March 31st, 2014

Wheelchair use and non-dog service animal in Toronto

I'm planning to write two characters who live in Toronto and use wheelchairs (they can walk, but it's safer if they don't try). One of them also has a (sapient-but-pretending-not-to-be-to-regular-people, magical, well-behaved and responsive to his person's verbal instructions) cat, who prefers to accompany her when she's out and about. What should I expect Canadian wheelchair-using characters (usually in Toronto, with visits to Grand Forks, BC) to experience that might be different from what I learn about the American experience of same? Will a lot of establishments refuse the cat entry, can he legally count as a service animal and if so is there a certification process (he does get things off shelves for his person and perform other tasks), should he wear a vest to indicate same?

I'm also curious about what the experience of getting the wheelchairs through Canada's healthcare system would have been like; they would have started using chairs when they were little kids.

(Adding search information per mod request: I googled things like "Canada service animal" and "Canadian disability law" and kept getting American results, or sometimes dog-specific results, often both. I eventually found the Ontarians With Disabilities Act but it didn't tell me what I needed to know.)