Parking fees at all Quebec public health institutions to be capped by June 2020
Regular visitors of long-term health facilities may also get unlimited free parking, health minister says
Two weeks after Health Minister Danielle McCann announced a province-wide cap on hospital parking rates, she has now confirmed the changes will extend to all public health institutions, including long-term care facilities (CHSLDs) and community service centres (CLSCs).
She said the changes will come into effect by June 2020.
In a move to encourage Quebecers to visit their loved ones in long-term care facilities, the minister also announced that all residents in these facilities can choose up to two regular visitors who will be granted unlimited free access to parking.
With all-day parking at the MUHC and CHUM hospital complexes currently at $24, the new rules will cut that fee by more than half.
The new fees will work on three tiers:
- The first two hours of parking will be free at all public health institutions, for both visitors and patients.
- Parking between two and four hours will have a maximum price of 60 per cent of the institution's all-day parking fee.
- After four hours, visitors will have to pay the all-day parking fee, which will be capped at between $7 and $10, depending on the institution.
"In Quebec, the fees in CHSLD parking lots are not very high but if they're under $7 a day, it will be left at that level. We won't touch that," McCann specified.
Patients who have to visit facilities frequently, for treatments such as chemotherapy or dialysis, will have access to special parking rates that would be uniform across the province, McCann said. She did not specify what those prices would be.
There are concerns the reduction in parking rates could hurt hospital foundations, which rely on the revenue to buy medical equipment and other items. As compensation for the lowered parking fees, McCann said the province will be investing $120 million in hospitals in the year 2021.
"The [ministry] has assured us that we will be compensated for any loss of earnings, so we are confident that these measures will not have an impact on patient services," a spokesperson for the MUHC said.
The province is asking that all public health institutions also take specific measures to make sure that only patients and visitors are using their parking lots, such as towing or ticketing vehicles. The government is allocating an additional $25 million to the hospitals this year, so that they can get those penalties underway.
McCann hopes most of the changes will be in place by next spring.
Pierre Hurteau, spokesperson for the MUHC patients' committee, said the change will make it easier for families to visit their loved ones in the hospital. He said the committee has been working for four years to get parking fares reduced.
"It was rough, it's still rough, but there's hope at the end of the road," he said of the health minister's announcement.
With files from Radio-Canada