Commitment and responsibilities

  • Waterloo Library is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
  • We will ensure that all staff dealing with the public are trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
  • The owner of the service animal is responsible for maintaining control over the service animal at all times. Further, the owner is responsible for any damages caused by the service animal.
  • The University of Waterloo's policy prohibiting pets from all buildings does not apply to service animals.

How to recognize a service animal

  • A service animal is any guide, hearing, or signal dog or other animal individually trained to assist a person with a disability.
  • The most common service animals are dogs; nowadays, other species, such as monkeys, ferrets, or miniature horses, are used to provide support.
  • For example, a mobility assistance animal may fetch, pull a wheelchair, or push an elevator button; a seizure response animal warns a person of an impending seizure or provides aid during a seizure.
  • Most service animals are identified by a 'uniform' such as a harness or vest.
  • Under the standard, an animal is a service animal if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by a person for reasons relating to his or her disability, such as wearing a harness or a vest.
  • Alternatively, the person may have a letter from a regulated medical professional verifying that the animal is required for reasons relating to his or her disability. Documentation can be provided by:
    • A member of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Nurses of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario,
    • A member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario.

How to interact

  • Pay attention to the owner, not the service animal.
  • Avoid petting or talking to a service animal; the animal is working and must not be distracted from its tasks.
  • If the animal is off-harness, request permission before petting or talking to it.
  • Do not request that the animal be left in a different location, such as outside an office.

Procedures

  • Service animals are permitted on campus in harness or with identification in the form of medical certification that the owner must carry.
  • Pets are not allowed in buildings on campus.
  • If it is not readily apparent that an animal in the Library is a service animal, you may ask if the animal is a service animal.
  • It is also appropriate to ask what services the animal provides.
  • You cannot ask questions about a person's disability.
  • If necessary, e.g. if the animal is not in harness, indicate that only service animals are allowed in the library, and ask for certification.
  • If certification is unavailable, you may request that the dogs be removed from the building.
  • The owner must be in control of the service animal at all times.
  • They are also responsible for any damages caused by the service animal.
  • In a workshop or event, if someone is severely allergic to the service animal, it is best to separate the individuals.
    • Speak to the individuals involved to find a solution that accommodates both.
    • Contact the Coordinator, Library Accessibility Services for further assistance.

Resources