Service Animal Guide

This guide is intended to provide helpful information on the law, who uses service animals, and what to expect when a service animal is on your campus.

General questions
What is a service animal?

Ontario Regulation 429/07 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, subsection 4(9) states:

“An animal is a service animal for a person with a disability,

  1. if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
  2. if the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.”
Who uses a service animal?

People use service animals for many reasons, including:

  • vision loss
  • being culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened or hard of hearing
  • mental health disabilities
  • physical disabilities
  • epilepsy or other seizure-related disorders
  • autism or other developmental/ intellectual disabilities
What are the rules for service animals?

Ontario Regulation 429/07 subsection 4(2) states:

“If a person with a disability is accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal, the provider of goods or services shall ensure that the person is permitted to enter the premises with the animal and to keep the animal with him or her unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises.”

If there is any question about the authenticity of the purpose or appropriate use of a service animal and the matter cannot be resolved otherwise, institutions are advised to seek legal counsel.

What if someone is allergic to a service animal on my campus?

Here are some options to consider:

  • Creating distance between the two individuals.
  • Eliminating in-person contact.
  • Changing the time the two individuals receive the service.

Universities should consider all relevant factors and options in trying to find a solution that meets the needs of everyone involved.

Is there anywhere on campus that a service animal may not go?

Yes. There are two exceptions to the Customer Service Standard requirements:

1. Where food is prepared, stored or sold

Ontario Regulation 562 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act states that animals are not allowed in places where food is manufactured, prepared, processed, handled, served, displayed, stored, sold or offered for sale. The regulation makes an exception for service dogs, which are permitted where food is normally served, sold or offered for sale. Other types of service animal are not permitted in these areas.

2. Where health and safety requirements could be violated

Rare situations may arise where another person’s health and safety could be seriously affected by the presence of a service animal on campus. If this is the case, a provider should analyze all options for safely allowing the service animal.

Respect and Responsibilities
Tips for interacting with service animals and people who use them
  • Service animals should not be distracted; they are working. Avoid touching or addressing them.
  • If you are unsure whether it is a service animal or a pet, ask the user/owner.
  • Service animals should be fed only by the user/owner.
  • Service animals foster independence and freedom for persons with disabilities. If the user/owner needs your help, he or she will ask for it.
Service animal control requirements for the user/owner
  • The user/owner must be in full control of the service animal at all times.
  • The animal must be well-groomed and measures should be taken to control fleas and odours.
  • A service animal must be well behaved and its user/owner must ensure that the animal does not engage in behaviour that would be a direct threat to the health and safety of others.