Motor Skills Service Dog Program

This is a program by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux with respect to the reimbursement of expenses relative to the use of motor skills service dogs.   To be eligible for this program, the person must use the motor skills service dog in a consistent and sustained manner, in order to be autonomous and functional in carrying out his or her life habits[1].   

The eligibility criteria are as follows: 

  • Be registered with the Quebec Health Insurance Plan;
  • Demonstrate the need to have a motor skills service dog to carry out daily activities.  The activities in which a service dog can help the applicant engage are listed under the following categories.   To meet this criterion, a minimum of three of these activities is required.
  • Support and movement
  • Ambulatory aid
  • Support and transfer
  • Transfer aid
  • Aid for positioning
  • Traction
  • Wheelchair traction
  • Grasping
  • Grasping of objects
  • Assistance with daily and domestic activities[2]
  • Have a dog that obeys in a consistent and sustained manner, at home and in public places;  
  • Be able to use the dog’s canine assistance skills effectively and in a secure manner to help carry out the applicant’s life habits, by applying the appropriate usage and training techniques; 
  • Be able to look after the dog in an acceptable manner;
  • Be able to support canine assistance, with or without technical or human help;
  • Be informed of the applicable laws and rules, and of the acceptable behaviours to be adopted in public with the dog.  

The motor skills service dog must fulfill the following functions: 

  • Be essential to the carrying out of daily activities;
  • Respond to orders in a consistent and sustained manner, at home and in public places; 
  • Meet the minimum standards for service dogs in public places as established by Assistance Dogs International Inc. These standards relate to hygiene, dog training and the dog’s ability to behave in public. 

The dog must be identifiable by means of a photo issued by the training school, bearing the dog’s name and that of its owner.   The dog’s vaccinations must also be up to date.  The dog must at all times wear either a harness, a scarf, or any other distinctive item that identifies it as a service dog.  The dog must be able to compensate for the handicap of its owner. 

“Are excluded from the program:

  • The reimbursement of expenses related to the breeding, training or purchase of a service dog;
  • The reimbursement of expenses related to the use of a dog allowing to compensate for a disability derived from a sensory impairment, an intellectual disability, a pervasive developmental disorder, or a physical or mental health problem;
  • The reimbursement of expenses related to the use of a dog allowing to compensate for a temporary disability; 
  • The reimbursement of expenses related to the use of  a service dog  as a means of prevention;  
  • The reimbursement of expenses related to the use of a dog to satisfy a single need of an affective nature, such as a feeling of safety or contribution. In this case, the feeling of contribution refers to the feeling that some people may develop from the relationship entertained with their animal, such as feeling useful, feeling in-tune with their surroundings, even discovering a new sense to their lives, due to the fact that they are living in its company;
  • The reimbursement of expenses related to the use of other service animals or pets; 
  • Any person benefiting, for this type of assistance, from total or partial coverage from another national or federal program, namely the coverage offered by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST), the Indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (IVAC), or any other organization or resource;   
  • Any person covered by the Act respecting health services and social services who resides in a public home-care centre or intermediate resource.

To apply, you must contact the centre closest to your place of residence from the following list and ask for “an assessment in order to receive the reimbursement for expenses related to the use of a service dog”. 

 If the decision rendered regarding the reimbursement is to your disadvantage, you can request a review of your application. Such review will take place as new information is added to your file.   For more information, please visit the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux website at the following address : www.msss.gouv.ca (only in French)

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