Toronto

Accessible parking permit abuse on the rise in Toronto, police say

More people are misusing and counterfeiting accessible parking permits, according to a report to be tabled at a Toronto Police Services Board meeting Thursday.

Toronto Police Services Board to receive report on people misusing, counterfeiting accessible parking permits

The Toronto Police Services Board will receive a report showing a sharp increase in the abuse and counterfeiting of accessible parking permits. (CBC)

More people are misusing and counterfeiting accessible parking permits, according to a report to be tabled at a Toronto Police Services Board meeting Thursday. 

Following a request by Coun. Chin Lee in October 2016, the city's parking enforcement unit found a 25 per cent increase in the number of parking tickets it issued over the last year:

  • 2016: 16,104 parking tickets issued related to parking permit abuse
  • 2015: 12,877 parking tickets issued related to parking permit abuse 

Not only can drivers be ticketed by the city for abusing accessible parking permits, the parking enforcement unit can also lay charges under the provincial Highway Traffic Act. The report says there was a 40 per cent increase in the number of charges laid between 2014 and 2015:

  • 2015: 913 charges under Highway Traffic Act
  • 2014: 650 charges under Highway Traffic Act

"When my in-laws were alive and had a handicap permit, I wouldn't use the handicap parking spot," said Chin. "I would drop them off and park in a regular spot. I'm able bodied." 

Chin said he made the request after he received dozens of calls from constituents over the years. 

"It's denying somebody else the privilege of [the parking space] when they really need it," he said. 

Disabled people want change

Kissoon Soodoo, who uses a wheelchair, wants the city to crack down on people abusing the system. 

"There's no respect for the disabled," he told CBC Toronto. "They just seem to think we can't out of the wheelchair to respond to their ignorance or retaliate." 

Kissoon Soodoo has seen people abuse accessible parking permits. (Lisa Xing/CBC)

Flora Venezia, who has used an accessible permit for seven years, agrees. 

"I find that a shame, disgraceful," she said. "They don't need it."

Chin is calling for the city's various agencies, including the accessibility committee and transportation department, to work together to find a solution. 

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