Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 19, 2023

newfoundland and labrador canada st john mountain side landscape

A lot of Canadians struggle with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental health problems. Not even the beautiful National Parks of this province are much help when you’re having a rough time due to mental illness.

Getting an emotional support animal in Newfoundland and Labrador can make life much easier for those struggling with mental illness. Emotional support animals (ESAs) are incredible assistance animals that offer comfort, love, and companionship.

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

An ESA is the best companion animal anyone could ask for. They’re always by their owner’s side and can make living with a mental illness a less daunting challenge. Fortunately, Canadian law sees how important they are! 

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 its 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.

You always need an ESA letter when you have an emotional support animal in Newfoundland and Labrador. This letter is proof that your ESA is not just a pet but a legitimate assistance animal. As ESAs enjoy some rights that pets don’t, it’s crucial to always have the letter on you!

Travel Laws: The Canadian Transportation Agency

When it comes to traveling, individuals with disabilities have the same rights as those who don’t have disabilities. This applies to people with a mental illness too! Because of this, Canadians can travel by train, ferry, and plane with their ESAs!

It is, of course, the responsibility of every ESA owner to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations of traveling with animals.

emotional support dog sitting on train seat

The Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Code

This federal Code gives you the right to fly with your ESA. Keep in mind, though, that there are restrictions to this. Always check an airline’s ESA policy before booking your ticket.

Navigating Canada’s Provincial ESA Laws

In Canada, housing and employment laws vary from province to province. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the law you need to read up on is the Human Rights Act (Section 5). Be sure to be thorough!

Employment Laws

There is no law that says you are allowed to take your ESA to work with you. Remember, ESAs do not have the same legal protection as service dogs. But you can always talk to your boss and see if they can make an exception for you. After all, the presence of your ESA increases your productivity. Be sure to take your ESA letter with you!

Housing Laws

There is no federal law governing the accommodation of people with disabilities in Canada. The closest thing to consider is the Human Rights Code, which addresses discrimination against individuals with physical or mental 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.

woman cuddling her emotional support cat

Exceptions to the Rules

Getting an emotional support animal in Newfoundland and Labrador comes with responsibilities. Some things can get your rights as an ESA owner revoked:

  • Falsifying or not showing a valid ESA letter.
  • Not complying with an airline’s ESA policy.
  • Having an ESA who is a danger to others.
  • Owning an ESA who destroys property.
  • Neglecting or endangering an ESA’s life.

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal in Canada

It is illegal to pass off a pet as an assistance animal. As such, there are fines in place for misrepresenting one.

3 Important Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

Before getting an emotional support animal in Newfoundland and Labrador, there are three things you need to know:

  1. Only a qualified mental health professional who can practice in your province can issue an ESA letter.
  2. Any person with a mental illness may qualify to become an ESA owner. This includes people who suffer from depression or from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example.
  3. An ESA does not need to be trained.

Where to Start the Search for Your Ideal ESA!

Virtually any animal can become an ESA. All you need is a meaningful connection with them. If you already have a beloved pet, they can become your new support buddy.

If you don’t own a pet, you can always adopt. Adopting an emotional support animal is a great idea. It’s good for people on a budget and those who want to better the life of a puppy or kitty in need.

Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal in Newfoundland and Labrador

If you’re getting an emotional support animal in Newfoundland and Labrador, visit one of these spots on a sunny day. We promise: you and your ESA will both have a blast!

emotional support animal in newfoundland and labrador playing in water

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

  • Mount Pearl Dog Park, Mount Pearl
  • Mundy Pond Dog Park, St. John’s
  • Sgt. Ned Nugent’s Field Dog Park, Conception Bay South

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars

It seems like the friendly folks of Newfoundland may be behind somewhat when it comes to dog-friendly restaurants. Have you found any dog-friendly places? Let us know in the comments below!

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

  • East Coast Newfoundland Cabin, Tors Cove
  • Hollyrood Hills Home, Harbour Main-Chapel Cove-Lakeview


The easiest way to make friends in your area is to go to events. Fortunately, there are year-round events dedicated to animal lovers and their pets in Newfoundland and Labrador. A simple Facebook or Google search will give you a good list. Choose one, take Fido along, and have fun!

ESAs in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: How to Get Connected Today!

Are you interested in getting an emotional support animal in Newfoundland and Labrador, 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 on Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Newfoundland and Labrador

Can I travel by plane with my ESA?

Is my landlord allowed to refuse my ESA on the property I’m renting?

Where can I get an ESA?

A new ruling on emotional support animals has been published by the Canadian Transportation Agency as of June 23, 2023 and will go into effect immediately.
Dogs will be the only animals accepted as ESAs, and only dogs that can fit in carriers are allowed in the cabin. The animal carrier must meet the carrier’s conditions and restrictions for carriage of animal carriers in the cabin (please see each carrier’s stipulations for sizing of carriers), and the ESD must remain in the carrier for the duration of its time in the passenger cabin.
This law does not affect ESAs for housing.

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