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The Canadian Provinces

The Canadian Provinces independently have their own laws that define the rights of disabled persons. Generally, there have been two approaches. Some provinces have a Blind Persons’ Rights Act. These define, fairly specifically, where the disabled person with a dog may go, important considerations in housing, what happens if these rights are violated, and any penalties associated with them. Trainers rights or requirements, licenses or fees, identification requirements, and injury to the dog may also be included. In this respect, some provinces have statutes that are quite similar to those found in the United States. The provinces that have taken this approach include Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quèbec. While this type of law was originally written to accommodate blind persons, a number of the provinces have broadened their scope through amendments that extend these rights to deaf or hearing impaired and disabled persons.

Another approach is seen in the Human Rights Acts. The Human Rights approach covers a broader issue of discrimination in a much wider section of society. For example, Manitoba includes in its law concern for discrimination in these categories:

(a) ancestry, including colour and perceived race;

(b) nationality or national origin;

(c) ethnic background or origin;

(d) religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity;

(e) age;

(f) sex, including pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy;

(g) gender-determined characteristics or circumstances other than those included in clause (f);

(h) sexual orientation;

(i) marital or family status;

(j) source of income;

(k) political belief, political association or political activity;

(l) physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances, including reliance on a dog guide or other animal assistant, a wheelchair, or any other remedial appliance or device.

Frequently, in the provinces that rely primarily on this approach, the word “dog” appears only in the definition section of the law. All provinces have a Human Rights Act, but the provinces using this approach to the exclusion of more specific laws for disabled persons, include Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

Canada is unique because of its Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). CanLII is “a not-for-profit organization initiated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. CanLII's goal is to make primary sources of Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet. CanLII seeks to gather legislative and judicial texts, as well as legal commentaries, from federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions on a single Web site. Footnote CanLII does not, however, answer any questions about any of the material they post. If questions arise about a particular province’s statutes, it is necessary to go directly to that province.



British Columbia


New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia


Prince Edward Island