The ABCs of Assistance/Service Dogs

Accessibility, Benefits, Challenges

Highlights from an Evolving Landscape

Service Dogs in Canada - An Evolving Landscape (Text Version)

Service Dogs in Canada - An Evolving Landscape

Provincial Systemic Changes


British Columbia’s Guide and Service Dog Certification ProgramAlberta’s Service Dog Training Assessment Program

Nova Scotia’s Service Dog Certification Program

Quebec Reimbursement Program and Guide Dogs and Service Dogs 

Additionally, the provinces of Quebec and Ontario have opted to restrict service dog benefits associated with the Quebec Disability Support Program and the Ontario Disability Support Program to recipients with dogs trained by specific organizations according to brand.  To learn more, please click on the enclosed links.

Assistance/Service Animal - See also...

A dog or possibly another animal that is individually task trained to assist, work with, and benefit a person with a visible or invisible disability or
life-altering injuries such as physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, brain injury, or disorder. This is different from an ESA.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

A companion animal (pet) that may provide comfort
and emotional support to its owners but is not specifically task-trained for a disability or evaluated for community engagement.


“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love; they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog – it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs,

your heart is very big.” – Erica Jong

Service Dogs

Benefits of Assistance/Service Animals
  • Services Increase motivation
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Facilitates open communication
  • Sheds light into behaviours
  • Patients/clients look forward to sessions
  • Promotes active living
  • Sooth and comfort
  • Nurtures bonding
  • Stimulates motor skills
  • Encourages playfulness
  • Enriches living in the moment/present
  • Reduces the stigma associated with treatment
  • Focuses on the bond rather than the problem
  • Alleviates or compensates for functional limitations

Service Dogs for Veterans 

  • slide
  • slide
  • slide
  • slide