Canadian Transportation Agency issues preliminary decision about traveling with an emotional support animal

Notice of extension

The Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) accepts that Via Rail, WestJet, Air Canada, Air France, the National Airlines Council of Canada, the International Air Transport Association and Airlines for America require more time to file submissions to justify why the Agency should not finalize its preliminary finding, as directed in Decision LET-AT-55-2022. Therefore, the Agency grants the parties and interested persons requests for an extension of time to file submissions.

Accordingly, the parties and the interested persons have until 5:00 pm Gatineau local time on February 13, 2023, to file submissions and provide a copy to all other parties.

The parties will then have until 5:00 pm Gatineau local time on March 6, 2023, to file comments on the other parties’ submissions and on the interested persons’ position statements with the Agency, and to provide a copy to other parties.

Any questions or other correspondence in regard to this matter should refer to Case 22-41428 and be filed through the Agency's Secretariat e-mail address: secretariat@otc-cta.gc.ca.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) issued on December 14, 2022 a decision related to Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). The Agency found on a preliminary basis that acceptance of a species other than a dog as an ESA would cause undue hardship for carriers within the federal transportation network.

The Agency proposes conditions to manage the risks inherent in the carriage of emotional support dogs (ESDs), balancing the interests of persons with disabilities who use ESDs with those of the industry and the travelling public, including other persons with disabilities who use service dogs.

The parties have the opportunity to show cause why the Agency should not finalize these preliminary findings by filing further submissions through the process set out at the end of this preliminary decision.

Parties and other interested persons who wish to comment on the preliminary findings can consult the decision for further instructions.

Background

The Agency has before it six applications in which applicants seek to travel with an animal that is or could be an ESA. Because a growing number of persons with disabilities seek to travel with ESAs, the Agency has decided to join these applications to allow for a more efficient process to consider whether carriers should be required to transport ESAs within the federal transportation network.

According to the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations, a service dog is “a dog that has been individually trained by an organization or person specializing in service dog training to perform a task to assist a person with a disability with a need related to their disability”. However, ESAs do not perform a task; rather, their presence provides comfort and emotional support to persons with mental health-related disabilities.

In this decision, the Agency examined whether ESAs can be carried without causing undue hardship to carriers, when the applicant has demonstrated that they have a mental health-related disability requiring them to travel with an ESA.

Date modified: