Toronto approves 10-minute grace for parking tickets

Nov 30, 2012 | News

There are many ways to dispute a parking ticket in Toronto, outlined on the city’s website. COURTESY METRONEWS.CA

By Sasha Ramnarine

Torontonians may have an easier time fighting tickets after city council voted Tuesday on a motion put forth by Coun. Josh Matlow to highlight a 10-minute grace period for expired parking meters.

This grace period has actually been around for 20 years, according to manager of parking operations in Toronto, Anthony Fabrizi.

LISTEN: Manager of parking operations, Anthony Fabrizi goes in-depth about grace period

But fighting a ticket is not a quick process and many people are not aware of their options to dispute parking tickets.

“If you want to pay a ticket, just give me your credit card and we’re done in 12 seconds,” said Fabrizi. “If you want to dispute, one can guarantee that you and I having a conversation about your ticket is going to take longer than 12 seconds.”

LISTEN: Manager of parking operations, Anthony Fabrizi discusses the process of a ticket dispute

Matlow told the Star Tuesday paying a parking ticket is “incredibly easy” but fighting one is “incredibly difficult.”

Toronto ombudsman Fiona Crean told Humber News she has had “so many complaints” about parking tickets and launched an investigation as a result.

Crean asked council to highlight the little known grace period policy after realizing people need to be better informed about the city’s policies for ticket cancellations.

“It needs to be properly advertised on their website,” Crean said.

According to the Star, city council endorsed Crean’s recommendations and Matlow’s motion to highlight the grace period.

“All you have to do is email in your ticket and what you paid for and you’ll get it cancelled within 48 hours, provided you know about it,” said Crean.

LISTEN: Manager of parking operations, Anthony Fabrizi explains how longer grace periods equal more gridlock

However, Fabrizi told Humber News some media outlets have “painted a picture that there’s this grace period that applies to everything.”

“The fact is that the narrowness of the qualifying factors for the grace period is such that so few people qualify for the grace period that’s in place,” he added.

The process of handling tickets is done through a case by case basis.

“The city has made a number of efforts to publicize the criteria,” said Fabrizi. “Moreover the staff that’s available by telephone or by email always shares this information with people around the different circumstances that would otherwise surround their ticket.”

Those who are not aware of the cancellation guidelines comes as no surprise to Fabrizi, since “it’s a hefty, 30 page document.”

Fabrizi told Humber News of the 2.8 million tickets issued yearly; there are probably 2.8 million different reasons and circumstances around those tickets.

LISTEN: Manager of parking operations, Anthony Fabrizi discusses ticket exceptions

Based on the complexity involved in ticket disputes, Fabrizi noted each person can have unique circumstances that might not be covered by the grace period.

“It would not qualify where if you have certain areas across Toronto where there’s maximum one hour parking,” said Fabrizi. “And a person leaves their vehicle there for an hour but at the end of that hour the parking restrictions on that section of street change.”

LISTEN: Manager of parking operations, Anthony Fabrizi discusses what is not covered by the grace period

Even for those who do not qualify, there is still recourse through various portals such as telephone, email and in person visits to the city’s parking offices.