In 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation enacted new rules which allowed airlines to no longer welcome emotional support animals onboard. While this was a non-Canadian legal development, it affected airlines around the world. Many airlines, including Air Canada, have stopped accepting ESAs in the cabin. 

However, WestJet still accepts emotional support dogs onboard free of charge if you can provide a valid ESA letter. Both Air Canada and WestJet also allow psychiatric service dogs to accompany their owners in the cabin without any fees. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can obtain an ESA letter or PSD letter if you are a resident of Canada and planning to travel by air with your assistance animal. 

How to Get an ESA Letter in Canada

Emotional support animals provide comfort to people suffering from mental and emotional health issues such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. WestJet allows emotional support dogs to accompany their owners in the cabin free of charge on flights. To prove that your dog is an ESA, WestJet requires passengers to submit a form completed by a licensed mental health professional who has evaluated you and made a recommendation for an ESA.

An ESA letter is a letter of recommendation from a licensed mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor, counselor, or social worker. The professional will evaluate your mental health, and, if they believe you are suffering from a condition that an emotional support animal can assist with, they will write an ESA letter for you. 

An ESA letter should confirm your need for an ESA, be written on the professional’s letterhead, and contain their license and contact number. If you are in Canada or the U.S. and want to qualify for an emotional support animal, ESA Doctors works with licensed healthcare professionals that specialize in ESA recommendations. Just click on the link below to get started today.

Get your Canada emotional support animal travel letter online.


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How to Get a PSD Letter in Canada

Service dogs, including psychiatric service dogs, have special legal rights in Canada. Psychiatric service dogs are allowed to board the cabin on both Air Canada and WestJet, free of charge. A PSD is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks for someone with a mental or emotional health disability like severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, or phobia. PSDs are trained to perform tasks like tactile comfort during distress, remind handlers to take medications, and interrupt psychotic episodes and spells. 

To fly on WestJet or Air Canada with a PSD, you must submit the Department of Transportation’s Service Animal Air Transportation Form to the airline before the flight. In the form, you must certify that you have a disability that requires the use of a trained psychiatric service dog. A PSD letter from a licensed mental health professional helps establish whether you have a qualifying condition for a psychiatric service dog.

If you need a licensed professional to evaluate whether you qualify for a PSD letter, ESA Doctors can help. ESA Doctors will connect you to a licensed professional that specializes in PSD letters. They can assess whether you meet the criteria for having a PSD-eligible disability. You can get started by clicking on the link below.

Qualify for a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter Online

PSD Letter

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Canadian Airline Policies for Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Dogs 

West Jet and Air Canada both allow psychiatric service dogs to fly in cabin! - ESA Doctors
West Jet and Air Canada both allow psychiatric service dogs to fly in cabin!

WestJet ESA Policy

WestJet requires you to submit 3 separate documents if you are flying with an emotional support dog. These documents must generally be submitted at least 48 hours before your flight (although they can make accommodations if you book a flight within 48 hours of departure). You will need to submit the following documents:

  1. Confirmation of Animal Training Form: This requires the owner to attest that their emotional support dog has been trained to behave in public settings.
  2. Medical/Mental Health Professional Form: This document is completed by the licensed healthcare professional who evaluated you for an emotional support animal.
  3. Veterinary Health: This form must be completed by your veterinarian. 

Air Canada Psychiatric Service Dog Policy 

If you are flying on Air Canada to/from the United States, you must submit two forms to Air Canada before your flight: 

For all other flights (meaning all flights that are not to or from the United States), passengers should submit the following form to Air Canada before departure:

To know more about traveling with a psychiatric service dog on Air Canada, click below to read the official airline guidelines: 

Air Canada Service Dog Policy 

How to Get your ESA Letter in Ontario, Canada

If you live in Ontario or another region of Canada and you’re looking to qualify for an emotional support animal, you can connect with a licensed healthcare professional licensed or registered in Ontario online. To see if you qualify online, complete the online questionnaire at the link below.

Get your ESA letter for air travel in 3 easy steps:

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