City to debate issuing parking tickets by mail

WATCH: Why the city might ask the province to change the rules governing how they can issue parking tickets. Mark Carcasole reports. 

TORONTO – Should the city be able to mail people parking tickets? One councillor says yes, but the mayor says absolutely not.

Toronto’s executive committee will discuss a request today to amend the Provincial Offences Act and allow the city’s parking enforcement officers to issue infractions by mail.

“Often, parking enforcement officers are not able to issue tickets for such offences before the offender drives away unpunished,” Councillor Mike Layton wrote in a letter to committee.

“While City Council has increased fines for this conduct, drivers still think they can get away with this behaviour and the practice persists unabated.”

The Provincial Offences Act states that the officer must affix the parking infraction notice to the vehicle or deliver it personally to the driver. However, once the offender drives away, they are free of any responsibility.

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“A traffic cop can be working on a ticket for someone parked in a rush hour route and the person can come out of the coffee shop with their double double, hop in their car and drive away and there’s nothing we can do,” Layton said. “The problem is for the last ten minutes that person might have been holding up traffic in the downtown core.”

Layton wants to give the authority to officers to issue infraction notices by regular mail to ensure that the city can enforce parking restrictions in order to keep traffic moving and fight gridlock.

He admits the policy wouldn’t generate significant revenue but he hopes it would go a long way to deterring people from blocking traffic.

But Mayor Rob Ford called the motion nothing more than a “cash grab.”

“No I do not support mailing parking tickets. That is a cash grab. You just write a parking ticket and mail it to somebody? No I don’t support that. That’s absolutely nonsense,” he said. “How are you going to prove that you’re there?”

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong though wants more information. He admits he hasn’t heard many complaints about people driving away before they get ticketed but admitted blocking lanes of traffic with illegal parking is a problem the city needs to  deal with.

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But he’s not willing to support the motion yet.

“I’m asking for a report to get all the facts,” he said. “I don’t want to take any knee-jerk type of reaction and ask for a change from the provincial government without getting all the facts on the table.”

The issue will also be reviewed and voted on by city council next week.

The executive committee is meeting for the final time this term prior to the municipal election on Oct. 27.