Ontario is making hospital parking more affordable for thousands of patients, their loved ones and caregivers. As of October 1, 2016, hospitals that charge more than $10 a day for parking will be required to provide 5-, 10- and 30-day passes that are:
- Discounted by 50 per cent off their daily rate
- Transferable between patients and caregivers
- Equipped with in-and-out privileges throughout a 24-hour period
- Good for one year from the date of purchase.
“Parking fees should never be a barrier for patients when they go to the hospital,” Minister of Health & Long Term Care Eric Hoskins said. Ontario consulted with patients, patient advocacy groups, hospitals and the Ontario Hospital Association to find a fair plan that reduces the financial burden of parking fees for patients and their visitors.
Between now and October 1, 2016, hospitals will work directly with their Patient and Family Advisory Councils to implement this new policy, ensuring that it is well promoted and easy to understand. Each hospital will provide details on its specific parking policy and discounts.
The current funding model classifies parking revenues as part of the “local share” provided by the municipalities, and hospitals themselves. The parking policy has no impact overall funding levels for hospitals. “Hospitals will continue to work with their Local Health Integration Network” (LHIN)’s to identify any net financial pressures they may experience as a result of the directive,” Ministry of Health Spokesman Mark Nesbitt wrote in an email.
Municipalities will not be expected to make up any shortfall in revenues. “In some instances the Directive may actually increase a hospital’s parking revenue,” Nesbitt explained. Those hospitals with lower rates could see a higher volume of cars parking there. The new policy is part of a larger initiative from the Wynne Government: “Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care.” It will be re-evaluated one year after its implementation. Approximately 900,000 patients and visitors are expected to benefit from reduced parking fees each year.