Service Animals on Campus

a service dog with a PTSD vest
The University regulates the presence of all animals, including service animals, on its premises to help maintain sanitation, comply with health regulations, and ensure the health, safety and security of all members of the campus community and of other animals on campus.

These guidelines are for service animals only and aim to help the user understand Policy 119 and the University’s duty to accommodate people with disabilities who use service animals.

These guidelines provide additional information about the use of service animals at the University of Ottawa. They supplement, and are to be read together with, applicable legislation and by-laws, as well as contractual obligations for facilities leased or rented by the University and University of Ottawa policies and regulations. These guidelines do not replace or change the University’s obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code nor do they limit the University’s obligations to employees with disabilities under any collective agreements.

These guidelines apply to the use of service animals in the University of Ottawa facilities only.

They do not apply to:

An animal is a “service animal” for a person with a disability if (as outlined in the Regulation 191/11: Integrated Accessibility Standards (IASR) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)) :

  • the animal can be 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
  • the person provides documentation from one of the regulated health professionals listed in the Integrated Accessibility Standards, confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

Guide dogs

A “guide dog” means a dog trained as a guide for a blind person and having the qualifications prescribed in Regulation 58: Guide Dogs under the Blind Persons’ Rights Act, 1990. A guide dog is also considered a service animal under the AODA.

Emotional support and comfort animals

Emotional support animals and comfort animals that meet the  IASR service animal definition and requirements are considered service animals. Emotional support animals and comfort animals that do not meet these requirements are considered pets and therefore are not considered service animals.

Areas open to public

(including areas where food is served, sold, or offered for sale)

No need to register

Handlers are welcome to enter University of Ottawa facilities that are open to the public with their service animal, and to keep their service animal with them while on campus, at no extra cost, in accordance with University of Ottawa Policy 119 – Accessibility for persons with disabilities and with Ontario regulations outlined in food premises under the Health Promotion and Protection Act (HPPA) unless the animal is excluded by another law, including:

When another law prohibits a service animal from entering an area open to the public, the accommodation facilitator will seek another way of providing the handler with access to the good, service, or facility.

Animal verification

Where it is not immediately obvious that the animal is supporting the handler’s disability-related needs, accommodation facilitators can request an animal verification by contacting Protection Services at 613-562-5499.

Handlers will need to provide acceptable documentation to show that the animal is a service animal (such as a medical note).

Areas closed to the public

(e.g.: classes, workplaces and residences)


The following accommodation processes are applicable to all service animals other than guide dogs as defined under the Blind Persons Rights Act, 1990.

However, the handler is required to notify the designated accommodation service provider or accommodation facilitator in advance when the presence of the animal could raise safety concerns, necessitate arrangements, or trigger the need for disability-related accommodations for other members of the campus community occupying the same space, such as in the case of severe allergies.

Registration required

The University of Ottawa is committed to accommodating individuals with service animals up to the point of undue hardship, as outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Blind Persons Rights Act, 1990 and the Health Promotion and Protection Act (“HPPA”).

When a service animal is included and designated as an accommodation, the individual concerned shall undertake to register the service animal.

Required documentation

Often a person may need specific accommodations for their service animal in terms of housing, employment, or education. In such cases, accommodation service providers may require information beyond a brief medical note.

Accommodation service providers

Academic accommodations

Workplace accommodations

On-campus housing accommodations

Residents must follow the Housing and Residence Life process (Requests for Support and Adaptive Measures) found in the Residence Agreement, Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure (pdf).

Restricted areas

Service animals are not permitted in restricted areas unless pre-approved; a risk assessment must be conducted in accordance with Policy 77 - Occupational Health and Safety.

Athletics and recreation areas

More information on the use of service animals while using sports and recreational services, facilities, and equipment can be found on the Athletics and Recreation – Accessibility webpage

In addition to the terms of their agreement and accommodation plans, owners and handlers of service animals must comply with University policies, provincial legislation, and local ordinances that are related, but not restricted to, animal immunization, licensing, noise, waste management, at-large animals, dangerous animals, and the keeping of exotic animals, namely:

Animal control

Service animals are not permitted to run loose at any time unless specified differently in an accommodation plan.

Owners and/or handlers should ensure that their service animals refrain from causing a disturbance; they are expected to be in direct control of their animal at all times when on University of Ottawa facilities other than their housing room/unit.

Sanitation requirements

Service animals should be kept clean and well-groomed.

For the safety of members of the campus community and other animals, sick animals and animals with parasites are not allowed on the facilities of the University of Ottawa.

Unless specified differently in an accommodation plan, the owner and/or handler is responsible for cleaning up after their service animal. Animal excrement should be cleaned up promptly and placed in an appropriate outdoor waste receptacle.

Care and supervision

Unless specified differently in an accomodation plan, the owner and/or handler is solely responsible for the supervision, care and well-being of their service animal.

Supervision, care and well-being includes:

  • Providing a regular and appropriate schedule for food, water, exercise, mental stimulation, and elimination.
  • Ensuring that the service animal is regularly examined by a veterinarian and receives appropriate preventive care (e.g., immunization, parasite control).

Immunization and parasite prevention

Specific immunization and parasite prevention requirements will vary depending on the species and life stage, but at a minimum, rabies vaccination is mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets.

Service dogs and cats are required to wear current licence and rabies vaccination tags.


Owners and/or handlers are liable and responsible for any costs, damages, injuries (to the handler or any other person) or harm caused by the service animal.

Reporting an emergency now

(e.g., immediate safety, disturbance, negligence)

On campus, matters requiring immediate attention should be reported to Protection Services unless otherwise instructed.

  • On campus: call: 613-562-5411
  • Off campus: call: 911

Cleaning assistance and repairs

  • Owners and/or handlers are responsible for promptly cleaning up after their service animals. Where necessary, Facilities should be contacted for assistance at 613-562-5800 ext. 2222.
  • If any issues involving buildings or grounds that require immediate assistance occur, contact Facilities at 613-562-5800 ext. 2222.

Emergency plans

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) provides information on how to better prepare for emergencies and how to updating a personal profile to help ensure the safety of handlers and their service animals during an emergency.

Injuries, illness and damages

Work-related accident or incident reports must be completed in accordance with Policy 77 - Occupational Health and Safety.

Disability-related concerns

Students and employees whose disabilities are affected or aggravated by the presence of a service animal are invited to seek accommodation through the appropriate accomodation process. 

Discrimination and harassment complaints

The Human Rigths Office is responsible of handling harassment and discrimination complaints in accordance with policy 67a Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.

Contact us

Human Rights Office

1 Stewart St.
(Main Floor – Room 121)
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1N 6N5

Tel.: 613-562-5222
Email: [email protected]

Monday to Friday, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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