May 20, 2019

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

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st john's newfoundland and labrador seasideLiving with a mental illness can make it hard to appreciate all the beauty around you! However, with an emotional support animal (ESA) by your side, you can finally enjoy the stunning coastal views of St. John’s. These animals form a tight bond with their owners and help them live a better life. If you’re in need of a furry companion to help you cope with your disability, getting an emotional support animal in St. John’s is a great idea!

Disclaimer: CertaPet’s LMHPs do not issue ESA letters for Canadians at this time, but later in 2019, we will have qualified therapists in multiple Canadian provinces who specialize in treatment planning and emotional support animals.

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in St. John’s, Canada

The harsh Canadian winters can sometimes be unforgiving. But they don’t have to be! Those with a mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression can benefit a lot from the constant company of an ESA.

Picture this: you get home after a rough day and are welcomed by your loyal furry friend. Wouldn’t it feel great! But what exactly is an emotional support animal? And what makes them different from other pets or animals?

Definition of an Assistance Animal According to Canadian Law

Assistance dogs and cats are animals who help their owners live with a medical condition. They are much more than companion animals. They’re there for their owners even when no one else is.

An emotional support animal is considered an assistance animal, too. Their job is to brighten up their owner’s day, keep them company, and shower them with love and affection. They play a super important role in animal-assisted therapy too: coping with a mental illness becomes much more manageable when they’re around!

A service dog is also an assistance animal. They are given to people with a physical disability. They go through intensive training so that they can perform specific tasks for their owners. Think of a guide dog, for example.

There are also psychiatric service animals. They, too, are trained to help their owner in their day-to-day life. These animals assist people with psychological disabilities. For example, they may call for help when their owner has an epileptic attack, or bring medication to someone suffering from a mental illness.

Lastly, therapy animals are also popular but are not assistance animals. They go around in public places such as hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up patients and residents. The bond they form with humans usually helps a lot in a patient’s recovery!

woman with her emotional support animal in st. john's newfoundland

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

You may be wondering, “How can you tell an ESA from a regular pet?” That’s a very good question! Since an emotional support animal in St. John’s has rights pets don’t, it’s important to tell them apart.

The only way to do that is by showing an emotional support animal letter. This piece of paper proves that you have a mental health condition that gives you the right to own an ESA.

An ESA letter is a legally recognized document. It must be issued by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP)! With the ESA letter in your hands, you can live with your furry BFF and also travel with them: so don’t lose it!

Travel Laws: The Canadian Transportation Agency

If you want to travel with your ESA, the Canadian Transportation Agency has got you covered. They have ruled that people with a mental health problem must be accommodated comfortably just like any other passenger. Thus, you can travel by train, ferry, and plane in Canada with your ESA!

Just make sure you read up on the agency’s rules and regulations regarding animals!

The Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Act

When traveling by plane, you will always need to have your ESA letter on you. In addition to that, your airline may also ask you to show other paperwork. Getting all these documents ready is easy, so make sure to check the airline’s requirements before getting to the airport.

emotional support dog dressed up as a pilot

Navigating Canada’s Provincial ESA Laws

A federal agency regulates traveling with an ESA in Canada. Housing and access to a public facility, however, is not. These laws change from province to province. In this case, pay attention to the Newfoundland and Labrador ESA laws.

If you’re getting an emotional support animal in St. John’s, the Human Rights Act. Section 5 is what tells you all you need to know about having an ESA in this city.

Employment Laws

Your boss or manager don’t have to allow your ESA to come into the workplace. However, you can always show your supervisors your emotional support animal letter and explain that your ESA’s presence makes you more productive. You never know, they may make an exception for you.

Housing Laws

When it comes to housing, getting an emotional support animal in St. John’s to live with you isn’t hard. The Human Rights Act says that your landlord must provide reasonable accommodation for you and your furry plus one.

This also means you don’t need to just search for pet-friendly houses. Unlike pet owners, ESA owners can live in most rented housing units with their furry friend. Just make sure to always show your ESA letter to your landlord. It should be smooth sailing from there.

ESA Campus Housing

You can still get an emotional support animal in St. John’s if you live in rented campus housing — even if your dorm is not pet-friendly! You have the same rights and benefits as any other tenant. The Human Rights Act has your back.

Exception to the Rules

As always, there are excepting to these ESA privileges and rules. Your rights as an ESA owner could be taken away in these circumstances:

  • If you neglect or abuse your ESA.
  • When your ESA is a nuisance or a danger to others.
  • If you fail to show a valid ESA letter to your landlord or to an airline.

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal in Canada

Pretending to have been diagnosed with a disability so you can get an ESA is a crime. The same goes for saying your pet is an ESA or another assistance animal. In Quebec, for example, misrepresenting an assistance animal can get you a fine of CAN $1,400 or more!

3 Important Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

Before welcoming an emotional support animal in St. John’s into your life, you need to know three things:

  1. An ESA letter can be given to any man or woman diagnosed with an emotional or mental disability.
  2. Public accommodation is not mandatory for ESAs. However, they are welcome in pet-friendly establishments.
  3. Only a licensed mental health professional or a registered doctor can issue an ESA letter.

Where to Start the Search for Your Ideal ESA

The great thing about emotional support animals is that there are not a lot of restrictions. Any kind of dog or cat can become an ESA. The only requirement is that you form an emotional connection with that animal.

If you already have a pet at home, they can become your new ESA. If not, you can go to a shelter and adopt a kitty or pup — they make great ESAs!

Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal in St. John’s

There are some cool places in the St. John’s area that are pet-friendly. Drop by to have a fun day with your pup out of the house!

woman throwing frisbee for border collie in park

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Let Fido run free in one of these dog parks:

  • Sable Chief Dog Park
  • Mundy Pond off Blackler Avenue
  • Waterford Valley

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars

Do you know of any cool restaurants that welcome pups on a leash? If so, let us know so we can add them to our list!

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

There don’t seem to be any pet-friendly hotels and resorts in St. John’s. But with so many camping sites around the city, who needs a hotel?

Events

There’s no better way to make animal-loving friends than by going to events dedicated to dogs. A quick Google or Facebook search will show you a list of events near you!

ESAs in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador: How to Get Connected with a LMHP in Your Province Today!

In order to get an emotional support animal in St. John’s, you first need an ESA letter. Only a licensed mental health professional can write you one. Finding a therapist in your province can be a little hard. Look for referrals online or talk to a friend — it should make your job easier.

Common Questions

What’s the difference between a pet and an ESA?

Can my ESA travel by plane?

Do ESAs have to live in pet-friendly apartments?

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