Ontario's government is supporting students and their families when making requests to bring their service animals into schools and classrooms. Today, the Minister of Education; the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education; and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced a new policy directive in support of Ontario students with special needs to improve their access to service animals in schools.
School boards are responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures for service animals in schools. Currently, we know that just over half of Ontario school boards have service animal policies. With today's announcement, the Ministry of Education has effectively set a uniform standard of student access to service animals across the province.
- Bill 48, the Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act, 2019, amended the Education Actto give the Minister of Education authority to establish policies and guidelines respecting service animals in schools.
- The Act also requires school boards to comply with these policies and guidelines, as well as develop their own board policies in accordance with those set by the Minister of Education.
- School boards are required to implement their service animal policies by January 1, 2020.