September 28, 2023

With the state of the world right now and progress in psychological well being analysis, the usage of service animals has been on the rise. Homeowners of emotional help canine typically discuss the advantages their pets supply in decreasing stress and nervousness, serving to them to finish each day duties a lot simpler.  In reality, nearly 80 per cent of B.C. residents favour laws that enables pet guardians the proper to maintain companion animals, in response to a 2008 ballot held by the BCSPCA.

As of late it isn’t unusual to see remedy animals in hospitals, college campuses, and airports. Even with the progress in psychological well being analysis and remedy animals, not all service animals are handled the identical.

When most individuals discuss service animals, folks typically consider seeing-eye canine or different service canine for folks’s bodily limitations. Nonetheless, there was a gentle improve in folks having animals for emotional help.

Even if pets have confirmed psychological, physiological and social advantages to people many stratas have restrictive guidelines round pet possession. We’re hopeful this weblog may help you when you’re within the troublesome place of your strata is making an attempt to forestall you from having an emotional help animal.

Is My Pet A Service Canine?

Underneath the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations, a service canine is outlined as “a canine that has been individually educated by a company or particular person specializing in service canine coaching to carry out a activity to help an individual with a incapacity with a necessity associated to their incapacity.”

In line with the Authorities of Canada, service and information canine are completely different from emotional help animals as a result of service and information canine obtain particular coaching to carry out particular activity to help folks. Moreover, in the case of transportation, the Authorities of Canada says that main Canadian provider can refuse to just accept emotional help animals on board, however not service or information canine.

British Columbia has a selected act regulation to make use of of information canine and repair canine known as the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act. This Act governs how information and repair canine (and their handlers) are licensed. This Act additional defines service canine to imply a canine that’s educated to carry out particular duties to help an individual with a incapacity and is licensed as a service canine.

At the moment in British Columbia, there are not any formal certification processes for emotional help canine.

What Are My Rights With A Service Or Information Canine?

Underneath the Information Canine and Service Canine Act, enterprise homeowners, authorities buildings, and some other place, lodging, or constructing that the general public is invited or has entry to can not stop the information canine, the service canine, whether or not in coaching or not, from getting into these areas (part 2).

As well as, below this Act, an individual could not deny a information canine or service canine from a manufactured dwelling website or rental unit or impose phrases or circumstances for the tenancy.  Word that this doesn’t apply to rental items which will entail sharing sleeping, rest room or cooking amenities within the area with a person from one other household.

If an individual contravenes both of these sections, that particular person has committee an offence and may very well be chargeable for a high-quality as much as $3,000. On the opposite facet, an individual who passes off a pet as an help animal may very well be chargeable for high-quality of as much as $3,000.

In British Columbia, the Strata Property Act regulates the connection between stratas and their homeowners/tenants. Underneath part 123 of the Strata Property Act, a strata bylaw that prohibits a pet or that restricts the entry of a pet doesn’t apply to information canine, retired information canine or service canine groups or service canine as outlined within the Information Canine and Service Canine Act.

Underneath British Columbia’s Human Rights laws, the Human Rights Code,  there’s a obligation for strata firms and different service suppliers to accommodate designated lessons together with folks with disabilities. The obligation to accommodate could embrace permitting strata homeowners and residents to have remedy or companion animals.

Underneath part 8 of the Human Rights Code (the “Code”), stratas are prohibited from imposing or making use of their bylaws in a manner that discriminates towards an individual based mostly on a incapacity, together with bodily or psychological incapacity. (Kallstrom v Strata Plan BCS 1437 and others, 2019 BCHRT 215 at para 17).

In case your emotional help canine aids you with a attribute protected by the Code, your strata could also be ordered to supply lodging for you and your emotional help canine.

I Suppose My Strata Violated My Proper to An Emotional Assist Animal. What Can I Do?

Step one is to find out whether or not you’ll undergo the Civil Rights Tribunal or Human Rights Tribunal.

The Civil Rights Tribunal offers with most Strata points; nevertheless, in case your declare entails a violation towards the Human Rights Code, you may as well undergo the Human Rights Tribunal.

The Civil Rights Tribunal can decline to use the Human Rights Code, so it is very important converse with a lawyer previous to deciding which tribunal to make your declare in.

In deciding which tribunal, additionally, you will wish to take a look at how lengthy the overall course of will take.

In line with the Civil Rights Tribunal, between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, the typical time to decision was:

Complete # of Days Since Declare was Filed
Declare settled by negotiation or facilitation 49
Declare resolved by default resolution 57
Declare resolved by CRT resolution 164


In line with the BC Human Rights Tribunal FAQ Page, the Human Rights Tribunal can take as much as 6 months to supply a choice.

With the intention to achieve a Human Proper Code violation dispute, the particular person making the criticism should show that:

  1. The particular person has a attribute protected by the Code;
  2. That the Respondent’s conduct precipitated an opposed affect in a protected space; and
  3. That the protected attribute was an element within the opposed affect

[See Moore v. British Columbia, 2012 SCC 61 [Moore] at para. 33]

If the particular person making the criticism proves these three parts, then the burden shifts to the Respondents to justify their conduct: Moore at para. 33.

Support Dog with Grandmother

How Do I Present My Strata Or The Tribunal That My Canine Is An Emotional Assist Canine?

Within the Human Rights Tribunal Choice of Lylack v. The Owners, Strata Plan Number LMS1755 and others, 2022 BCHRT 16L, the tribunal offered a common steerage to events requesting lodging, together with people who could contain exceptions to Strata bylaws.

The particular person in search of lodging should:

  • Present sufficient data for the strata council to grasp the particular person has a incapacity that’s negatively impacted; and
  • Cooperate with the strata to supply enough medical data. This will embrace a medical report. A short physician’s word on a prescription pad will most likely not be complete sufficient to determine the necessity for lodging.

In flip, the strata council should:

  • Handle requests for lodging promptly and take them critically. The Strata is entitled to request medical data that’s associated to the request for lodging. It isn’t entitled to any extra data than is strictly essential for this function. If the strata requests additional medical stories, it ought to be on the strata’s expense.
  • Limit entry to an individual’s medical data to solely these people who’re concerned within the lodging course of and who want to grasp the underlying medical data. The strata council ought to maintain medical data confidential from the final membership of the strata.
  • Acknowledge that it can not depend on a vote of its membership to disclaim an lodging.

As comparable evaluation was used within the Civil Rights Tribunal of Lenius v. The Owners, Strata Plan KAS 2959, 2022 BCCRT 515, the place the tribunal discovered the strata Mr. Lenuis’ and his spouse, Ms. Schlosser’s three (3) cats had been emotional help animals based mostly on the next proof:

  • A letter from a licensed Saskatchewan social employee stating that the cats had been an integral a part of Ms. Schlosser’s remedy plan;
  • A letter from a BC household doctor that outlined Ms. Schlosser’s prognosis and really useful that the animals be thought of essential to Ms. Schlosser’s psychological well being remedy and never be eliminated; and
  • A letter from a Saskatchewan household physician that recognized Ms. Schlosser and wrote that Ms. Schlosser discovered remedy in her 3 cats, which she has used since she was a teen.

Do I Want To Go Proper To A Tribunal To Dispute My Strata?

Brief reply is not any.

Earlier than beginning any authorized motion, together with going to a Tribunal, you have to first make the lodging request to your strata council and supply them the required paperwork. Should you have no idea what paperwork you want, request that the strata council give you an inventory of the paperwork they should overview your request.

Solely after strata council has reviewed and denied your lodging request must you proceed to the Civil Rights Tribunal or the Human Rights Tribunal.

Please word that generally you will have to file your criticism to Civil Rights Tribunal in two years of the incident whereas the Human Rights Tribunal is inside one yr of the incident.

If you’re uncertain of the date of the incident, search authorized recommendation as quickly as attainable.

For extra data or to arrange a session with our animal loving, award-winning strata and animal regulation legal professionals in Surrey or Vancouver, name us at 604-974-9529 or get in contact.