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Are Emotional Support Animals permitted on the Kasper bus?

An emotional support animal (ESA) – sometimes referred to as an assistance animal – is an animal that provides companionship, comfort, support, and security to individuals who suffer from mental or emotional, and sometimes physical illnesses or disabilities. This can include PTSD, chronic pain, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and various health issues, such as high blood pressure Because an ESA’s role is to primarily provide comfort and security, the types of ESAs are broad. Some common types of ESAs include dogs, pigs, cats, ferrets, monkeys, miniature horses, hamsters, fish.

Unlike service animals, an ESA does not require any specific training. However, an “ESA letter” from a qualified mental health professional who practices in your province is required to be covered by ESA laws across Canada. Otherwise, the animal is simply considered a normal (companion) pet. While provinces vary on the regulation of ESAs, there is no law in Canada that requires an individual to register their ESA or obtain certification for an ESA. Rather, an ESA letter may be required to demonstrate that an individual requires an ESA in order for it to have access to certain places like airplanes, public places, and employment and housing. The ESA letter must be provided by a licensed mental health professional who is in good standing with the law. This means that they must comply with the Canada Health Act. The contents of this letter will generally disclose information about the owner and why an ESA is needed. The contents of an ESA letter may vary depending on the need for the letter. In the context of travel, the ESA letter should:

  • Be on your attending mental health professional’s letterhead
  • Include the type of license held by your mental health professional and the jurisdiction in which it was issued
  • Be less than a year old
  • State that you are currently under the care of the licensed health professional who prepared the document
  • State that you have a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical
  • Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM V)
  • State that you require the assistance animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for an activity at your intended destination
  • State the task that the animal performs for you when traveling
  • State whether you require your assistance animal to travel as a lap-held emotional support animal

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