- What is a service animal?
- Are there different types of service animals?
- What types of working animals does CRTASA register?
- What species can be registered as a service animal?
- When to apply for "New CRTASA Membership"
- When to apply for "Renewal of CRTASA Membership"
- What if I get a new working animal prior to my annual CRTASA Membership expiring?
- How to register a service animal that is being trained to assist a person with a disability?
- Does CRTASA offer membership services to residents outside of Canada?
- How can I tell if a person presenting their CRTASA Photo ID Card has an official service animal, a service animal in training or a therapy animal?
- Does CRTASA Photo ID Card identify the owner's disability or list any confidential or personal information?
- How can I tell that an animal is a service animal and not just a pet?
- What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my business?
- I have always had a clearly posted "no pets" policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?
- The local health department has told me that only a Seeing Eye Dog can be admitted to my place of business where I serve food. If I follow those regulations, am I in violation of service animal legislation?
- Can I charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business?
- I operate a private taxicab and I don't want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have "accidents." Am I in violation of current accessibility legislation if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?
- Do I have any legal responsibility or obligation for a service animal is in my place of business with their owner who has a disability?
- What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control on my premises?
- Can I exclude an animal that doesn't really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business?
A: A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal officially trained to provide assistance to an individual with a visible or non-visible disability. If they meet this definition, these animals are considered service animals regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a local or provincial government body.
A: Yes. Service animals are trained to assist or perform some of the functions and tasks that an individual with a disability cannot perform for themselves.
Seeing-eye dogs are one type of a service animal, used by some individuals who are blind or have low vision. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are other types of service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities that require the same type of recognition and right to entry to public places.
Some examples include:
- Hearing Ear Dogs alert the person with a hearing disability to sounds.
- Special Service Skills Dogs can assist pulling a wheelchair, carrying or picking up things or providing balance for a person with mobility difficulties.
- Other types of Special Skills Service Animals are trained to provide seizure response to a person with epilepsy when they have a seizure. Other Special Skills Service Animals offer assistance to young adults with Autism or provide emotional support for people with mental health issues.
A: CRTASA provides registry services to people with visible or non-visible disabilities that need the assistance of a service animal, to handlers of service animals in official training programs and owners of officially trained therapy animals. CRTASA memberships are processed according to strict criteria and all required documentation is verified before the individual receives their valid CRTASA Photo ID Card that is reissued each year following re-verification of information pertaining to the owner and their working animal being registered.
A: Typically, most common service animals are dogs. While CRTASA accepts other species than dogs to become registered as an officially trained service animal, service animal in training or official therapy animal, CRTASA does not register reptiles, or exoctic or wild animals due to certain associated health risks these animals can pose to humans with immuno-compromised health conditions including the unpredictable nature of some of these animal species. For all other animal species and breeds, the primary criterion to qualify for CRTASA membership is the ability to provide requested documentation that the animal was or currently is being officially trained by an accredited training school or an accredited/licensed service animal trainer to perform specific tasks to assist their owner with daily activities.
A: Any applicant (that owns a service animal, service animal in training or a therapy animal that has not been previously registered with CRTASA) that is interested in having a CRTASA Photo ID Card to readily show proof of their rightful ownership and status of their working animal to a place of business that questions their working animal's status should apply for a "New" CRTASA Membership.
A: Any previously registered CRTASA member that still owns the same service animal, service animal in training or therapy animal that was featured on their CRTASA Photo ID Card that has expired, can apply to have their CRTASA membership status renewed by simply submitting the necessary renewal application forms, supporting documentation and annual membership fee.
A: CRTASA membership is non-transferable between persons or animals! In the event your service animal, service animal-in-training or therapy animal previously registered with CRTASA and featured on the CRTASA Photo ID Card becomes ill, dies or is unable to carry out its official assistive duties it was trained to do for you, then you will need to re-apply for a "New" CRTASA membership for your newly acquired working animal " even if your membership term has not elapsed yet.
A: If the animal is still involved in an official service animal training program then the handler / trainer can apply for "New" or "Renewal" membership to register the animal under CRTASA's "Service Animal-in-Training" status. But in the event the animal is already working with their new owner with a disability (that is not yet a CRTASA Member), then that new owner can apply for a "New" CRTASA membership and have their animal CRTASA registered as a "Service Animal".
A: Yes! At the present time, CRTASA extends its membership and registry services to Canadian and US residents that seek to register and obtain a CRTASA Photo ID Card for their designated working animals that hold official service animal, service animal-in-training or therapy animal status. For the simple reason that some US residents with their official service animal or service animal in training may want to visit Canada and CRTASA wants to afford them and their animals with equal ease of access to enter public places or accessing services. The same qualification criteria and verification processes shall apply equally to both US and Canadian CRTASA applicants as not to compromise CRTASA's official registry service program policy.
Q: How can I tell if a person presenting their CRTASA Photo ID Card has an official service animal, a service animal in training or a therapy animal?
A: A valid CRTASA Photo ID Card features identification details of the owner and the animal registered with CRTASA and expiry date. The card also shows the photo of both the person and their animal to verify their identity. CRTASA Photo ID Cards are colour coded to ease distinction between service animal, service animal in training and therapy animals.
Service Animal CRTASA Photo ID Card is Golden / Orange:
Service Animal In Training CRTASA Photo ID Card is Bright Yellow:
Therapy Animal CRTASA Photo ID Card is Bright Green:
Q. Does CRTASA Photo ID Card identify the owner's disability or list any confidential or personal information?
A: NO! No medical information or personal contact details are contained on CRTASA's Photo ID Card. Aside from the above noted details each CRTASA Photo ID Card also contains a CRTASA registration number.
A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars, harnesses or coats. Some owners may offer proof of licenses or certification papers or their valid CRTASA Photo ID Card that provides details of legitimate ownership and proof of official service animal status as well as photo ID of themselves and their accompanying service animal. However, the nature of the disability is never disclosed and should not be asked for as it is deemed confidential and private information.
It is also important to mention, that proof of certification of a service animal is not a condition to permit entry to a service animal accompanying a person with a disability.
A: The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go and where no other laws restrict access to the general public. It is discrimination based on disability to deny an individual with a service animal entry to a public place of business or to segregate them from other customers.
Q: I have always had a clearly posted "no pets" policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?
A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. Under current provincial service animal legislation such as the AODA in Ontario, stores must modify their "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean you must abandon your "no pets" policy altogether but simply that you must make an exception to your general "no pets" rule and allow service animals and even service animals-in-training to enter your place of business. The only exception is that if there are other laws or regulations in effect restricting access to a designated area in your establishment to the general public such as food preparation stations in the back of a kitchen - then the owner and their service animal or service animal-in-training will also not be allowed to enter that area of the kitchen.
Q: The local health department has told me that only a Seeing Eye Dog can be admitted to my place of business where I serve food. If I follow those regulations, am I in violation of service animal legislation?
A: Yes. You are in violation of not providing equal and fair access to people with disabilities other than blindness if you refuse them and their service animal admission to your premises. A person with another type of a disability that requires the assistance of their service animal holds the same and equal right to enter your establishment with their service animal as a person that is blind using a seeing-eye dog to assist them. Think of it as allowing a person that is blind to come inside your restaurant with their white cane. You wouldn't deny a person that is hard of hearing entry unless they removed their hearing aid and left it outside of your restaurant while they dined inside? Of course not! Service animals are an assistive device to a person with a disability that cannot be separated from their owner.
Q: Can I charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business?
A: No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on any individual with a disability as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany them onto your premises, even if such deposits are routinely asked of owners bringing their pets. However, a public service provider may apply a charge for damages to its customers with disabilities if their service animal caused damages to their property — provided it is the regular company policy and practice to charge non-disabled customers whose pets cause the same types of damages. For example, a hotel can charge a guest with a disability for the cost of repairing or cleaning furniture damaged by a service animal if it is the hotel's policy to charge their guests for same damages caused by their pet during their stay at the hotel.
Q: I operate a private taxicab and I don't want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have "accidents." Am I in violation of current accessibility legislation if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?
A: Yes. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disabilities and their service animal. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or extra rates for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals. The same fee for equivalent services applies to passengers regardless if they are accompanied by a service animal.
Q: Do I have any legal responsibility or obligation for a service animal is in my place of business with their owner who has a disability?
A: No. The care or supervision of a service animal is the sole responsibility of their owner. You are not required to provide care or food or a special location for the service animal while they are on your premises. The only expectation is that you do not distract, touch, or offer treats to the animal that is on official duty to provide assistance to their owner with a disability.
Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control on my premises?
A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal or service animal-in-training, from your facility when that animal's behaviour poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal or service animal-in-training that displays vicious behaviour towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually without bias or stereotypes. Although a public accommodation may exclude any service animal that is out of control, it should give the individual with a disability who uses the service animal or service animal-in-training the option of continuing to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on the premises.
A: There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal that is, when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theatres, concert halls, and sports facilities. But when it does, for example, when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded.
If you have further questions about service animals or inquiries about other accommodation requirements please contact us.