Disputing a Toronto parking ticket? How you fight it is about to change
Toronto switches to a new parking ticket system on Monday. Instead of fighting fines in provincial court, disgruntled motorists will use a new city process they can trigger online or in person. The city hopes to avoid a repeat of 2015 when it cancelled 880,000 tickets, citing limited court capacity that caused delays in hearing the challenges. Susan Garossino, the city’s acting director of court services, walks us through the switch.
Read more about disputing parking tickets
For motorists who get parking tickets, how will the new system change what they do or what they pay?
Disputes will be handled by the city, which will enable better customer service by offering a faster, easier and more convenient review process. Individuals will be able to dispute a parking violation online or in person with a city screening officer. In-person reviews can be booked ahead of time through the city’s website, or by drop-in. As part of the review, individuals can explain why they believe the parking violation should be cancelled or varied, or why they need any additional time to pay. Screening officers review the request and can affirm, vary or cancel the penalty or any fees, or give people extra time to pay the penalty if required. Their decision is based on grounds set out in the administrative penalty bylaw. Parking violation penalty amounts are not changing.
Since motorists can’t try to get the ticket withdrawn or reduced, either with an assistant Crown attorney or a judge, what appeal options are there for ticketed motorists? Can they still be represented by a paralegal or lawyer?
Individuals can still dispute and request a review of their parking violation. Reviews are conducted by city screening officers. If an individual is not satisfied with the decision of the screening review, they can request a second review at a hearing with an independent council-appointed hearing officer of the administrative penalty tribunal. The hearing officer’s decision is final. The vehicle owner can authorize someone else to act on their behalf, including a lawyer, a licensed paralegal or person authorized under the Law Society Act.
Read more about disputing Toronto parking tickets
Motorists who drive away while a parking enforcement officer is writing the ticket will now still get it, via the mail. Any other benefits as a result of the new system?
The new process will allow the public to dispute a parking violation in a way that is faster, easier and more convenient for them — online or in-person, through scheduled appointments or by drop-in. This process will give individuals faster resolutions and free up the provincial court system to deal with more serious matters.
The city has had to hire staff and set up a new system. How much will the administrative penalty system the city, both in terms of capital and operating expenses, versus the current system?
The city is committed to delivering public service in a way that is efficient and effective. The new parking violation dispute process will be staffed with existing city resources at this time. However, 25 hearing officers for the independent administrative penalty tribunal were appointed by city council earlier this year. There will be a period where the city will be running both a court-based system to process tickets issued before Monday alongside the new system which will process all parking violations issued from Monday onwards. Based on initial projections in the staff report to council, upon full implementation of the new system, there are estimated potential savings of approximately $2.8 million annually. The city currently spends approximately $65.7 million annually on parking enforcement and the processing of parking tickets. Upon full implementation, the new APS system is projected to reduce this to $62.9 million.
What is the expectation in terms of how many tickets will be written, and how much revenue earned from them by the city, once the new system is full in place?
As the offence types and fine levels won’t change, it is not expected that the volume of tickets issued will change significantly. There are a number of factors that may influence how many tickets are issued, including driver behaviour, enforcement activity, etc. Based on initial projections, upon full implementation in 2018, the new system is expected to increase gross revenues from $102.4 million to $108.7 million, reflecting an increase of $6.3 million. The penalty amounts associated with parking offence types remain unaffected in the new system. However, there are additional fees which the city will be able to impose for individuals who do not pay their parking violation notices on-time as well as for individuals who fail to attend a booked screening review appointment with a city screening officer or a hearing review with an administrative penalty tribunal hearing officer.