Considerations for service animal owners/handlers

The University of Waterloo (the “University”) is committed to fostering an accessible campus environment for everyone, including persons with disabilities.  The University recognizes the need for Service Animals by persons with disabilities to support independence, dignity, and integration into our campus environment.  The following terms and conditions will apply to the individual and the Service Animal that enters into University property, as permitted by Policy 58 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Procedural responsibilities:

  1. Complete the Service Animal Verification Request (PDF) and return all applicable documentation (including Individual risk assessment, housing agreements, etc) to AccessAbility Services (for students) or Occupational Health (for employees) for assessment. If you have alternate documentation which validates the need for a service animal (e.g., in the case of guide dogs as defined by the Blind Persons’ Rights Act, by providing the appropriate Identification Card) this may be used as an alternative to completion of the noted forms. Please discuss this with AccessAbility Services/Occupational Health to determine the most appropriate documentation required.
  2. Provide verification of animal’s health on an annual basis, at minimum.

Handler responsibilities

  1. Agree that the service animal is accompanied and controlled at all times by the individual.
  2. Agree that the service animal remain in close proximity to the individual at all times, unless the individual is in an area where the service animal is not permitted, in which case the service animal must be crated.
  3. Agree that the service animal is kept clean, well groomed and odour free.
  4. Assume full responsibility of care and cleanup for the service animal while on University premises, including evenings and weekends.
  5. Assume accountability for the service animal’s behaviour. Recognize that any disruptions caused by the service animal to campus community or damage to University property, will be regarded the same as if you had directly engaged in that behaviour.
  6. Assume all costs associated with a) repairing any damages caused from the service animal, and b) removing the animal if the university had to intervene.
  7. Be prepared to be asked about the animal, and to show documentation, regularly.  The University will provide a Service Animal Identification Card if required.
  8. Be familiar with areas of campus where the service animal is not permitted. 
  9. Understand that others in the University community may have a health or safety concern about exposure to a service animal and that there may be a need to balance the accommodation needs of all in the University community.

Service animal behaviour expectations

  1. The animal is trained and prepared to encounter new situations, such as crowds, confined spaces, intriguing smells, etc.
  2. The animal has been properly socialized with people varying in features such as height, gender, skin colour, facial hair, clothing type, and accessibility items such as wheelchairs and canes.
  3. The animal has been properly socialized with a variety of animals, including other service animals and/or prey species.
  4. Recognize the disruptions that the animal may cause in class, meeting, and/or during an exam and develop a contingency plan.
  5. Consider the impact of the animal on other service animals and others.
  6. Animal is sufficiently mature and of appropriate temperament to avoid impulsive behaviours that might be disruptive or damaging to property.
  7. Animal is sufficiently trained to avoid elimination accidents.
  8. Animal has been trained to ensure they are fully under the control of the owner, including consistent and immediate responses to commands within a busy environment within campus context.

Animal welfare

  1. The level of activity, crowding and noise in spaces frequented is appropriate for the needs of the animal species.
  2. The animal is healthy and at no greater risk for zoonotic pathogen (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can be transmitted between humans and animals) exposure than other animals.
  3. The animal’s size and biology is suitable for daily activities.
  4. Ensure the well-being of the animal by meeting its needs on campus, including, but not limited to:  feeding, watering, timely breaks for eliminating, and exercise and mental stimulation for the animal.