Collin Kennedy argues that under the Canada health Act everyone should have access to health care facilities and it *shouldn’t cost them a penny*

Collin Kennedy argues that under the Canada health Act everyone should have access to health care facilities and it *shouldn’t cost them a penny*
Photo Credit: CBC

Fighting against hospital parking fees.

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The high cost of parking at hospitals has been a contentious issue for years.

As an example, Ontario’s Health Minister says the province’s hospitals take in about $100 million per year from parking fees. While parking lots require expenditures, and need to recoup costs, many users are angered at high fees designed to generate profit on what may be seen as people’s stressful health situations.

Now, a cancer patient in Winnipeg Manitoba has had enough.

In 2013, it cost $6 per half hour at Toronto’s Sick Kids hospital (which does not own its parking operation)
In 2013, it cost $6 per half hour at Toronto’s Sick Kids hospital (which does not own its parking operation) Daily maximum is $20. © CBC Marketplace #40

Collin Kennedy is no shrinking violet when it comes to protesting the high parking fees at hospitals.

When his cancer landed him in hospital for a month, his mother came on regular visits, and ended up paying $600 in parking costs. He said that’s just not right.

Quoted by the CBC, Kennedy says it’s stressful for patients and their families and friends to deal with parking fees, “You’re forced to stop and think about the parking meter before you think about your loved one. There’s an injustice in that.”

He says when you’re going into an emergency situation, parking fees should not be a concern. It’s especially hard on lower income families.

In protest Kennedy began vandalizing the parking machines.

Protesting parking fees at hospitals, Collin Kennedy uses a tin of insulating foam, which will harder to a solid mass, to fill and block the coin slots in a parking machine at the cancer treatment centre in Winnipeg
Protesting parking fees at hospitals, Collin Kennedy uses a spray tin of insulating foam, which will harden to a solid mass, to fill and block the coin slots in a parking machine at the cancer treatment centre in Winnipeg © via CBC

To be fair, government funding for hospitals ranges from 75 to 85 percent, and they are expected to make up the rest from such things as retail concession operations, parking, coffee shops etc.  Parking lots also require maintenance and snow clearing.

To avoid administration costs, some hospitals have contracted private for-profit companies to manage their parking. These private firms have tended to be aggressive in their parking fees and practices, further infuriating patients, staff, and visitors.

Kennedy has now launched a petition to end parking fees based on a the Canada Health Act which says Canadians are guaranteed access to health care services “without financial or other barriers”.

CANADA HEALTH ACT

Primary objective of Canadian health care policy

3 It is hereby declared that the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers.

The  petition calls on the federal Health Minister to end  paid parking for patients, families, and caregivers. Though it has just begun he has over 100 signatures at the hospital and needs 500 to present to the House of Commons.

A Winnipeg Member of Parliament (MP) has agreed to sponsor the petition when the 500 signature minimum is reached.  Robert-Falcon Ouelette, told the CBC, “In certain places [in Canada], there are extensive fees, not even nominal fees. Sometimes it’s $25 to park in some of the hospitals in this country. And that is really a barrier.”

Some hospitals contract out their parking lots to for profit companies which set their own fees and are quick with tickets for expired meters.
A private security guard patrols the parking lot at a hospital. Some hospitals contract out their parking lots to for-profit companies which set their own fees and are quick with tickets for expired meters. Many feel that fees and tickets are an insulting way to profit from people’s health misfortune. © CBC Marketplace

Ontario has already instituted some measures to reduce the parking fee burden which will take effect in October. The provincial government ordered hospitals there to provide 50 percent cheaper rates for longer duration stays with tickets good for 5, 10, or 30 days. Also parking rates are frozen for the next three years, after which rates can only be raised at the rate of inflation for parking lots charging more than $10 per day.

Canada is not the only place where high hospital parking rates are an issue.  An Australian boy with a rare disease says his parents have spent over $10,000 in parking to visit him during his stays at a Sydney hospital.  His online petition has over 61,000 signatures, which include comments such as being infuriated at paying $64 a day  simply to visit a loved one or receive treatment.

Others with children in similar situations have left comments on the petition site saying they’ve paid over $1000 this year alone to take their child for treatment and to visit.

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4 comments on “Fighting against hospital parking fees.
  1. Avatar gerald gehue says:

    Why should a person have to pay for parking when there going to out patient. Most people are in and out within a few hours.and some are out in less time.some might have to leave and come back.and pay again. It’s all wrote and you know it

  2. Avatar Larry Schuett says:

    I think the parking at hospitals should not be charged to the patents. If you must charge then charge the people who drive imported cars, Volvo, Mercedes etc. as they can afford it. Leave the locally made cars free.

  3. Marc Montgomery Marc Montgomery says:

    Linda and Noel Keeley

    Subject of comment: Parking fees at hospitals

    We think that parking at hospitals should be absolutely free. It is really quite disgusting that hospitals charge for parking. Parking at doctors’ offices should be free also. Charging to park at hospitals is preying on people at their most vulnerable. Thank goodness someone has brought this to a head.

  4. shame on the hospitals and goverment having to pay to park when some one is die ing