January 6, 2016 8:01 pm
Updated: January 7, 2016 12:51 am

Hand-drawn parking permits spotted along Clinton Street

WATCH ABOVE: A hand-drawn parking permit has highlighted the need to modernize the city’s parking system. Toronto police say even if the information is correct, the tickets won't save you from a fine. Peter Kim reports.


Tomasz Szabla recently moved to Clinton Street near Bloor and has yet to receive his 6-month parking pass from the city.

“I’m waiting for my insurance company to provide a letter saying [my] vehicle is insured to me,” he said. So for the past few weeks he’s been printing out and using temporary passes – until earlier this week.

“Last night I was working late in the office, it was 6 o’clock, I.T. was gone. I go to print my permit. It doesn’t print,” he said.

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His printer at work was broken so Szabla got creative and decided to replicate his permit on a piece of paper with a marker. He included the valid permit number, expiration date – both of which were saved to his phone – and even a city hall logo.

“That was my best shot at our beautiful city hall. I think I nailed it,” he said.

Szabla even attempted to replicate a bar code on his handwritten permit. “It might not scan, but it’s a bar code,” he quipped with a smile.

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Even though Szabla didn’t receive a ticket, the hand-drawn permit probably wasn’t the reason why, according to parking enforcement officer Kirsten Edgerton.

“A bicycle officer could have been riding by very quickly and observed it, not so much that an officer was on foot to take that extra step to see that it was an actual fraudulent on-street permit,” she said.

Residents in the area along Clinton Street, south of Bloor, say they’ve seen hand-drawn permits and signs before on dashboards of parked vehicles. Even with valid permit information, such as the number and expiration date, replicas like this won’t cut it.

“It does say under the guidelines in City of Toronto when you do purchase an on-street, online permit that you must agree to and print that and display that particular format of a PDF on the dashboard of the vehicle in order for it to be lawful,” said Edgerton.

Issuing tickets is, however, at the discretion of the officer. Parking fines range from $30 to $450. And even in today’s digital age, the Toronto Police Services, which enforces parking regulations, says it doesn’t yet have the technology to go paperless.

“It could be a possibility but that’s up to the City of Toronto and Operations to come up with that type of software for us,” Edgerton added.

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