News Release: September 6, 2015
City of Toronto withdraws parking tickets awaiting trial for more than a year
The City of Toronto withdrew approximately 880,000 parking tickets in court on September 4. This represents less than three per cent of all parking tickets issued between 2002 and 2014 and includes tickets for which a trial request had been submitted or a retrial ordered but no trial was yet scheduled.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures the right to a trial within a reasonable amount of time, historically 12 to 16 months for parking tickets. Withdrawing the tickets is an administrative measure that ensures compliance with the Charter and avoids pursuing tickets that have exceeded the time frame and have no reasonable prospect of conviction.
The City prioritizes the scheduling of trials in its courtrooms to accommodate more serious charges first. The high volume of parking ticket trial requests made between 2002 and 2014 greatly exceeded courtroom capacity and availability of justices of the peace to hear the cases.
The ticket withdrawal does not directly impact the City's budget because the City annually identifies an amount within the budget to account for parking tickets that may be withdrawn, remain unpaid or historically reduced in court. The withdrawn tickets represent an estimated $20 million in potential fine revenue for the City. Had trials been conducted for these parking tickets, the cost to the City of hearing them in court would have exceeded $23 million.
The City and the Province of Ontario have taken steps to reduce the likelihood of recurrence, including providing additional court room space and justices of the peace, updating cancellation guidelines, adopting a fixed fine system, implementing higher rush hour parking fines and establishing a habitual offender towing program.
Alternative methods of processing parking ticket disputes are also being reviewed, including the use of an administrative monetary penalty system, which would take parking bylaw disputes out of the provincial court system and move them to an administrative review process. It would include a process to appeal an administrative decision to a hearing officer for a final decision. A report to Council outlining the new opportunities is expected later this year.
The City continues to schedule parking ticket trials into all available court space.
Drivers and vehicle owners can check if their parking tickets were withdrawn by entering the parking infraction number, the vehicle owner's driver's licence number or a Registrant Identification Number (RIN) into the City's parking ticket lookup tool at http://www.toronto.ca/parkingtickets. If a searched ticket was withdrawn, the recipient will see "Cancelled, Withdrawn, Complete" in the status box. This means the ticket does not need to be paid.
This news release is also available on the City's website: http://bit.ly/1iq6PZd
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Media contact: Jackie DeSouza, Strategic Communications, 416-919-6500, firstname.lastname@example.org