Support and Service Dog Training in Ontario

Is there a difference between a service and therapy dog?

Yes, a service dog has full public access identified by a working harness or jacket and is supported with your identification card. A therapy dog would provide comfort to a person in their home and not have public access or be protected by legislation.

What dogs are most suitable for service dog or therapy dogs?

The most popular breeds are Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers for their temperament, willingness to please, work, and adaptability.

Can other breeds be used?

Yes, as long as they have been socialized well, good with people, respond well to training, and can be loyal workers. The breed and match has to meet the client’s needs and lifestyle. Canine Support Services will carefully assess the dog with the client during the home consultation.

Is CSS a registered charity?

No, effective 2016, the application and subsequent approval for not-for-profit status is lengthy process with Canada Revenue Agency. Once approval for not-for-profit status is obtained, CSS will update this information. The CSS client is responsible for all fees for services rendered.

Can CSS clients fundraise?

Yes, the only difference between a Canadian registered charity and a not-for-profit is that a charity issues tax receipts. CSS will offer different payment plans depending on the client’s needs. Currently CSS does not fundraise or receive any government funding.

Can CSS certify my dog?

Yes, CSS adheres to national standards being established by our provincial and federal government. CSS tests all its dogs to meet the highest standards established by Wade’s 30 years in the industry to ensure the safety of all dogs and their handlers while working in public spaces.

Who owns the dog?

The client has ownership of the dog under a contractual agreement. CSS owns the rights to the working jacket and identification card.

Does everyone qualify for a service or therapy dog?

No, there is a lot of responsibility and commitment with having a dog. It must be something you feel is really going to benefit you and your family. A dog, especially a working dog, needs a lot of ongoing training, daily routine of exercise, grooming, and outings. Understanding the expectations of what a dog can do for you is very important.

What are my legal rights with my service dog in public?

Any person with a diagnosed disability has legal rights to enter any public facility with their certified service dog. A person with a disability is protected against discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act passed in 1985. CSS will provide you with a letter of certification as well as a photo ID card with your jacket.

Are there any financial breaks available for service dogs?

You may take advantage of several financial breaks or benefits when you own a service dog.  Here are a few;

  • Taxes – You may be able to claim expenses for your service dog as a medical expense on your taxes. Here is the excerpt from the CRA;

Animals – the cost of a specially trained animal to help a person who:

  • is blind
  • is profoundly deaf
  • has a severe and prolonged physical impairment that markedly restricts the use of his or her arms or legs
  • is severely affected by autism or epilepsy
  • has severe diabetes (for expenses incurred after 2013)

In addition to the cost of the animal, the care and maintenance (including food and veterinarian care) are eligible expenses.

Reasonable travel expenses for the person to attend a school, institution, or other place that trains him or her in the handling such an animal (including reasonable board and lodging for full-time attendance at the school) are eligible expenses. The training of such animals has to be one of the main purposes of the person or organization that provides the animal.

  • Municipal Pet Licence Fee – Many municipalities will waive the licence fees for certified Service Dogs
  • ODSP Benefit – If you are receiving Ontario Disability Support Program Income Support and you own a certified service or guide dog, you may receive $76 a month for each dog, to help pay for their care.
  • Veterinary Care, Pet food stores, Pet Insurance – some locations will honour a discount. This varies so be sure to ask at your favourite location