The city of Ottawa is cracking down on drivers who park illegally in spots reserved for disabled people.
In 2010, Ottawa officials have issued close to 1,000 fines to people parking without a proper permit in spaces reserved for the disabled, or who are using a permit illegitimately. And, officials say, there has even been a rise in the number of fake permits.
"We see a tremendous amount of abuse," said Troy Leeson of Ottawa's bylaw services.
"We've confiscated everything from photocopied permits, altered permits with the date changed, permits that have been reported lost or stolen."
CBC Ottawa reporter Jeff Semple followed an Ottawa bylaw officer around Friday, and witnessed one driver get a $550 fine for parking in a space for the disabled on Queen Street.
The driver — a downtown construction worker — claimed his mother was disabled, and that he was on his way to pick her up. City official Carl Berrea issued the motorist a ticket and confiscated his parking pass, telling the man "you're being charged with misuse of the handicap permit."
Leeson said family members or caregivers of disabled people are frequently caught using the permits themselves — something against its rules.
More bylaw enforcement staff may be redirected to deal with the issue in the coming months, Leeson said.