The simple fact that you own a service animal in Canada does not stop your ability to travel by air.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Considered Service Dogs in Canada?

Even though you may have certification for an emotional support dog, it does not hold any legal value in Canada. Showing this certification to an airline does not give you the legal right to bring the dog on board in the passenger compartment.

Service Dogs Canada

Canadian Laws state that privately or publicly owned hotels, restaurants, theaters, concert halls, retail stores, taxicabs, sports facilities, and airplanes must allow persons with disabilities to bring their service animals in any area of any establishment where customers are permitted to go. Service Dogs Canada will provide you with an identification package for your service dog.

They also will provide you with equipment for your service dog such as a vest with embroidered service dog patches, a collar tag, a wallet card, and a certificate to identify your service dog. There are only 2 requirements that must be met for a dog to become a service dog. The owner must have a disability, and the dog must be trained to assist that person with their disability.

Air Canada

Flights Between Canada and the U.S.

Air Canada is in compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportations Rule. The rule “Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel” refers to those customers that are offered services with special needs who are traveling between Canada and the United States and have purchased a ticket with a flight that is operated by Air Canada through a U.S. based airline.

According to Air Canada’s Service Animal Guidelines, your service dog must be harnessed or on a leash at all times. You can provide evidence by means of an identification card, documents, or carry tags. If you are travelling on a flight of 8 hours or longer, you must give the airline 48 hours in advance of travel and arrive at the airport check-in one extra hour before the standard check-in times. In some circumstances, you may be allowed to hold your service dog on your lap. Check with the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk before your flight.

Canadian Rules for Dogs as Psychiatric Service Animals or Emotional Support Animals

You must provide Air Canada with 48 hours notice in advance of your travel. You must provide supporting documentation. This can be in the form of a letter from a Licensed Mental Health Professional on their letterhead. A licensed clinical Social Worker can also provide documentation. These documents must be dated within a one year period of your departure date. The letter must state the following:

  • You have a mental and/or emotional disability that is recognized by the DSM-IV.
  • You need your service dog for psychiatric or emotional support for travel and destination.
  • The documentation is provided by a licensed professional as stated above.
  • You are currently under the care of the professional that prepared and provided the documentation.

The only service animals Air Canada allows as psychiatric or emotional support are dogs. There are some who have other animals for support services, but these are not qualified for flying with Air Canada.

Always make you contact the airline in advance when you plan to travel with your service dog.