A man hugging a dog.

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Service, therapy and emotional support animals

There is still much confusion surrounding the differences between guide dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals – particularly about the rights and legislation that protect them.

Service dogs are specifically trained to assist a person with a disability and perform specific tasks that mitigate the disability. Both guide dogs and service dogs are protected under human rights legislation across Canada.

Therapy dogs receive some training to provide psychological or physiological comfort to people in different situations. Emotional support animals receive no specific training and are companion animals that provide comfort to people.

Therapy dogs and emotional support animals do not have access rights and require permission to enter restaurants, hotels, taxis and other businesses.