Canadian Registry of Therapy Animals and Service Animals (CRTASA) Launches New Service

Posted to site October 1, 2010

CRTASA is the new centralized registry service in Canada aiming to ease access to public places for all people with disabilities and their service animals, whether trained guide dogs or another species of animal officially trained and certified by a licensed training facility, to assist an owner with special needs. Species of service animals that CRTASA registers includes guide dogs as well as the Capuchin Monkey and the miniature-horse/pony or any officially trained service animal by a licensed and certified training facility and member in good standing with their respective professional association.

As reported to CRTASA by many people with disabilities that rely on the assistance of their service animal to lead a more independent life, proving their animal’s official designated working status to a business owner is found to be problematic at times, especially when their disability is not a visible one and/or their service animal is not the stereotypical “seeing-eye-dog” or readily identifiable as a service animal being used to assist them with their daily activities.

What compounds this problem is that different service animal training organizations issue their own organization’s photo ID cards that some businesses do not honour because of their own lack of familiarity or knowledge about the issuer. Even identification cards issued by a Governor General’s Office vary among provinces and pose some problems for persons wanting to enter a place of business with their service animal, only to find some staff unwilling to accept an out-of-province identification card for their service animal.

While CRTASA understands that show of identification is not a condition to allow access to a public place to a person with a disability accompanied by a service animal, the fact remains that many people with service animals still experience undue hardship at times when their documentation is questioned or worse not accepted due to the divergent nature of issued documents by different agencies within and among provinces.

While CRTASA acknowledges that legal recourse to file a claim of discrimination based on disability with the respective provincial Human Rights Commission is an option for a person denied entry to a public place with their service animal. Unfortunately, many do not seek to pursue this matter legally due to the investment of resources required whether temporal, financial, physical and/or emotional.

Through CRTASA’s research it has also been identified that documentation provided by a treating doctor is not always recognized by some places of business in Canada as they question whether that doctor’s note applies to that person or the animal accompanying them – especially when there is no photo identification attached to verify the status of ownership or official status of the animal provided on a medical note.

Based on this apparent lack of a universal identification system in place for people with disabilities and their service animals in Canada and given that current provincial and federal legislation are still somewhat vague and inconsistent across the nation, including allowing some business service providers to still ask for show of proof about a service animal – supports the need for a more enhanced universal registry process in Canada that the CRTASA’s Photo ID Card now offers.

CRTASA also recognizes the need to promote this national registry among business providers and that is why CRTASA is reaching out and collaborating with the business community sectors to inform them of this new format of standardized CRTASA photo identification service for people with service animals. Public outreach also includes CRTASA providing various accessibility business training programs to management and staff of the business community to heighten their awareness and understanding of the role of a service animal in modern day society.

As an added benefit, CRTASA is also working towards encouraging participating businesses to extend a loyalty reward program to all registered CRTASA members and their working animals when they shop or use their services. (Each CRTASA Photo ID Card has a registered Bar Code on the back to be scanned at the time of purchase.)

A recent change accomplished for owners of working animals includes CRTASA successfully havingnegotiated a new “Working Animal Health Insurance Policy Plan” with one of its Corporate Fellows, PetHealth Inc. where owners of a service animal, handlers/trainers and foster parents of a service animal in training and also owners of therapy animals in Canada and the USA can now apply for animal health insurance regardless of their working animal’s species, breed or age. Criteria that current pet health insurance plans excluded under their existing standard pet health insurance plans. CRTASA members are provided with an additional 10% discount savings off their monthly premiums through PetHealth Inc. Offering an annual savings of approximately $150!

In view of CRTASA’s objectives and mission to introduce a universal identification registry system in Canada, it is collaborating with each of the certified dog guide / service animal training facility in Canada and the USA to ensure that every owner of a new service animal as well as foster parents and trainers of service animals in training hold CRTASA membership status and a valid CRTASA Photo ID Card.
For more information about CRTASA , its programs, services and benefits, and why this systemized registry service is needed in Canada, please visit: www.crtasa.com