Service animal Do’s and Don’ts
The AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) requires organizations
to allow a person with a disability who are accompanied by a service animal into public
areas of the organization unless otherwise prohibited by law.
Service Animals are trained to assist persons with disabilities, including but not
limited to: vision loss, autism, epilepsy, other medical disorders, mental health
disabilities, and mobility disabilities.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to determine if an animal is a pet or a
service animal. The best advice is to watch the animal and determine if the animal is
doing what a service animal should be expected to do.
Employees should be aware of the following “Do’s and Don’ts” outline as it relates to
• DO allow service animal teams in your business if it is clear that the animal is used for
reasons related to the handler’s disability, such as the animal is wearing a vest or
• DO ask the handler for documentation if the animal is not identifiable as a service
animal. The documentation can be a letter from a regulated health professional*.
• DO allow service animal teams to remain in all areas of the business that are open
to the public unless otherwise excluded by law.
• DON’T assume all service animals are guide dogs. Service animals can be any animal
trained to assist a person with a disability.
• DON’T offer food, touch or call out to a service animal without permission from the
• DON’T charge additional fees or ask for unnecessary information related to the
service animal or the handler’s disability.
Regulated Health Professionals include: audiologist, speech language pathologist,
chiropractor, nurse, occupational therapist, optometrist, physician, physiotherapist,
psychologist, psychotherapist or mental health therapist.