What has to be remembered is that Canada is made up of many different provinces. As such they not only abide by federal laws but provincial laws as well. Then included in this can be municipal laws. Based on this, each province addresses the requirements of service dogs differently.
This is one of the provinces that has been astute at providing some types of provincial laws regarding service dogs. They have the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act. It is quite extensive and covers a lot of information. Part of these regulations is the application for certification.
However, the majority of the rules are more applicable to the disabled individual rather than the dog itself. For example, disabled individuals have to apply for a certificate as it pertains to their disability. The document outlines the reason for the dog and that the dog and the owner are a service dog team.
The certificate also has to identify whether the dog being used is a dog in training, a fully trained dog, or that the individual is a dog trainer. The reason for these types of laws is because public establishments are required by law to allow these dogs on their premises. They can question the individual handling of the dog, and they are required to produce the certificate. This way if an establishment refuses to allow a service dog on the premises, then they are not obeying the law.
Ontario only basically has one form of regulation when it comes to service dogs. This is Bill 80, and this is an act that again focuses on the right of individuals who have disabilities and their use of the service dogs. There are some forms of identification that may be used, such as identification cards. These cards can be used as proof that the individual has the right to use the dog as a service dog. This act is quite sparse in its requirements and really does not deal with the specific capabilities or training of the service dogs.
This province has put a little bit more effort into its laws regarding guide and service dogs. For the dog to be certified as one of these dogs, they either need to have been trained from an accredited service dog training establishment and/or pass a public safety test. The training and testing requirements revolve around the dog being able to act properly in different environments.
While these laws do protect the disabled in regards to their use of these dogs, they still lack some essential components. They are not clearly outlining the type of training that the dogs should have or do not have stringent criteria that they must meet. This can leave some disabled individuals vulnerable to investing in dog training that is not going to meet their needs. Fortunately, there are many reputable service dog providers in Canada, but it means that an individual has to take great care in making their choices.
The Laws of The Jungle
Every individual that is going to rely on a service dog in Canada should research the specific laws that apply to that province. At the very least, they need to know what the certification requirements are for the individual that is going to be taking a service dog into public places.