Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Manitoba, Canada

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By: Lezanne Winshaw Updated: May 21, 2020

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 easier.

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 (in certain provinces) is an animal that brings support and comfort to someone with a physical, mental, emotional, or psychological disability. This definition applies to both service dogs and psychiatric service dogs, and in some provinces, it applies to emotional support animals as well.

Do not confuse an ESA with a service animal, however. A service animal (such as a guide dog or a hearing dog) has the most protection under Federal Canadian laws.

Another classification is that of a therapy animal. These differ in that they do not assist their pet parents. Rather, a therapy animal and their owner or handler work as a team to bring joy and comfort to others in a more public setting. Therapy animals go with their handlers to volunteer at places such as hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. Therapy animals do undergo some training, but it’s not as rigorous as that of service animals.

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

An emotional support animal letter is a legal document that describes your need for an ESA. An ESA letter is written by a qualified mental health professional or doctor.

Essentially, the ESA letter shows that your feline or canine companion is a real emotional support animal–not just a pet. There are, therefore, laws that protect you and your ESA against discrimination when traveling on public transport as long as you have an ESA letter. 

In certain provinces, ESA owners are also protected against discrimination when looking for rented accommodation.

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, all Canadians are able to enjoy the same access to travel. This includes people with a disability who wish to travel with ESAs.

Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 

The Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Act voluntary code and the Air Transportation Regulations (ATR) must be adhered to by every Canadian-based airline.

It is especially important for individuals with a disability traveling with an ESA or a service animal.

It is, of course, the responsibility of every ESA owner to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations of traveling with animals. Be sure to check your specific airline’s ESA policy as well, as they may require additional documentation beyond your ESA letter, such as a vaccination certificate as well as advance notice that your ESA will be accompanying you. 

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 from province to province.

That said, it’s important to become familiar with your province’s laws before you get an ESA.

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. The best thing you can do is speak with your manager about bringing your ESA to work. Show them your ESA letter and tell them how your companion animal boosts your morale and helps you to be more productive. You never know–they may be sympathetic to your situation!

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. It states that: “A person must not deny to a person with a disability residential premises advertised or otherwise represented as available for occupancy by a tenant.”

Keep in mind, however, that some landlords simply might not allow an ESA. Make sure that yours is sympathetic before trying to bring an ESA home. Otherwise, look for accommodation where pets are allowed.

ESA Campus Housing

The rules for ESAs in campus housing are not set in stone.

Contact the school about your ESA before moving in.

It can be stressful to be a student when essays and exams pile up. You can make the case that your ESA helps you stay clear-headed and focused while also boosting your morale.

Exceptions to the Rules

Just because one air carrier will allow your ESA to sit on your lap during the flight doesn’t mean that the next airline will. Make sure to find out about your 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 policies when it comes to ESAs. Some will allow your ESA to travel in the cabin with you, others will not. Some air carriers are content with an ESA letter. Other airlines might require more documentation, e.g. a vaccination certificate.
  3. Not all landlords have to accommodate ESAs and their owners. Make sure that your landlord is OK with you 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 to explore new areas and meet 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 and 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!

Events

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!

Are you interested in getting an emotional support animal in Manitoba, Canada? To get started, take our free 5-minute pre-screening test. We’ll put you in touch with a qualified mental health professional who can practice in your province. They’ll book an appointment with you, and if you qualify, they’ll issue you an emotional support animal letter!

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.

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?


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