Parking Ticket in Toronto: How to Deal with It?

Posted on July 9, 2021

Did you know that in 2019 there were more than 2.2 million parking tickets issued in Toronto earning over $60 million in revenue for the City of Toronto? Parking tickets are clearly a big source of income for the city even though the collection rate is only around 70%.

Most people go their entire lives without infringing the law or getting in trouble with the criminal justice system. Very few people manage to avoid getting one or more parking tickets, especially in cities like Toronto.

You Got a Parking Ticket - Now What?

parking ticket in toronto

If you have received a parking ticket in Toronto, you're just one of the 6,000 daily recipients of parking tickets. The Toronto 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 Toronto'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

Here 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:

  • Obstructing a driveway or a laneway
  • 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
  • Stopping on a bridge
  • Stopping on a center strip of a boulevard
  • 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

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').

What Are The Consequences of Getting Too Many Parking Tickets?

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.

  1. Check for fire hydrants. 
  2. Watch for street corners.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Watch out for signage and take care not to park in a fire route or a bicycle lane.
  6. Do not ever park in an accessible zone. These are clearly marked with both signs and indicators on the pavement. 
  7. Be aware that all these regulations are in effect even on statutory holidays.

There are apps for your Smartphone that have been developed to help you make safe parking choices. Some of these apps will help you find cheaper parking or even allow you to pay for parking through the app itself.

SpotHero is an app that works in most major cities in Canada and the U.S. You can pay in advance for many parking lots by choosing the time and location.

Green P parking is the Toronto Parking Authority's own app. It helps you find parking that is registered under Green P. You can pay for your parking with the app.

The Toronto Star helpfully compiled a list of parking ticket hotspots. They identified hospitals, malls, and universities as being the areas where most parking tickets are issued with Sunnybrook Hospital at the top of the list.

You need to exert caution and ensure you are legally parked in urban hotspots such as Edward St. by Young & Dundas Square. The apps mentioned above would help with parking in these areas.

Can You Lose Demerit Points?

In actual fact, nobody 'loses demerit points' on their driving record. A driver in Ontario starts with zero points and gains points with traffic violations.

The good news is that demerit points are given for moving violations, not for parking violations. So, no, your demerit points total will not be affected by parking tickets in Toronto.

Do Too Many Parking Tickets Affect My Driving Record?

Since you do not get demerit points for parking tickets, your driving record is unaffected.

What may be affected is your credit rating. First of all, if you don't pay your parking tickets within the allotted 15 days, you will be convicted of the parking offence. As a result, you will be charged court costs, administrative fees, and other surcharges. There is a list of the applicable fees provided by the City of Toronto that you can access online.

After several warnings, your defaulted fine will be referred to a collection agency. This is why your credit rating will be affected.

Can My Drivers License Get Suspended?

To promote safe driving practices, the province of Ontario has some of the strictest driving laws related to driving while under the influence, careless or reckless driving, or fleeing the police or other criminal code violations. All these violations will lead to license suspension.

Parking violations will not lead to license suspension.

If you have unpaid parking tickets, when you go to renew your vehicle registration or register a new vehicle, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation will require you to pay for your tickets, however.

Can My Car Get Towed?

If you have three unpaid parking tickets within 75 days, your vehicle will get towed and you will have to pay your tickets and the towing cost to get it back.

How Much Are Parking Tickets?

You should be aware that the most serious infraction of all in most cities is parking in a handicapped spot. You can always recognize these by the symbol of a wheelchair on the sign.

Toronto

Toronto has one of the steepest prices for parking tickets. They range from $30 for an expired parking meter to $450 for parking in an accessible parking area.

Mississauga

Mississauga has recently increased its parking fines. Stopping violations are increasing to $100. The expired meter charge is $30, like in the GTA.

Hamilton

The city of Hamilton's parking penalties vary between $25 for an expired meter and $350 for parking in a disabled person's reserved spot. Stopping in a no-stopping zone will cost you $80.

Ottawa

Parking ticket charges in Ottawa vary from $40 to $450. There is an early payment discount to encourage payment. Overnight parking is not ticketed with no permit required in the summer only. Because many streets are narrow, impeding snow removal carries a hefty fine of $125.

What If You Don’t Pay Your Parking Tickets?

If you're not from Ontario, you can choose to ignore it. The Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) will not chase you down nor send debt-collectors after you.

As an Ontario driver, if you choose not to pay, the consequences can be quite unpleasant.

You have 15 days to pay for your Toronto parking ticket. By day 16, a Notice of Overdue Parking Penalty will be issued to you by mail with an Address Search Fee added on of $12.24.

By day 31, after the issuance of the parking ticket, you will be charged a late fee of $25.50 without any further notice.

By day 40, you will be issued a Notice of Default that includes the Address Search Fee and the late fee. You will also be given a due date for this payment.

After 60 days have elapsed, a Plate Denial Enforcement Fee of $25.50 will be added to your charge. You will no longer be able to pay your parking ticket online, you will have to go to a Service Ontario location to pay.

How Can I Pay for My Parking Tickets?

how to pay parking ticket in toronto screenshot

There are three ways to pay for your parking tickets. You can do it online, by mail, or in person.

If you pay your ticket online, you have to provide your violation notice number which is on the ticket. You also have to provide your license plate number.

If you choose to pay by mail, do not send in cash, only a cheque will be accepted. Your cheque should contain the parking violation number on the front and should be sent to the Treasurer, City of Toronto. Be sure to send your cheque early because the payment needs to be recorded before the due date.

Paying in person at a counter location in Toronto has been suspended in response to the COVID pandemic. When this type of payment resumes, you need to bring your parking violation with you when you go to pay.

How to Check For Unpaid Parking Tickets

To check for unpaid parking tickets, you can go to the same link as when you have your parking violation in hand. The only difference is that you have to select 'Driver's Licence/Registrant Identification Number (R.I.N)' by clicking the dot next to this choice and select 'outstanding' under Parking Violation Notice Status.

What Is the Impact of Parking Tickets on Insurance?

When you get a parking ticket, there are no demerit points assigned. Since no demerit points are given, your driving record is unaffected. So, the good news is that parking tickets will not affect your insurance rate.

It's understandable that you should be concerned about insurance rates because they seem to be changing for the worse all the time. You can shop for the best insurance rates. Do it today!

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