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Local MPP pushing to allow service dogs in all public places

Last Updated Jun 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm EDT

Image from @Michaelharrispc.

A local MPP is continuing his push to ensure proper access to accommodations in all public places for people who require service dogs.

Kitchener-Conestoga Conservative MPP Michael Harris is pushing his private members’ bill, that if passed, would make it the law for people needing certified service dogs, to have full access to such facilities.

This would include those with autism and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

His latest push came this morning where he held a news conference at Queen’s Park.

Harris was joined by families impacted by autism, a PTSD sufferer and their service dogs.

He joined the Eric Drozd Show this morning to discuss the bill and he said service dogs are a necessity every where for people who need their assistance.

“They should be allowed to go wherever their owner goes.” Harris said, “Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but we hope with this act, the Ontario Service Dogs Act will clarify and help those already dealing with unique needs.”

Harris remains vocal about a controversy that erupted earlier this spring, when a child with autism was not allowed to bring his service dog to his school in Waterloo Region.

“British Columbia has brought forward legislation already, we have it here in Ontario but for blind persons” said Harris. “We’re simply asking to extend those same provisions to people who have disabilities including those that have autism, diabetes is another form of therapy used by service dogs and PTSD.

The controversy was eventually diffused when the Catholic school board and the boy’s family came to an arrangement on how they could make it work.

Recently, the mother of Jack, Donna Baldwin ran into more road blocks when having the service dog on school property.

Harris says there is still some struggles the family is experiencing.

“They’re already going through a difficult time as it is. They shouldn’t encounter hurdles, when they are already overcoming hurdles as it is.”

There is no timetable set on when the Ontario government will make a decision on the private members’ bill.