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Province says Ontario school boards must develop policies for students' service animals

Last Updated Sep 9, 2019 at 10:36 am EDT

Kenner Fee poses with his service dog Ivy in an undated handout photo. Ontario's human rights tribunal has ruled that Kenner, a nine-year-old autistic boy, cannot bring his service dog with him into his classroom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Craig Fee *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Ontario has ordered school boards to develop policies on accommodating students with service animals in classrooms.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced today that boards have until Jan. 1 to come up with their rules.
The directive to boards says they are expected to allow a student to be accompanied by a service animal when it would support the student’s learning needs.

Boards’ policies will also have to include a protocol for addressing concerns from other students or staff, such as allergies.

Lecce was joined for the announcement by fellow caucus member Amy Fee, who fought for years for her son to be allowed to bring his service dog to school.

Fee’s son Kenner has autism and his family says his dog has a significant calming effect on the boy, who is prone to high anxiety and frequent meltdowns.