No change coming to hospital parking fees, province says

Ontario hospitals will keep their existing rules around parking lot rates as Quebec moves to lower or eliminate fees at its health facilities. 

The Quebec government announced last week it would prevent hospitals from charging for the first two hours of parking and implement a daily cap of between $7 and $10. 

For the last three years, Ontario has had a freeze on hospital parking rates. It could have expired this month, but the Progressive Conservatives have left in place.

Under the freeze, rates can only increase at the rate of inflation. Hospitals are also required to offer five-day, 10-day and 30-day passes with discounted rates. 

Hayley Chazan, a spokesperson for health minister Christine Elliott, said they plan to leave the program as is. 

"There are no plans at the present time to revoke the hospital parking directive, created in May 2016 to help reduce the financial burden of hospital parking fees on patients and their frequent visitors," she said. 

Andrew Lupton/CBC

The most expensive daily rate in Ottawa is at CHEO, the region's children's hospital, where it costs $14 per day, with a monthly pass going for $90.

Rates at the Ottawa Hospital's three campuses are similar, with a daily rate of $13.25 and a monthly rate of $94. 

Patrick Moore, a spokesperson for CHEO, said the money raised goes to the hospital's foundation, where it helps pay for things like new equipment and space upgrades.  

In 2018-19, that came to just over $4.5 million, with a third coming from staff parking, Moore said in an email.

Moore also said the hospital has a fund that can cover certain expenses for families in need, and that can include parking.