Oshawa councillor calls for a reduction in hospital parking fees
Published Friday, December 28, 2012 12:50PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 28, 2012 5:01PM EST
An Oshawa city councillor wants to see a limit put on expensive hospital parking fees.
Coun. Doug Sanders said he’s received numerous complaints from people who need to go to the hospital for treatment or appointments, and end up spending hundreds of dollars on parking.
He wants the maximum price for a day of parking at all provincial hospitals to be capped at $8.
Earlier this month, Oshawa council passed a motion from Sanders to ask the premier to take steps to control the rising parking prices at Ontario hospitals.
In Oshawa, hospital parking is set at a maximum of $16 per day. The hospitals in downtown Toronto’s ‘Hospital Row’ charge $19 per day - and up.
“If you start coming here for dialysis or cancer treatments or whatever, and you’re paying $16 to $24 dollars for every time you come here, and if you’ve got to come here on a daily occurrence or every couple days, that takes a lot,” said Sanders.
Bonnie Lutes took her daughter to the hospital for what was supposed to be a quick appointment. The visit cost her $16 dollars for two hours of parking.
“You are here for appointments or for serious things. It’s not really a fee that should be charged,” she said.
Other patients told CTV Toronto they spend hundreds of dollars on parking because of chronic diseases that require multiple treatments.
“I have come here for 30 radiation treatments, plus all your other appointments at $19 a day. For cancer patients, I think it’s disgusting,” said a patient named Heather.
Hospitals rely on parking revenue
But a spokesperson for Lakeridge Health in Oshawa says parking fees provide a lifeline of revenue for many hospitals. Putting a maximum limit on parking fees would mean the hospitals would need more funds from the province.
“The funding from parking fees go to help not only to pay for the parking garage, but also all the equipment that is used in the hospitals, outside of the funding the province currently offers,” said spokesperson Aaron Lazarus.
Sanders, however, said extra funds could be raised through lottery money or additional fundraising.
The councillor said he will work to get other municipalities on board with his campaign. He said he’s already heard that Markham and Stouffville are looking to join the fight.
Oshawa council will send its request to the province in 2013.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness
Oshawa Councillor Doug Sanders pays for parking at a hospital in Oshawa, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012.