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Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia – Easy Guide & FAQ [2023]

Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia
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Welcome to Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia

Welcome to service dog laws Nova Scotia! This article will go into detail about service dogs , certification, laws and rules, etiquette, FAQs, and much more, as it relates to Nova Scotia. Service dogs are special dogs used by people who live with disabilities. These amazing animals can help people in so many different ways, to be able to live a better life and to safely participate in society. For a related article, check out Where to Get a Service Dog in Canada.

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Nova Scotia Service Dog Laws, Canada
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Nova Scotia Service Dog Act

We can refer to the Nova Scotia Service Dog Act when wondering about service dog laws Nova Scotia and related regulations.

This provincial act protects the rights and responsibilities of the people who use service dogs in this province . The main goal of this act is to protect people who use service dogs.

In addition, the Act is to prevent people with disabilities from being denied access to public places. In addition, tenancy rights are included. In this article, we’ll get into all the nitty-gritty details.

Autism Service Dog Doodle
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What Does the Nova Scotia Service Dog Act Include?

  • Certification and identification standards for service dogs and the people who use them (their handlers)
  • Penalties for denying rights to a service dog team
  • Penalties for falsely representing a dog as a service dog
Nova Scotia Service Dog Act
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Certification Under the Service Dog Act

  • If you would like to access rights under the Service Dog Act, you will need to apply for the provincial certification
  • If you don’t apply for the provincial certification, you will still be protected against discrimination by the Human Rights Act
Nova Scotia Certification Service Dog Act
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Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia – Access Denial

If you don’t have an ID card and are denied access to a public place, the penalty provisions from the Service Dog Act would not apply, since you and your service dog are not certified.

However, if you are denied access because of your disability, you can still file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia service dog laws and human rights commission
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Nova Scotia Blind Person’s Rights Act

Please note that there are separate Acts in Nova Scotia for whether you have a service dog or a guide dog. Nova Scotia’s Blind Persons’ Rights Act protects the rights of visually impaired or blind people. 

Guide dogs who help these types of people have established standards. In addition, consistent visual identification practices are in place.

Nova Scotia Blind Person's Rights Act
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About Service Dogs in Nova Scotia

What is a service dog , exactly? Service dogs are specially trained dogs that do certain work or tasks to help people with disabilities with everyday activities.

What Service Dogs Can Do Nova Scotia Canada
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Just a few examples include:

About Service Dogs in Nova Scotia
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Who Does the Service Dog Act Apply To?

The Service Dog Act applies to:

  • Working service dog teams
  • Retired service dog teams
  • Dog-in-training teams
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Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia – Applying for Service Dog Certification

When certified, service dog teams have the right to access any location where the public is allowed.

  • Under the Nova Scotia Service Dog Act, it is an offense to deny access or tenancy to a certified service dog team
  • It is also an offense to falsely represent a dog as a member of a service dog team under the Act when it is not
  • There is no charge for the application or the identification card
Labrador Dogs
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Service Dogs Trained by Accredited Schools

If a service dog has been trained by an accredited training school, (Assistance Dogs International) they do not need to pass an assessment.

They will need to submit the following:

  • Completed application form
  • Written confirmation from an accredited training school that the service dog has completed a training program
  • Passport-size photograph of the applicant and the dog taken together
  • The service dog handler and the service dog must be facing the camera, with the face of the person and the dog clear and visible
  • The image must be a close-up, portrait format, with no other dogs or people in the photo
  • Make sure the background is not the same color as the dog
  • The size of the photo should be 70 mm x 50 mm
Poodle service dog
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Photo @eddieandboomer

Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia – Dogs Not Trained by Accredited Schools

If your service dog hasn’t been trained by an accredited training school, you’ll need to pass a service dog assessment which is administered by St. John Ambulance.

To book your assessment, you’ll need to first submit the following documents to the Department of Justice, (Service Dog Program).

  • Completed application form (Privately Trained)
  • Completed medical form completed by a physician or nurse practitioner that confirms the need for your service dog
  • Veterinarian form which confirms the dog has been spayed or neutered
  • Passport-size photograph of you and your service dog taken together – service dog photo guidelines:
    • The photo must clearly show the person and the dog together
    • The person and the dog must be facing the camera, and their faces must be clear and visible
    • The image needs to be in a close-up portrait format
    • No other people or dogs can be in the photo
    • Make sure the background is not the same color as the dog
    • The photo size needs to be 70 mm x 50 mm

You will be notified of a time and day for your service dog assessment after you’ve sent in your application and supporting documents.

Autism Service Dog
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Service Dog Assessment for Privately Trained Dogs

The fee for the service dog assessment is $ 187.50 If you are receiving income support, you might be eligible to have this fee waived.

During the assessment, there will be 40 exercises. These are used to assess if a dog is calm, stable, and reliable, especially in situations that service dog teams commonly encounter in day-to-day life.

It also evaluates to make sure:

  • You have control over your dog
  • Your dog is safe to be in the public
  • Your dog demonstrates appropriate public behavior
  • Your dog demonstrates the high standard of training that is required of service dogs
Medical alert service dog
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Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia – Identification Cards

Certified service dog teams will receive identification cards .

This provides a consistent way to verify that a service dog is trained and meets the high-quality standards of behavior for service dogs.

The purpose of these ID cards is to reduce misunderstandings and delays when you access public places with your service dog.

Service dog laws Nova Scotia
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Photo @lucytheservicesibe

Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia – Dogs in Training Certification

Service dogs-in-training that are being trained by accredited training schools are eligible for dog -in-training certification.

This allows service dogs that are in training to practice and train in public places when they’re accompanied by a certified dog trainer.

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Bishop – Service Dog in Training

Retired Service Dog Certification Nova Scotia

Certified service dogs that retire and will remain with their human can receive what is known as retirement certification.

  • This gives them tenancy rights so they can continue living with their human
  • Retired service dogs won’t have access to restaurants, hotels, buses or other public places like working service dogs
retired service dog certification nova scotia
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Photo @katelynburelle

Traveling to Nova Scotia with a Service Dog

If you’re planning to travel to Nova Scotia, it may be a good idea to apply for a service dog identification card & certification.

If you have certification from another province with equivalent Service Dog legislation, contact the Nova Scotia office to get more information.

Reference – Service Dog Laws Nova Scotia


Department of Justice, Service Dog Program
1681 Granville Street, Joseph Howe Building
Halifax, NS B3J 2L6

Toll free: 1-888-760-5577 (Press 6)
Phone: 902-424-8805
Fax: 902-424-0700

Read more on our blog:

Service Dog in Nova Scotia Canada
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