Service Animals & Support Resources

Service Animals

Service animals are welcomed at the University to accompany persons with disabilities who may require assistance.

Service animals are working animals and can be readily identifiable through visual indicators such as a vest or harness. They must accompany their owner to work or class and be kept with their owner at all times. A requirement for a service animal may also be confirmed by a regulated health professional.

Please do not distract the service animal while it is working – this includes talking, petting or feeding.

Access to Premises

The requirements of the Customer Service Standard around service animals apply to those areas of the University premises where the public or third parties are allowed to access. Premises include buildings, land or grounds where service is provided.

Premises are considered open to the public even if they are only open to those people who have paid an admission fee, are members, or have met certain eligibility or entrance requirements.

The University’s outdoor spaces, recreation facilities and hallways are open to the public. The classrooms, which only staff and people who have been admitted to the university have access to, are also considered to be open to the public. The rules on service animals apply to all of these areas of the University’s campus.


The exception to the requirement on allowing service animals under the Customer Service Standard is when another law specifically states animals must be excluded or when, by operation of another law, the animal is excluded.

Where food is prepared, stored or sold

  • Two examples of laws that specifically exclude animals are regulations under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001. However, both include exceptions for service dogs. Please refer to the legislation for details.

Health and safety requirements

  • There may be rare circumstances where, for the reasons of health and safety of another person, allowing a person with a disability to enter a premises and be accompanied by their service animal needs to be considered.
  • In the rare situation where another person’s health and safety could be seriously impacted by the presence of a service animal, all relevant factors and options should be considered in trying to find a solution that meets the needs of both individuals.

How do I Serve Someone if their Animal is Excluded by Law?

Explain to the individual why the animal is excluded and see what other arrangements can be made. If the person with the service animal agrees, this might mean leaving the animal in a secure area or offering to serve the person outside or in another location where the animal is permitted.

It is important to consider the needs of the person with a disability if his or her service animal is excluded and to ensure that other measures are explored.

For more information please visit the Ontario Government’s accessibility laws website. For further information regarding situations specific to the U of T context, please contact the AODA Office at

Support Persons

A support person accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs.

Support persons are welcomed at the University to accompany persons with disabilities in order for them to access the University services. Communication and service should be focused on the individual as opposed to the support person.

If you are holding an event where an admission fee is being charged indicate on the event promotional material or at the ticket desk if support persons will be charged admission.This allows for the support person and the person with a disability to be prepared.