Ottawa has been relaxing parking rules to help ease the frustration of motorists, but that hasn't stopped them from handing out nearly 250,000 parking tickets last year.
Parking tickets are a fact of life in a bustling urban arena, and before long, you'll probably find that dreaded ticket under your windshield wiper. Hasty parking decisions happen, and we're here to help you make the most of a bad situation.
We've already walked you through how to deal with a Calgary parking ticket, so let's explore the best ways to handle a parking ticket in Ottawa.
Parking Ticket - How to Deal with It?
If you have received a parking ticket in Ottawa, you're just one of the 6,000 daily recipients of parking tickets. The Ottawa Parking Enforcement Unit never sleeps. Their goal is to maintain streets where circulation is unhindered and safe and parking regulations are important components of this objective.
You should be aware that most parking infractions are based on city parking bylaws, and are unsigned. It's a good idea to be fully aware of Ottawa's city parking bylaws if you're visiting for the first time or you are a new driver. You can get a ticket at any time of day or night and in any type of weather.
Common Violations of Getting A Parking Ticket
Below are a few ways you may have been found guilty of a parking infraction:
Parking position: You may not park your vehicle more than 30 cm away from a sidewalk. Parking with your left wheels to the curb is also not permitted.
Parking location: You can get ticketed for parking in the following locations:
- Parking within 3 meters of a fire hydrant
- Parking within 9 meters of an intersection
- Parking on a boulevard
- Parking on a sidewalk or footpath
- Stopping within an intersection
- Parking within 9 meters of a crosswalk
- Parking in a fire route
- Parking in a bicycle route
- Parking in a bus stop area
- Parking in a no standing or no stopping zone
- Obstructing a driveway or a lane-way
- Stopping on a bridge
- Stopping on a center strip of a boulevard
Other parking violations: Did you know that in Toronto, you may not park for more than three hours on any street where parking is permitted? To exceed the three hours, you need a permit. This limitation includes overnight parking. If you are in your own front yard, you also need a permit to park there or you can get a ticket.
Some people try to use a street parking permit at the wrong location. This can also earn a parking ticket if someone complains about it.
Other common reasons that are true everywhere for getting a ticket:
- Parking at an expired parking meter
- Not displaying your Pay & Display ticket in your front windshield or an expired Pay & Display ticket
The parking violation that carries the biggest parking fine of $450 is unauthorized parking in an accessible parking area (formerly 'handicapped parking').
Parking Ticket Ottawa — Your Options
Keeping up with Ottawa's parking bylaws can be difficult, and being unaware of general rules can cost you dearly.
COVID-inspired parking rule adjustments were lifted late last year, and many motorists were blind-sided by bylaw enforcement. In many areas, especially on the main streets downtown, the change has caused countless drivers to overstay their welcomes in their parking spots.
Bylaws are enforced in Ottawa whether there are posted signs or not. The following are key restrictions to keep in mind to avoid getting a parking ticket the next time you're out in the city:
- 3-hour time limit Monday-Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- 6-hour time limit on weekends and holidays between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- Parking is prohibited within 3 metres of a fire hydrant or 1.5 metres of a driveway
- Parking is prohibited less than 9 metres away from street intersections
- On-street parking is prohibited during snow removal or street cleaning
Parking and stopping violations can cost you anywhere from $60-$190 in set fines. And if you illegally park in a spot reserved for disabled individuals, you could get a whopping $450 ticket.
With any parking infraction, you can pay a reduced amount if you take care of the ticket within 15 days of it being issued.
Different Options to Pay Parking Ticket
If you want to pay for your Ottawa parking ticket, you can do so online through Ottawa's ticket payment portal. Simply enter your ticket number, license plate number, and the province where your vehicle is registered to proceed to the payment section.
After entering your ticket information, you'll have the option to pay your ticket by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express). Debit and pre-paid cards are not allowed. With this option, you'll be charged an additional $1.50 by the city, along with any service fees from your credit card company.
Instead of paying online, you can use the automated phone payment system at 613-738-7719. The service is open 24/7. You can also pay the bill in person at one of five service centres, or you can mail a cheque or money order to the City of Ottawa at P.O. Box 3450, Station D.
How to Dispute A Ticket
If you feel that you were issued a ticket unfairly, you may be able to dispute it to have the fee reduced or annulled.
The City of Ottawa offers a simple online form to enter your dispute. You'll have to enter your ticket information and describe why you feel it was unfair. You need to attach a picture of the ticket, and you can also upload any additional documents.
To help your case, try to collect evidence to submit with your form. Take pictures of obstructed signs, faulty meters, or anything that might get a ticket overturned.
Once submitted, it can take 3-5 business days for a screening officer to review your ticket and make a decision. Tickets are reviewed on a case-by-case basis so it may take longer than normal to have a review.
When requesting a review, do not pre-emptively pay your ticket and expect a refund if it's reversed. Submitting a payment is taken as an admission of guilt, and they'll close out your case even if it was sent in for review.
If the review is returned and you don't agree with the decision, you can request a trial date. Fill out and submit a Notice of Intention to Appear (NIA), and the court will send you a letter with your trial date and information. Unfortunately, you can't use the provincial lookup tool to check the status of cases regarding parking tickets.
Consequences of Getting Too Many Parking Tickets
It's a common misconception that getting too many parking tickets can impact your car insurance rates. That's simply not true. Insurers are more concerned with moving violations, not parking violations. Another thing that cannot happen is having your driving license suspended if you've received too many tickets. However, it's best to pay them off in the 15-day time frame you are given, because if put on the back burner, you won't be able to renew your driver's license without having done so. And with those hefty late fees, those charges can add up.
The biggest reason why you should pay your tickets on time, at least in the City of Mississauga, is that if Parking Enforcement issues you three or more tickets, which remain unpaid, you could be towed. And it's no surprise that towing charges and daily impound fees could rack up several hundred dollars.
How to Get Out of Parking Ticket?
In order to not join the unhappy club of people with too many parking tickets, you need to be aware of some ways to avoid getting one.
When you park, be sure to scan the area for any reason why you may not be allowed to park there.
- Check for fire hydrants.
- Watch for street corners.
- If you park for more than three hours on the street and you don't have a permit for that area, you're doing that at your own risk.
- If there is a 'no standing' or 'no stopping' sign, don't park. Even if you are in the vehicle, you can still get a parking ticket.
- Watch out for signage and take care not to park in a fire route or a bicycle lane.
- Do not ever park in an accessible zone. These are clearly marked with both signs and indicators on the pavement.
- Be aware that all these regulations are in effect even on statutory holidays.
Ottawa Parking Enforcement
The City of Ottawa Parking Control works alongside by-law officers and police to enforce parking laws. If you need to report a parked vehicle that's presenting a hazard or blocking access, you can call 3-1-1 for immediate assistance.
Many parking ticket issues can be resolved in City Hall, where you can work with a clerk or Justice of the Peace to review your argument. You may be able to get a ticket thrown out or have your case reopened if you have already unsuccessfully appealed the decision.
Lost Parking Ticket Ottawa
A lost parking ticket can be a scary scenario, especially if you aren't sure of the issuance date. And when you go to pay the ticket online, you'll find one of the required fields is the ticket number.
That doesn't mean you're up a creek if you do lose your parking ticket in Ottawa. You can still go pay it in person with a city clerk or call to pay over the phone. Taking these routes will only require a driver's license and your license plate number.
The truth is, no matter where you go between provinces or municipalities, the rules are always changing. Always stay up to speed on local traffic and parking laws when you travel, or you might be caught off-guard with a hefty fine.
Take Care of Your Ottawa Parking Ticket Now
One rule is consistent across the country. Take care of your ticket, or else. If you don't pay or resolve a ticket, you'll eventually be unable to drive or renew your registration. We've given you the tools, so there's no excuse to let it lapse.
A parking ticket isn't the only way your car can cost you money. Get started on an auto insurance quote to learn how you can save even more by working with our team at Insurdinary.