Monique Taylor wants the province to cap hospital parking rates after learning that one Hamilton Health Sciences lot costs as much as $25 to park there.
The Hamilton Mountain MPP called on the Liberals on Tuesday to limit parking fees, which are increasing in Hamilton and elsewhere, she said.
“Quite frankly, I would like to see there be no charges for people who need hospital services,” the NDP MPP said.
“It almost becomes paying for their health care service.”
Hamilton Health Sciences parking rates increased on June 16. The daily maximum rates went from $15 to $20 at the following:
- Hamilton General Victoria garage and Wellington surface lot
- Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Concession and Poplar garages (including the Sherman and Mountain Avenue lots)
- McMaster University Medical Centre underground garage
The emergency lot at McMaster went from a $20 to $25 daily maximum. This lot is intended for short stays and accounts for less than 1 per cent of HHS’s 5,829 parking spots.
The Liberals promised to cap hospital parking rates during the election, Taylor said. Now she worries it won’t happen.
Parking fees amount to "a levy on sick people,” she said. And the health care system is underfunded, which means hospitals have to be creative in raising money through means such as parking.
In the legislature, Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health, said the Liberals “intend on moving forward as we committed in our platform.”
Raising parking rates "is something we don't want to do," said Hamilton Health Sciences spokesperson Heather Pullen in an email this week."But we haven't raised this rate (the daily maximum) in five years, and during that time, the cost of maintaining our parking facilities has risen. And so have all our other expenses at Hamilton Health Sciences."
Parking revenues go to capital expenditures such as ultrasound units, orthopedic surgery tables and infant warmers and fetal monitors, she said.