Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Surrey, British Columbia

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 19, 2023

bridge at Surrey, British Columbia

Living with a mental health disorder is hard. Going outside, socializing, and enjoying the beautiful sunny days isn’t always easy.

Luckily, getting an emotional support animal in Surrey fixes that! With them, going out for walks and hikes in BC’s beautiful places and spaces is much easier and a lot of fun! 

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Surrey, Canada

People who have been diagnosed with a mental illness should consider having an emotional support animal (ESA) by their side. These animals offer companionship and shower their owners with love.

ESAs can make living with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression more manageable. The next time you have an anxiety attack, for instance, your four-legged ESA will be right there to calm you down and help you feel better.

Definition of an Assistance Animal According to Canadian Law

According to Canadian law, assistance animals help people with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities live their day-to-day lives. Thus, they have rights that normal pets don’t.

There are many different types of assistance animals, and it’s important to know the difference between all of them.

A service dog is a well-known type of assistance animal. They go through intensive training to perform specific tasks for their owners. Think of a guide dog helping a blind person cross the road, for example.

Psychiatric service dogs are also assistance dogs. Two of their many tasks is reminding their owner to take their meds on time and getting help when their owner has a panic attack.

Lastly, in certain provinces, emotional support animals are also considered assistance animals. They help people with a mental or emotional disability live their lives hassle-free. Through companionship and affection, they better their owner’s mental health and overall wellbeing.

Therapy animals don’t fit into this category. They do brighten up the day of nursing home residents and hospital patients. But because they’re not given to one single person, they’re not considered assistance animals.

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

Notice how we haven’t mentioned pets yet? That’s because they’re not considered assistance animals. This means they don’t enjoy the privileges and legal rights that ESAs and service dogs do.

So how can you tell a pet from an ESA? That’s simple — through an emotional support animal letter!

Do you want any of the benefits and privileges that come with owning an ESA? Then you absolutely need an emotional support letter. It’s a legal document that proves you have a diagnosed mental or emotional condition and that your ESA is a part of your clinical treatment plan. 

Only a qualified mental health professional who can practice in your province can issue you an ESA letter, so be wary of fake ESA letters online! 

Travel Laws: The Canadian Transportation Agency

Good news: you can travel by train, ferry, and plane with your furry friend in Canada! The Canadian Transportation Agency is here to protect your rights as an ESA owner.

As long as you follow all the rules and requirements of the service provider, you won’t have any problems during your trip! And don’t forget — you must have your ESA letter with you.

emotional support dog dressed as pilot

Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 

You can now leave your flight anxiety and stress at home. Take your emotional support companion with you on your next trip instead!

To take advantage of this privilege, make sure to have your ESA letter on you. You’ll also need to check the airline’s ESA policy. They may ask for additional documents, such as vaccination certificates, which you must show on arrival.

Navigating Canada’s Provincial ESA Laws

Some provinces are more ESA-friendly than others.

Therefore, you need to read up on your province’s laws beforehand!

Let’s Look at ESA Laws in Surrey

Are you thinking of getting an emotional support animal in Surrey? If so, you need to know the ESA laws in British Columbia like the back of your hand. The Human Rights Code (chapter 210) will be your best friend.

Employment Laws

The Human Rights Code doesn’t say your employer has to welcome your ESA in the workplace. But it also doesn’t say that managers can’t!

We suggest talking to your supervisor in person. Explain to them how important your ESA’s presence is for your mental health and productivity. If you show them your ESA letter, there’s a good chance they’ll make an exception for you.

Housing Laws

British Columbia law isn’t clear about having an emotional support animal in Surrey in rented housing. It’s really up to your landlord.

Have a heart-to-heart with your housing provider about your ESA living with you. Show them that they’re not a mere pet, but rather an important part of your clinical treatment plan.

Also, guarantee that your ESA will cause no damage to the apartment and that they won’t be a nuisance to the neighbors. Having your ESA letter on hand will help you greatly.

sad woman hugging golden retriever esa

ESA Campus Housing

Attending university is far from being easy. Many students deal with anxiety about piles of homework, exams, and academic essay writing. Living with an emotional support animal in Surrey would make it all better.

However, the law isn’t clear on campus housing and ESAs. Try meeting with your housing provider and showing them your ESA letter. They may allow your pup or kitten to live with you in your dorm.

Exceptions to the Rules

Of course, you have responsibilities as an ESA owner. These are some of the circumstances under which you would lose your ESA privileges:

  • Neglecting or harming your emotional support animal.
  • Having an ESA who is a danger to other people.
  • Not following airline ESA laws.

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal in Canada

Pet owners can’t pretend their furry companion is an emotional support animal in Surrey. It is a punishable offense. In British Columbia, it carries a fine of up to $200.

3 Important Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

Before welcoming into your life an emotional support animal in Surrey, there are three things you must know:

  1. Only people with diagnosed emotional or mental disorders can get an ESA.
  2. Talking to a landlord about living with an ESA can be tough, as they aren’t obliged to welcome them. But remember, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!
  3. Only a qualified mental health professional who can practice in your province can issue an ESA letter.

Where to Start the Search for Your Ideal ESA!

There’s a myth that you can buy or adopt an emotional support animal. It is purely fiction! The only requirement for an ESA is that they bond with you on a deep level.

This means your pet can become your future ESA. If you don’t already have a pet, visit a local animal shelter! There, you can adopt your new best friend and make their life (and yours) infinitely better.

Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal in Surrey

Once you have your emotional support animal in Surrey, it’s time to take them places. Get creative, show them around your favorite parts of the city, and discover new animal-friendly spots!

happy emotional support animal in surrey dog park

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Let Fido run free and make doggo friends in one of these parks:

  • Derby Reach Regional Park, Langley
  • Brookswood Dog Park, Langley
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars

Want to grab a bite to eat? These business establishments welcome pups of all ages and breeds!

  • Fresgo Inn Restaurant, Surrey
  • Poultry in Motion, White Rock
  • Hurricane Grill, Vancouver

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

Check into one of these hotels with your emotional support animal in Surrey for a relaxing day in the city.

  • Ramada Langley Surrey, Surrey
  • Surrey Central Inn, Surrey
  • Ocean Promenade Hotel, White Rock


Animal-friendly events are perfect for ESAs and their owners. They both get to socialize and meet new people and dogs.

A quick Facebook search will show you all the events near you. We’re sure you’ll find something to do no matter the season!

ESAs in Surrey, British Columbia: How to Get Connected Today!

Are you interested in getting an emotional support animal in Surrey, British Columbia? 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 Surrey, Canada

Will my ESA be allowed to live in my rented apartment?

Can I travel in Canada with my ESA?

Where can I take my ESA in Surrey?

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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