This program permits the reimbursement of costs associated with using a mobility assistance dog who helps a person with permanent motor impairment with one or more of the following activities:
- Mobility By pulling a manual wheelchair or helping the person to walk;
- Grasping objects By picking them up or bringing them to the person;
- Support By facilitating transfers from a wheelchair to another chair and helping the person get into position or change position.
Presentation and objectives
The purpose of this program is to help people with a motor impairment remain autonomous and continue living at home.
It is for people who have obtained a mobility assistance dog through a specialized training school certified by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF).
However, getting a dog from a training school does not guarantee that the person will be eligible for the reimbursement program.
This program does not include reimbursements for expenses related to the use of guide dogs by visually impaired people, as they are covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)’s Visual Devices Program .
Eligibility criteria for individuals
To be eligible, the person must:
- reside in Quebec and have a valid health insurance card;
- present a permanent motor impairment leading to significant and persistent disability;
- demonstrate the need to use a mobility assistance dog on a daily basis to accomplish at least one activity in the following categories:
- mobility (help with walking or moving a wheelchair),
- support (help with transfers or active positioning),
- grasping (help with activities for daily living and for living at home);
- have their dog obey in a constant and sustained manner, both at home and in public places;
- be able to use their canine assistant autonomously, effectively and safely while carrying out their daily activities;
- know how to care for and maintain their dog and be able to meet its needs;
- know the applicable laws and regulations and acceptable behaviour to use in public with their dog.
A person is not eligible if he or she:
- already benefits from the coverage under another provincial or federal program for the same type of assistance; For example, the person might be requesting an assistance dog whose sole function is to help with walking but the person already has a walker or manual wheelchair to help with mobility;
- resides in a residential and long-term care centre (CHSLD) or in a public intermediary resource.
Eligibility criteria for mobility assistance dogs
To be eligible, the dog must meet several criteria, in particular:
- obeys basic commands, such as: “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “heel” and “come” and be trained to help its master with their disabilities;
- responds in a constant and sustained manner to the commands it is given at home and in public places;
- demonstrate peaceful behaviour around the people and animals it meets;
- be sterilized and vaccinated at least once a year. The vaccination booklet must be up to date and signed by a veterinarian;
- wear a distinctive sign, such as a harness or bib, when moving about in public places so it can be easily identified as an assistance dog;
- be identified by a photo identification card that names the dog and its master. The identification card must be provided by a specialized training school certified by Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation.
An initial amount of $210 is first offered to the person so that he or she can make various purchases and prepare to accommodate a mobility assistance dog. This amount may be obtained each time the person replaces their mobility assistance dog, but not more than once every two years.
An amount of $2,240 per year is then given to the person to provide for maintenance costs for food, grooming, veterinary care, and so on. The institution will pay the reimbursement for the cost of maintaining the animal in two instalments each year.
Following the second instalment, a statement must also be completed. The person solemnly declares, by signing the correspondence of the representative institution, that he or she always uses his or her mobility assistance dog for at least one of the following functions:
- grasping objects;
- transferring positions;
- help to you get around in a manual wheelchair;
- help to walk.
If the person no longer uses his or her dog for these reasons, the person will stop receiving reimbursements.
Federal tax credit for medical expenses
The costs of using a mobility assistance dog are eligible for the non-refundable tax credit for medical expenses. In your tax return, you must subtract the reimbursement amount you received from the total amount of expenses you really paid.
For further information on this tax credit, consult the Medical Expense Tax Credit page on the Government of Canada’s website.
To join the program, you must send the Request for Assessment form to the designated institution for your region, along with all the documents specified within it. If you have additional questions about the program, you can ask your designated institution.
To find out the designated institution for your region and how to contact it, see the table below:
Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec
Institut de réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal
After receiving your application, the institution will contact you. A qualified resource person will proceed with the overall assessment of your needs, your eligibility for the program and your dog’s eligibility. The final decision on your eligibility will be sent to you by mail.
- If you are entitled to reimbursement, it will be retroactive, so you will be reimbursed from the date of your application to the program. This date is the date on which the designated institution for your region received all your documents.
- If you are not entitled to reimbursement, you may be reassessed after correcting the problems raised in your first assessment or if your health status changes.
You can submit another request to the program to be reassessed once every two years for the same dog.
Last update: May 9, 2023