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Procedure for the Use of Service Animals on Campus

Classification number LCG 1103.02
Parent policy Accessibility Policy
Framework category Legal, Compliance and Governance
Approving authority Audit and Finance Committee
Policy owner Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Approval date September 5, 2017
Review date September 2020
Last updated November 20, 2019


The purpose of this procedure is to set out conditions for the use of Service Animals on the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Ontario Tech) property owned or leased (“University property”) to identify their presence and ensure the ongoing safety of all members of the campus community. This procedure was developed under the scope of the Accessibility for Ontarian’s with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code in a manner consistent with the Accessibility Policy and its commitment to creating a campus community that is inclusive of all individuals.


“Service Animal” means an animal that is required for a person with a disability that is either:
  • Readily identified as one that is being used by the person for reasons relating to the person’s disability, as a result of visual indicators such as the vest or harness worn by the animal; or
  • Requires the person with a disability to provide documentation from one of the following regulated health professionals confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability:
    • A member of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Nurses of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
    • A member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario. O. Reg. 165/16, s. 16.
  • The disability can be visible or invisible. Please refer to section 10.1 for further clarification and definition of the functions of a Service Animal

“Handler” means an individual who, as a result of a disability, requires the assistance of a Service Animal and has charge of the Service Animal.
“Emotional Support Animal” means an animal that maybe used as part of a medical treatment plan, but has no specialized training or function with respect to fulfilling a person’s disability-related needs. The University is not required to provide accommodations for Emotional Support Animals as it is for Service Animals.
“Authority” means the functional area that is responsible for validating documentation, approving, registering and managing the use of Service Animals on University Property by University Members and visitors.
“University Member” means any individual who is:

  • Employed by the University
  • Registered as a student, in accordance with the academic regulations of the University;
  • Holding an appointment with the University, including paid, unpaid and/or honorific appointments; and
  • Otherwise subject to University policies by virtue of the requirements of a specific policy (e.g. Booking and Use of University Space) and/or the terms of an agreement or contract.

Scope and authority

These Procedures apply to Service Animals on University property.

These Procedures apply to all University Members or visitors to University property.

The Vice-President, Academic and Provost, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of these Procedures.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is the Authority responsible for administering the procedures for students who require Service Animals on University property.

Human Resources (HR) is the Authority responsible for administering the procedures for employees or those holding appointments with the University who require Service Animals on University property.


In order to provide an accessible learning and working environment, the University is committed to the development and implementation of procedures that enable the University community to understand and support the Handler and their Service Animal while on campus. It is also important that both the Handler and University Members understand their rights and responsibilities in this regard.

Where Service Animals are not permitted on or in a particular campus location or building due to health and safety laws or requirements, the University will provide alternate support to permit access to goods and services, or provide reasonable accommodation for the University Member.

Distinction between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals:

  1. Service Animals that are:
    1. Readily identified as a Service Animal that is being used by the person for reasons relating to the person’s disability through the use of visual indicators such as a vest or harness worn by the animal; and
    2. Specifically trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability such as, but not limited to:
      • Guiding people who are blind or visually impaired;
      • Alerting people who are deaf or hearing impaired;
      • Pulling wheelchairs for those with limited mobility;
      • Alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure;
      • Performing other specialized tasks (diabetic, medical, severe allergy alert);
      • Reminding a person to take their medication;
      • Providing comfort and reducing symptoms related to their disability in certain situation
Service Animals are working animals.
In instances where an Emotional Support Animal, meets the criteria for Service Animal as described in section 10.1, the University will strive to provide accommodation for the animal on University property.

Process for Service Animal Approval and Notification

  1. Any University Member having a Service Animal on University property should be directed to the appropriate Authority.
  2. In order to bring a Service Animal on University Property on an ongoing basis, the University Member is required to submit satisfactory supporting documentation to the appropriate Authority demonstrating their requirement for a Service Animal to assist with their disability-related needs.
  3. University members requiring the use of a Service Animal will need to register with the appropriate Authority and update any documentation that has an expiry date. They will not need to obtain new documentation year over year unless their disability related needs change and alternative means of support is required, or where the animal who provides services changes such that their record with the appropriate Authority no longer matches.
  4. The Authority will validate the submitted documentation and make reasonable efforts to notify University Members who may be affected by the presence of a Service Animal before approval.
  5. The University understands that the presence of certain Service Animals may affect other University Members due to environmental sensitivities, allergies, phobias or other concerns. For this reason, the Handler will be requested to consent to having of individuals who will work with or attend class with a Service Animal notified of their presence, and such consent shall not to be unreasonably withheld. This notification will not contain any confidential information about the nature of the Handler’s disability.
  6. Concerns about the effect of a Service Animal on a University Member must be directed to the Authority for resolution, not the Handler directly. The Authority will assess the impact on the University Member on a case-by-case basis and consider the following principles and obligations when balancing the conflicting interests:
    1. The legal obligation permitting the use of Service Animals under the AODA.

    2. The duty to accommodate under the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC); and

    3. The approach outlined in OHRC's Policy on Competing Human Rights as applied to all parties.

  7. The means for resolving concerns may include creating distance between the Service Animal and the individual with a concern, changes in scheduling or altered cleaning regimens due to the presence of a Service Animal, or other such accommodations appropriate to the circumstances

Supporting Documentation

  1. Supporting documentation for a Service Animal must meet all of the following requirements:
    1. Ontario Tech’s Service Animal Recommendation form must be completed by one of the following practitioners: physician, occupational therapist, ophthalmologist, audiologist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
    2. Documentation must be dated and include the practitioner’s credentials, contact information and signature.
    3. The practitioner must provide a detailed explanation of the need for the Service Animal as it relates specifically and rationally to the University Member’s disability, and indicate the specific tasks or functions that the Service Animal performs.
    4. Documentation that the Service Animal has been vaccinated and is properly licensed as required by Ontario law and/or city by-law. Dogs, cats and ferrets also require rabies vaccinations.
    5. Additional documents maybe requested in instances where the Authority has reasonable doubt regarding the Service Animals capacity to be in public spaces.

Service Animal Behaviour

  1. For University Members who have a concern about the effect of a Service Animal on a University Member, the supporting documentation, supporting documentation will be requested as deemed necessary. The Handler is responsible at all times for all aspects of behaviour and management of the Service Animal on all University property including:
    1. Any cleaning as well as any costs associated with cleaning that may result from the Service Animal.
    2. Ensuring that any feces is cleaned up immediately and disposed of in an appropriate receptacle.
    3. The Service Animal must demonstrate positive and pro-social behaviour at all times while on University property.

Care of Service Animals

  1. The Handler is responsible for the following:
    1. Maintaining the crate or cage of the Service Animal, if it is to be crated or caged. The crate/cage must be the appropriate size, secure, in good repair and well ventilated. The health and welfare of the Service Animal and for providing food, water, bathroom and exercise breaks in a timely manner
    2. Keeping the Service Animal clean and groomed at all times.  Cleaning up and disposing of any animal waste in a timely manner.

Service Animal on Campus

  1. At all times, Service Animals must be:
    1. Be accompanied by the Handler at all times;
    2. Remain in close proximity to the Handler, and restrained on a leash, in a cage, or under the physical control of the Handler; unless being unrestrained is necessary to perform their tasks or functions.
    3. Registered with Campus ID and their identification number will link them to the banner number of their handler. The following nomenclature will be used: “SAXXXXXXXXX.”
  2. If at any time any Service Animal becomes aggressive or is deemed by an Authority to pose an unmanageable threat to the health and safety of University Members or visitors, the Custodian will be required by the appropriate Authority to remove the Service Animal from University property or impose conditions on the Service Animal’s continued presence.
  3. There are some University locations where Animals are prohibited by law (i.e., food service preparation spaces, wet labs). These spaces will be navigated on a case-by-case basis in discussion with lab coordinators, supervisors and the appropriate Authority.
  4. There are some extensions of the learning environment where it may not be possible to allow a Service Animal such as clinical placements in a health-care setting. These situations will be navigated on case-by-case basis in discussion with placement supervisors and the appropriate Authority.


  1. University supervisors, managers, directors and Faculty administrators are responsible for the enforcement of this procedure and compliance within their work units.
  2. Faculty members are responsible for the enforcement of this procedure in their classrooms and laboratories. Faculty members will consult with SAS if a student is non-compliant with this policy and SAS will determine if the student is permitted to use or continue to use a Service Animal on campus.
  3. Campus Security is responsible for the enforcement of this procedure on all University property and will assist managers, directors and faculty members with the enforcement of this procedure as necessary.
  4. Human Resources and Student Accessibility Services are the Authority for employees and students respectively. The Authority is responsible for:
    1. Maintaining documentation authorizing Service Animals.
    2. Providing notification to University Members who may be impacted by the presence of a Service Animal.
    3. Advising supervisors, managers, directors, Faculty administrators, faculty members and Campus Security and assisting them in ensuring compliance with and enforcement of this procedure.
    4. Approving the use of Service Animals at the University property by means of validating documentation and processing accommodation request.
    5. Assessing and resolving any complaints or issues related to the use of Service Animals on University property. 

Protection of Privacy

  1. The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all University Members, including students with disabilities. At the same time, the University needs sufficient information to reasonably evaluate and respond to a student’s request for accommodation. For this reason, students are required to provide to Student Accessibility Services information concerning the nature of their disability-related needs.
  2. At times the accommodation process may require that a student disclose such information to staff and faculty outside of Student Accessibility Services on the basis that they “need-to-know” this information to perform their duties under the policies and procedures at the University. All personal information disclosed to such staff or faculty will be governed by the University’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Policy.

Monitoring and review

These Procedures will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years.  The Provost and Vice-President Academic, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review these Procedures.

Relevant legislation

Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter H.19
Ontario Human Rights Commission Policy on Guidelines on accessible education (2004) Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990
Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter 0.1.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, O. Reg. 191/11

Related policies, procedures & documents

Accessibility Policy
Procedures for Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
Academic Regulations, Undergraduate Academic Calendar
Policy on the Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching
Booking and Use of University Space Policy Booking and Use of University Space Procedure

Service Animal Request Form