Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Manitoba, Canada

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northern lights in manitoba canadaGetting an emotional support animal in Manitoba can mean all the difference for individuals with mental and/or psychological disabilities. For people suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the comforting companionship of an assistance animal can truly make their road to recovery shorter and easier.

Disclaimer: CertaPet has qualified therapists in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario only at this time.

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Manitoba, Canada

So, how do you go about getting an emotional support animal (ESA) in Manitoba, Canada? What does it mean to have an ESA?

Read on to learn about some of the laws and regulations about ESAs in Canada and Manitoba.

Definition of an Assistance Animal According to Canadian Law

According to Canadian law, the definition of an assistance animal is an animal that brings support and/or comfort to someone with an emotional, mental, psychological, or physical disability.

This definition applies to both ESAs, service dogs and psychiatric service dogs. Don’t confuse an ESA with a service animal, e.g a guide dog or a hearing dog.

What is an ESA Letter, and Why You Need One in Canada! 

An emotional support animal (ESA) letter is a prescription from your qualified mental health professional. This letter, dated, and written on your doctor’s letterhead, states that you have a mental or psychological disability.

It also proves that your companion animal is integral to your treatment plan.

Travel Laws: Canadian Transportation Agency

As more and more Canadians with disabilities travel with their assistance animals or ESAs, it has become increasingly necessary to define the corresponding legislation.

According to the Canadian Transportation Agency, “persons with disabilities have a right to an equal opportunity to benefit from the same level of transportation services afforded to others…” In a nutshell, this means the right to equal access.

Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 

Canadian carriers flying domestic routes should accommodate an assistance animal without additional charge due to the Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities voluntary code. The following criteria do need to be met:

An individual needs that particular animal for assistance. The animal was trained by a professional service or institution to assist a person with a disability.

The animal is correctly harnessed according to the standards established by a professional service animal institution.

fluffy white emotional support dog on airplane

Navigating Canada’s Provincial ESA Laws

Laws about people with disabilities, assistance animals, and emotional support animals differ in each province. Some provinces define ESAs as assistance animals. Others do not define ESAs at all.

Most provinces will, at least, hold with a Human Rights Act. This act protects people with disabilities from discrimination.

Employment Laws

In Manitoba, the law that protects against discrimination of people with disabilities is the Manitoba Human Rights Act, Chapter H175. This outlines that it is the right of each person to be treated solely on the basis of their personal merits.

Still, as far as bringing your ESA to work goes, there is no law that obligates an employer to allow you to bring an ESA to work with you.

Housing Laws

Manitoba does not have a law clarifying the accommodation of ESAs. You can argue that the Human Rights Act covers this situation to some extent. This legislation protects persons with disabilities.

ESA Campus Housing

The provincial housing laws for assistance animals apply to campus housing too. If you are going to study in a different province make sure that you have familiarized yourself with the ESA laws in that province. The rules for ESAs in campus housing are not set in stone.

Contact the school about your ESA before moving in.

Exception to the Rules

Just because one air carrier will allow Fifi to sit on your lap during the flight, doesn’t mean that the next airline will. Make sure to find out about the specific airline’s ESA policy.

Some airlines impose restrictions on the size, age, and breed of animal that may travel in the cabin with you. For the sake of your and your ESA’s safety, as well as that of fellow passengers, you may be asked to crate your ESA for the duration of the flight.

If you neglect or mistreat your assistance animal, you will lose your ESA letter and your privileges.

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal in Canada

Different provinces have different legislation about this offense. In most cases, a person found guilty of misrepresenting an assistance animal faces serious fines!

3 Important Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1. ESA laws in Canada differ from province to province.
  2. Different airlines may have a different policy when it comes to ESAs and other assistance animals. Some will allow your ESA to travel in the cabin with you, others not. Some air carriers are content with an ESA letter. Other airlines might require more documentation, e.g. proof of training.
  3. Not all landlords have to accommodate ESAs and their owners. Make sure that your landlord is ok with your bringing an ESA home before you move in.

couple with emotional support cat in apartment

Where to Start the Search for Your Ideal ESA!

The best place to look for your emotional support animal in Manitoba is at the local animal shelter. Whether you are looking for a fluffy kitten or a playful pup. A wise old tabby, or a faithful hound. Pure-bred or pavement special. There are so many loving and lonely animals looking for a second chance at a happily ever after.

Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal in Manitoba

Manitoba has friendly people, beautiful lakes and exquisite winter landscapes. For holidaying or hanging out, you will be sure to find some lovely places for you to explore with your furry friend by your side!

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

There are few things in life that a hound loves more than being able to run free and exploring new areas and meeting new friends. In Manitoba, there are several off-leash dog parks that you can take your pooch to. Charleswood dog park has a large open lawn area with a lot of big trees.

Loads of space for your doggo to run and play! Kil-Cona park is another great spacious dog park in Manitoba. Little Mountain Park is a multi-use park but has plenty of space for your pup to run and explore.

family playing in snow with their emotional support animal in manitoba

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars

Buccacino’s Fresca Italiana serves delicious Italian fare in a relaxed setting. They welcome dogs at their outdoor tables. The Yellow Dog Tavern has a relaxing environment and is dog-friendly. They serve fresh local beer and casual Mexican food.

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

In Winnipeg. The Quality Inn & Suites, as well as the Comfort Inn at the Airport, are pet-friendly places to stay with good ratings. The Auberge Clemence B&B and Retreat Centre boasts a stunning location, historical building, and a friendly hostess.

Lakeview Gimli Resort has a fitness center, jacuzzi, and a year-round indoor pool. When the weather is fine, the beach is close by!


There are no pet-centric events in Manitoba. However, if you do get an emotional support animal in Manitoba, and are a history buff, take time to visit the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada.

Costumed hosts re-enact the everyday life of 19th-century fur-traders. Well-behaved pets on-leash are welcome on the grounds. If you can carry your pet you may bring them inside.

ESAs in Manitoba, Canada: How to Get Connected Today!

Do you believe that having an ESA can help improve your quality of life? Get in touch with a qualified mental health professional in your province. They can help you get an ESA letter.

Currently, we are only servicing British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. We are invoking the Human Rights Code when we issue these letters. The Human Rights Code provides the broadest protections to service animal users, as it extends the right to be free from discrimination, harassment, and reprisal in all of the social areas covered by the Code, including services, goods and facilities, accommodation, contracts, employment, and vocational associations. We are also fully aware and understand that an ESA does not have to be honored and can be denied. We make sure to let our clients know this. There is no legal obligation for the other party to approve an ESA request, but they may be motivated to do so on compassionate grounds. Animals that have little training, are poorly behaved or have damaged property will be rejected.

****The Canadian Transportation Agency is currently holding public consultations on the possibility of extending some ATPDR provisions. This includes the possibility of requiring that the air, rail, ferry, and bus carriers that they accept some or all untrained ESAs. They have published a consultation paper that invites travellers with disabilities, carriers, and any other interested parties to give them feedback. If anyone is interested in providing feedback, you will find more information, questions to answer, and instructions in the paper ( . The deadline for comments is February 7, 2020.

Common Questions About Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Manitoba

Do I Need an ESA Letter for my emotional support animal in Manitoba?

Can I travel by train with my ESA?

Where can I get an emotional support animal in Manitoba?

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