Legally Classify an Emotional Support Animal as an Assistance Animal Across Canada

Legally Classify an Emotional Support Animal as an Assistance Animal Across Canada

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Ashley Eden started this petition to Kennedy Stewart (Mayor of Vancouver) and

To bring into law in Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada that an Emotional Support Animal is an Assistance Animal that is recognized as a "reasonable accommodation" for a person with an emotional disability. An Emotional Support Animal provides help to alleviate symptoms of an emotional disability. For Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada to ensure an Emotional Support /Assistance Animal is not classified as a "pet" and therefore Emotional Support/Assistance Animals are not subject to restrictions normally applied to pets by housing providers. A housing provider is obligated to make a reasonable accommodation and allow a tenant to have an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal in their home. 

Traditionally legal jurisdiction over Assistance and Service Animals and your personal right to access them is a Provincial and Local matter. I argue that this is a Human Right for every Canadian to have access to the mental healthcare they need, and therefore should also be legal at a Federal Level, across Canada. 

My story: 

I am a single person living alone in a one bedroom apartment in Vancouver. For three years now I have asked my landlord if I would be able to have an Emotional Support Animal in my home. He continues to say that there is a no pet policy (despite the fact that there are numerous animals living in the building). 

I have two separate note's from two different doctors stating that an Emotional Support Animal would support my emotional and mental health needs. I have shown these to my landlord and he continues to deny my request based on the building's no pet policy. 

The first note was in relationship to 3 years ago after I survived a significant trauma. The Emotional Support Animal was suggested by my doctor to help in my PTSD recovery from this trauma.

My most recent note this past year is due to the fact that I have developed epilepsy and an Emotional Support Animal would further support both my emotional and mental well-being healthcare needs by providing emotional support, leading to a calmer nervous system, acting as a preventative measure for my seizure on-sets, providing support for my body during seizures and more over the potential to train the animal to press a button if my seizure was too intense - as I have seizures in my sleep and live alone.

With the current COVID isolation, I am separated from my friends and family, and therefore I have been cut off from all touch. As a result my seizures have increased.  Having an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal would greatly increase my quality of life and improve my overall health and well-being. 

I also know that many throughout Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada struggle with mental and emotional health issues and legally being able to have an Emotional Support Animal in their homes. 

In the United States an Emotional Support Animal is considered an Assistance Animal and therefore is not a "pet". A housing provider is therefore obligated to make a reasonable accommodation and allow a tenant to have an Assistance Animal in their home. I do not often look to our neighbours to the south to guide our policy but in this case I would like Canada to recognize the same rights here that an Emotional Support Animal is an Assistance Animal and therefore is not considered a pet.

I appreciate your help. Thank you! 

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