Changes to prevent parking permit abuse now up to province, Tory says
Review and tightening of accessible permits has already been looked at by police board and city, mayor says
Mayor John Tory says the ball is now in the province's court to tighten regulations to prevent the abuse of accessible parking permits.
Tory told reporters Tuesday that a city council resolution asking for the review and tightening of the rules has been sent to the province, which sets the regulations.
"We've got to make the enforcement tougher, and we've got to make sure the public understands all of those rules," Tory said.
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The issue of accessible permit abuse has already been looked at by the police board and the city council. On Thursday, the board will review a report, detailing the alleged abuse and misuse of those spaces.
"This is an area that is ripe with misrepresentation," Tory said. "The rest of the public, they're not clear on what those permits convey in terms of additional rights for people of differing abilities or are suffering from an illness."
The New York City model
Coun. Joe Mihevc has been calling for the city to crack down on the illegal use of accessible parking permits.
He told CBC Radio's Here and Now Tuesday that some people misuse permits obtained legitimately by a family member or friend, while others obtain the permit fraudulently by pressuring their doctors or making colour photocopies of permits.
Mihevc has called for a system like what's used in New York City where the city goes beyond the state-issued permits to have an independent company assess permit holders' disabilities.
He also advocates for permit holders to receive a decal for their placard and a picture on the reverse for identification.
A similar system is also used for TTC's Wheel-Trans service.
"This is really about protecting people with disabilities," Mihevc said. "If people are gaming the system, the people at the end of the day that are going to be hurt are going to be people with disabilities who can't use those spots."
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders spearheaded a similar call in a letter to the police board in February, which also applauded the New York City model, suggesting that an independent physician do the assessment for an accessible parking pass instead of having someone go to their own doctor.
The chief also recommended that future permits include the pass holder's photo, and that the province crack down on those who don't return their temporary passes.
Accessible parking permit abuse rising
A recent report has shown that more people have been found to be misusing and counterfeiting accessible parking permits.
The city's parking enforcement unit found a 25 per cent increase in the number of parking tickets it issued between 2015 and 2016.
The parking enforcement unit, which can also lay charges for abusing accessible parking permits under the provincial Highway Traffic Act, saw a 40 per cent increase in the number of charges laid between 2014 and 2015.
With files from Lisa Xing and Laura Fraser.