are still a real thing in this world, including in Ontario, and they massively benefit countless people who live with some type of disability. Even though emotional support dogs may not be specially trained to do anything in terms of a trained task, they still help folks with their presence alone, and that counts for more than something to the people who live with them.
Emotional support dogs can be denied access to air travel in the cabin as well as from businesses and other public places where animals aren’t allowed. However, landlords and housing providers in Ontario are generally not permitted to prohibit pets (or animals). Therefore, emotional support animals shall have no problem existing within housing situations in Ontario, even though they are not exactly a pet.
There are many pet-friendly places in Ontario where emotional support dogs or emotional support animals would be welcomed. So all is not doomed for ESAs or ESDs in beautiful Ontario.