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Dinged with a huge parking ticket at the hospital. Should I pay it?

Published May 28, 2012
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Q: I am just wondering about the legality of issuing parking tickets on privately owned lots (specifically, Baycrest Hospital).  I parked there last weekend and tried to pay by credit card on several machines but they would not take my card.

Of course, after my visit, I had this huge ticket on my windshield.  It’s not a Toronto municipally-issued ticket, but rather is from the private company that takes care of the parking there.

How do I stand on this issue?

A: Stephen Parker, a licensed paralegal with Pointts (www.pointts.com), a traffic ticket defense firm, replies:

As I recall, private companies are allowed to issue parking tickets on private property.  It’s not enforceable through the courts though, as it’s considered an invoice for not using the pay-for-parking machine.

The issue here would be whether there was something wrong with the machine that wouldn’t accept the lady’s card or was her card declined for another reason?

If it’s the former, a complaint should be made to the parking office at the hospital.

Q: The parking lot at York Central Hospital, quite understandably, has a large number of reserved parking spaces with the blue-and-white “wheelchair” logo.  Am I exempt from paying for parking if I use one of those spots and display my Ontario Accessible Parking Permit while picking up/dropping off my husband, who is confined to a wheelchair?

A: No.  While your Ontario APP allows you to use such designated spaces and exempts you from many parking restrictions when parking on public roads, the hospital parking lot is private property.  Underneath the “wheelchair” logo signs, you’ll find a second sign directing users to pay for parking at the machine.

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