Support CRTASA Centralized Registry of Therapy Service Animals

  • by: CRTASA
  • recipient: Accessibility Groups, Advocates for People with Disabilities and Owners of Therapy and Service Animals

Please show your support of CRTASA instating an official centralized registry service for all therapy and service animals including issuing a standardized universal CRTASA Photo ID Card to verified owners of certified therapy and service animals in Canada and the USA.


CRTASA took on the initiative in 2010 and established itself as the official  centralized registry service of therapy and service animal in Canada and the USA. It also started to issue a universal standardized Photo Identification Card to verified owners of therapy and service animals in North America because there was no federal government registry body in place for therapy or service animals. There also was no federally issued government identification card for owners of therapy or service animals to help confirm their animal's official certified status. 


To this day, identification cards are not issued by the federal government to therapy or service animal owners. Instead, identification cards can be applied for a fee on a provincial or state level from the Attorney General Office - provided the applicant holds permanent residency in that particular region. (Concept very similar to how a driver's license is currently being issued in Canada and the USA where the driver has to hold permanent residency in the state or province that is issuing them the driver's license.)


However the problem that frequently arises for some people travelling with their service animal to another state, province or country is that their locally issued identification card is not always readily accepted by some places of business unfamiliar with that type of identification issued by another province, state or country. This burden of proof is often compounded when owners are using a certified service animal for assistance with a non-visible disability such as epilepsy, diabetes, autism, or deafness where their animal is not the typical seeing guide dog that is easily recognized as a service animal.


FACT: While granting access to a public place with a service animal is not contingent on showing identification, it is however acceptable for any public place of business to request proof of identification for a service animal when the animal is not readily recognized to be providing assistance to their owner with a disability or medical condition.


FACT: Most people with service animals that are denied entry to a public place do not proceed with filing a discrimination complaint with their local Human Rights Commission against the place of business that discriminated against them because of the associated financial, temporal, physical and emotional costs involved in having their complaint adjudicated.


In addition to the above noted issues, service animal owners in Canada or the USA do not have to apply for a provincially or state issued identification card for their therapy or service animal. Instead, they can choose to use the identification card provided to them by the licensed facility that trained and certified their animal as an official assistance or service or therapy animal.


However, with each service animal and dog training school issuing their own identification cards magnifies the problem of having different types and versions of identification cards circulating in the mainstream which can be confusing to a business owner attempting to verify and discern if the service animal holds official certified status or is not just a pet trying to be passed off for a service or therapy animal. Even if these service animal or guide dog training facilities were to issue just one card they would only be able to do so for the species of animal they are qualified and licensed to train and certify.

For example: Dog guide training facilities do not have the jurisdiction to certify or offer a Photo ID Card to any owner of a Monkey Helper that was certified to assist them with their paralysis or loss of limbs by another training facility because the dog guide training facility does not hold the necessary license to train Cappuchin monkeys become service animals nor do they have the ability to certify a service animal they did not train for assistance.
 

Another issue that arises for some businesses is knowing whether the training facility that issued the identification card being presented to them is in fact a licensed and regulated service or therapy animal training facility qualified to train and certify the animal. After all, just recently there was a case in Ontario Canada where a woman was charged for running a sham service animal training operation where she took thousands of dollars from a client wanting to obtain an assistance animal for her son with autism only to find that her alleged service dog was not trained to provide any of the necessary assistance to her autistic son.


In summary there are simply too many agencies issuing their own identification cards in Canada and the USA ranging from local provincial and state government agencies, to different service and therapy training facilities around the world plus some companies offering identification cards to anyone that pays them a fee for issuing the service animal card for their animal.


This variation of identification cards currently available in marketplaces puts business owners and their staff at a disadvatage and in to a dire predicament of properly discerning whether the identification being presented to them upon request is valid or not. They also have difficulty in confirming easily if the animal is in fact a certified service animal or just an animal trying to be passed off as one by an owner wanting to gain entry to a public establishment with their animal that might be improperly trained or is just  a mere pet.


For these noted reasons, CRTASA feels it is important to offer a centralized registry of therapy and service animals and issue a universal standardized photo ID Card that will be easily recognized and accepted in any province or state by all businesses and service providers that may be unsure about an animal's official working status or the owner's rightful ownership - since the CRTASA Photo ID Card features a photo of both the person and the animal to prevent misuse or transfer of the card to a third party or a different animal.


As noted on the CRTASA official website (www.crtasa.com) and its membership application forms, CRTASA  does not certify or train service animals, service animals-in-training or official therapy animals in Canada or in the USA. Instead, CRTASA issues a standardized photo identification card to verified applicants with service animals, service animals-in-training or therapy animals. Before anyone can become a CRTASA Member, each applicant must provide the necessary supporting documentation to fulfil CRTASA's membership criteria which CRTASA must be able to verify with the respective professional entities whose supporting documentation was included by the applicant.

Thank  you in advance for supporting CRTASA's vision and for helping to open society's doors and minds to therapy and service animals!

We the undersigned seek your support to help CRTASA establish a centralized registry of all certified therapy and service animals in Canada and the USA and to implement a universal photo identification card for owners of certified therapy and service animals to help ease their access to public places.


This registry system provides only verified CRTASA members with the official standardized CRTASA Photo Identification Card that they can use to prove upon request by a business operator that their animal is in fact a certified service animal providing them with assistance based on a disability or medical condition which according to accessibility legislation affords them with the same right of entry to a public place that is extended to other members of the general public.

For applicants with an official / certified service animal:

This includes providing CRTASA with documentation from their medical practitioner that support the use of a service animal to assist the applicant with their special needs based on a disability or a medical condition. (The details of the disability or medical condition are considered privileged under doctor / patient confidentiality and are not requested or discussed by CRTASA for the purpose of processing the applicant's request for CRTASA membership or registry status.) 



Documentation issued by a service animal training facility is also verified by CRTASA to confirm that they trained the applicant's animal and certified it as an official service animal according to international service animal guidelines. The training facility must also be accredited member in good standing with their respective authorized overseeing body that adheres to international service animal training guidelines and standards.



For applicants with a disability currently working with their future service animal (that is still in training and not yet certified): 

This involves providing CRTASA with documentation from their medical practitioner that support the use of a future service animal to assist the applicant with their special needs based on a disability or a medical condition. (The details of the disability or medical condition are once again considered privileged under doctor / patient confidentiality and are not requested or discussed by CRTASA for the purpose of processing the applicant's request for CRTASA membership or registry status.) 


Documentation issued by a service animal training facility is also verified by CRTASA to confirm  that the applicant's animal is involved in the identified official service animal training program and is learning to assist the applicant according to their special needs based on a disability or medical condition.

The training facility must also be accredited member in good standing with their respective authorized overseeing body that adheres to international service animal training guidelines and standards.



For trainers / handlers and foster parents of a service animal still in training and not yet certified:

This entails providing CRTASA with documentation from a service animal training facility that is overseeing the animal's official service animal training program and that can confirm the applicant is recognized as their trainer, handler or foster parent working with the service animal in training that CRTASA registration is being sought for. The training facility must also be accredited member in good standing with their respective authorized overseeing body that adheres to international service animal training guidelines and standards.



This process of issuing CRTASA Photo ID Cards is part of CRTASA's due diligence policy to reflect its professional responsibility to the registry service it provides in Canada and the USA. This also safeguards the integrity of its official CRTASA Photo ID Card in the public forum as CRTASA does not issue its Photo ID Cards indiscriminately. The verification process of each membership application ranges from 4 to 6 weeks and is contingent on the prompt response received from third parties contacted by CRTASA to verify their supporting documentation of the applicant and their animal being registered. 



CRTASA PHOTO ID CARD PURPOSE AND VALUE: 


1. There are three distinct types of CRTASA Photo ID Cards (distinguished by a different colour and noted category of animal registered.) For example a CRTASA Photo ID Card is different for a certified service animal, a service animal-in-training and an official therapy animal. Places of business are informed of each status and applicable legislation.


2.  A CRTASA Photo ID Card issued to a verified applicant with a certified service animal is intended to provide them with a standardized form of identification that will be more easily recognized by businesses in Canada and the USA that CRTASA is working with and helping to train their staff on the program. This centralized CRTASA registry service offers a more unified approach for people to confirm their rightful ownership of their certified service animal. As noted on the CRTASA website, having different documentations and variety of Identification Cards issued by each service animal training facility or by each government agencies from a different jurisdictions, state or province poses confusion to many Canadian and US business operators when they are unsure about an animal wanting to enter their premises with an owner whose disability is non-visible and where the animal is not the stereotypical seeing eye dog.  


3. CRTASA feels it is important to clarify that presently accessibility legislation pertaining to service animals in Canada and the USA only applies to owners with a disability using an already trained and certified service animal for assistance with their daily activities as supported by their medical professional. Current accessibility legislation pertaining to service animals does not automatically extend  to trainers, handlers, foster parents or people with disabilities working with their future service animal that is still in training. It does not matter whether they present a CRTASA Photo ID Card for their service animal-in-training or another form of identification / documentation from another agency. Access to a public place or to use a public service for a service animal-in-training is not covered under the current accessibility legislation covering service animal access.



Hence, even if a CRTASA application is successfully approved and a CRTASA Photo ID Card for a service animal still-in-training is issued that does not automatically allow the owner to bring their guide dog in training into a public place unless the business owner agrees and wants to facilitate the socialization process for the animal. Public places of business and service providers in Canada and the USA retain the sole discretionary right to decide whether they will allow a handler, trainer, foster parent or person with a disability and their service animal-still-in-training to access their public premises or use of their public services otherwise open to the general public and not restricted by any another applicable regulation, statute or legislation that prevents such public access or use of public services by members of the general public. Hence, a trainer, handler, foster parent or person with a disability working with their service animal in training may only request permission from a business operator to enter their public place or access public services with their service animal-in-training. Having a valid CRTASA Photo ID Card may facilitate this request as it helps confirm and verify to the business owner that the handler, trainer, foster parent or person with a disability is registered through CRTASA and has been verified to be legitimately working with the animal that is part of an official service animal training program.


To bring greater awareness and support in the public forum about the value of allowing service animals in training to access public places or services -CRTASA is commencing to work with business owners and their staff to educate them about how socialization is important to a service animal-in-training especially since this helps the animal become familiar to different surroundings, noises and crowds. Learning opportunities that can help the animal be better prepared to assist their owner in similar settings once it becomes a certified service animal. CRTASA and its members are committed to respecting the final decision of each business operator whether a service animal in training is allowed access to their place of business or not. Business owners are also reminded that there is no legal mandate to force them to extend public access to their premises or their services for a service animal-in-training. Granting access is based on a social good rather than a legal mandate or obligation.


ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF OWNING A CRTASA PHOTO ID CARD:



Every CRTASA member with a certified service animal, service animal in training or a therapy animal receives the same membership reward savings. This includes at point of purchase discounts on animal products and services offered by participating businesses. All CRTASA members also now have the opportunity to insure their animal through CRTASA's new Working Animal Health Insurance Plan. Unlike current Pet Health Insurance Plans that exclude service and therapy animals based on age, specie, breed and perceived insurance liability risks - CRTASA's new Working Animal Health Insurance Program is designed specifically for the needs of service and therapy animals. CRTASA established this new policy to help owners offset costly vet bills that often create a financial burden on people receiving social or disability assistance. For details about these membership services and program savings please contact CRTASA at info@crtasa.com



Thank you for taking the time to read our petition and for supporting CRTASA's mission of establishing a centralized registry and offering a universal standardized PHOTO ID CARD system that endorses a barrier-free access to people with disabilities that rely on the assistance of their therapy or service animal!


Sincerely - CRTASA

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