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Service animals

Service animals are more than just pets. For this reason, hosts are usually required to accept them in their accommodation. Here are answers to the most common questions about service animals.

What is a service animal?

Service animals include:

  • Guide dogs. A guide dog is a dog that is trained to help a blind or visually impaired person find their way around.
  • Service dogs. A service dog is a dog trained to help a person with a motor or cognitive disability. For example, a deaf or hard-of-hearing person, or a person living with epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Unlike emotional support animals, service animals are trained to perform specific tasks.

Does a host have the right to refuse access to a service animal?

No. In Canada, public places and service providers are required by law to allow people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animal. So Sinistar hosts must accept these animals in their accommodation.

However, there are exceptions in the law for health and safety reasons. For example, a host may ask a guest to part with their service animal if:

  • The guest is unable to control the animal or doesn’t take effective measures to do so.
  • The animal does its business inside the dwelling.

In this case, the guest must still be allowed to stay in the dwelling, but without his or her service animal.

Can a host require certification for a service animal?

In most Canadian provinces and territories, there is no certification for service animals. They only exist in British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia.

However, a host may require proof that a service animal has been trained to assist a person with a disability.

Do guests need to notify the host if they have a service animal in the home?

No. Guests are not required to notify the host. However, we recommend that you do so to ensure good relations with your host.

What should I do if I think I’m being discriminated against?

Sinistar takes discrimination complaints very seriously.

If a host refuses access to your service animal in the accommodation without a valid reason, notify your Sinistar agent. Explain the situation in as much detail as possible. He or she will investigate what happened and will find you another accommodation, if necessary.

What happens if a service animal causes damage to the temporary accommodation?

If an animal causes damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear, the host can claim compensation from the guest. Sinistar acts as a go-between with the host and the guest, and takes the necessary steps to collect the money.