Parking rules don't apply to all

The CBC's John Lancaster has found some drivers, including off-duty police officers, are able to avoid parking fines while others with proper permits get tickets.

Police officers park for free during off-duty work

The CBC's John Lancaster finds some drivers are able to avoid the wrath of parking enforcement officers. 3:15

Some drivers are able to seemingly avoid parking fines while citizens with proper permits get tickets, a CBC investigation has revealed.

The CBC's John Lancaster found one car in a live lane on Yonge Street that was blocking traffic for hours but avoiding the wrath of enforcement officers by placing a green vest on the passenger seat.

The vehicle belonged to a police officer earning $60 an hour supervising a construction site down the street on his day off.

Lancaster found the same green vest in a car — and noticeable lack of ticket — a few blocks north. And a CBC viewer took photographs of the exact same thing elsewhere in the city.

Toronto Police Service spokesman Mark Pugash said it was "unacceptable" that those vehicles had not been ticketed after he was shown video of parking enforcement officers failing to ticket illegally parked cars.

"Where we have the evidence we will charge people and hold people accountable," he said. "There is no excuse for the behaviour you've described."

'Really frustrating'

Parking enforcement officers, meanwhile, issue tickets to vehicles parked in proper spaces, sometimes for bogus reasons.

Brandi Corbett received a ticket for parking in handicapped zone even though a CBC video shows she wasn't.

Corbett also received a ticket for parking without permit, despite the fact it was glued to her windshield.

"It's frustrating, really frustrating," she said.

Corbett pays $100 a month for a parking pass but says she probably pays the same amount in fines, partially because of the two she shouldn't have received.

Lancaster also found vehicles parked around the city bearing a sign that said "authorized official vehicle" which seemed sufficient to give a free pass for parking in illegal spots, including a BMW in Toronto's entertainment district.

Tickets generate $80M in revenue

His discovery comes just a day after another investigation revealed some parking enforcement officers ignore vehicles that are blocking lanes of traffic to ticket drivers in legal spots.

Parking enforcement officers earn around $80 million in revenue for the city each year and they do have a daily quota — at least 63 tickets a day. Those who distribute more can also earn bonuses, including a day's extra pay.

In June, the Toronto Board of Trade said gridlock – which is made worse when lanes of traffic are blocked - is the greatest threat to economic prosperity and costs the region $6 billion annually.

Fighting tickets could also become a more expensive option.

City Hall is considering a proposal to charge drivers a $12.75 if they try to fight a ticket but end up losing. Although Mayor Rob Ford said he opposes that plan, a final decision has not been made.