Can My Strata Stop Me From Having An Emotional Help Canine?

With the state of the world at the moment and progress in psychological well being analysis, the usage of service animals has been on the rise. House owners of emotional help canines typically talk about the advantages their pets provide in lowering stress and anxiousness, serving to them to finish each day duties a lot simpler.  Actually, nearly 80 per cent of B.C. residents favour laws that enables pet guardians the fitting to maintain companion animals, based on a 2008 ballot held by the BCSPCA.

Nowadays it’s not 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 canines or different service canines for folks’s bodily limitations. Nonetheless, there was a gentle improve in folks having animals for emotional help.

Although pets have confirmed psychological, physiological and social advantages to people many stratas have restrictive guidelines round pet possession. We’re hopeful this weblog can assist you if you happen to’re within the troublesome place of your strata is trying 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 skilled by a company or particular person specializing in service canine coaching to carry out a job to help an individual with a incapacity with a necessity associated to their incapacity.”

In accordance with the Authorities of Canada, service and information canines are totally different from emotional help animals as a result of service and information canines obtain particular coaching to carry out particular job to help folks. Moreover, relating to 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 canines.

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

Presently in British Columbia, there are not any formal certification processes for emotional help canines.

What Are My Rights With A Service Or Information Canine?

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

As well as, beneath this Act, an individual might not deny a information canine or service canine from a manufactured residence web site or rental unit or impose phrases or situations for the tenancy.  Word that this doesn’t apply to rental items that will entail sharing sleeping, rest room or cooking services within the house 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 responsible for a fantastic as much as $3,000. On the opposite facet, an individual who passes off a pet as an help animal may very well be responsible for fantastic 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 canines, retired information canines or service canine groups or service canines as outlined within the Information Canine and Service Canine Act.

Underneath British Columbia’s Human Rights laws, the Human Rights Code,  there’s a responsibility for strata companies and different service suppliers to accommodate designated lessons together with folks with disabilities. The responsibility to accommodate might 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 means that discriminates in opposition to an individual primarily based 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 offer lodging for you and your emotional help canine.

I Assume My Strata Violated My Proper to An Emotional Help 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; nonetheless, in case your declare includes a violation in opposition to the Human Rights Code, you can too undergo the Human Rights Tribunal.

The Civil Rights Tribunal can decline to use the Human Rights Code, so you will need to communicate with a lawyer previous to deciding which tribunal to make your declare in.

In deciding which tribunal, additionally, you will need to have a look at how lengthy the full course of will take.

In accordance 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 choice 57
Declare resolved by CRT choice 164


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

With a view to reach 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 induced an hostile influence in a protected space; and
  3. That the protected attribute was an element within the hostile influence

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

If the particular person making the criticism proves these three components, 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 Help Canine?

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

The particular person searching for lodging should:

  • Present sufficient info for the strata council to know the particular person has a incapacity that’s negatively impacted; and
  • Cooperate with the strata to offer adequate medical info. This may occasionally embrace a medical report. A short physician’s be aware 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 info that’s associated to the request for lodging. It isn’t entitled to any extra info than is strictly mandatory for this goal. If the strata requests additional medical experiences, it must be on the strata’s expense.
  • Limit entry to an individual’s medical info to solely these people who’re concerned within the lodging course of and who want to know the underlying medical info. The strata council ought to hold medical info 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 related 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 primarily based 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 therapy plan;
  • A letter from a BC household doctor that outlined Ms. Schlosser’s analysis and beneficial 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?

Quick reply is not any.

Earlier than beginning any authorized motion, together with going to a Tribunal, you could 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 assessment 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 be aware that most often 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.

In case you are uncertain of the date of the incident, search authorized recommendation as quickly as doable.

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