News / Toronto

Disputing parking tickets in Toronto is about to get a lot easier

The city is rolling out new system starting next week that will ease the process.

The new system comes as the city continues to hand out a high volume of tickets for parking infractions: an average of nearly 200,000 per month.

File / Torstar News Service Order this photo

The new system comes as the city continues to hand out a high volume of tickets for parking infractions: an average of nearly 200,000 per month.

Forget going to court to fight that parking ticket; soon you'll be able to do it from your couch.

The city is ditching the often-lengthy provincial court process in favour of the Administrative Penalty System. Starting the week of Aug. 28, the system allows people to request a review of a parking violation either online or in person through a city screening officer.

"Screening officers will have the authority to affirm, vary or cancel the penalty, vary and cancel any fees or provide an individual with additional time to pay the penalty, if required," said Kalli Chapman, the city's director of prosecutions, in a statement to Metro.

The new system comes as the city continues to hand out a high volume of tickets for parking infractions: an average of nearly 200,000 per month.

An increasing number of them end up in provincial courts — over the past 10 years, about 1.8 million cases. The new system is expected to help "free up the provincial court system to deal with more serious matters," Chapman said.

Two years ago the city was forced to throw out as many as 800,000 such cases due to lack of court time. As city staff explained, the cancellation cost the city an estimated $20 million in potential revenue, but going ahead with court proceedings could have cost around $23 million.

Should an individual feel dissatisfied with the outcome of the screening review under the new system, he or she can request a second review. That leads to a special appeal run by a council-appointed hearing officer. A decision at that level is final.

Reasons for disputing tickets vary, said Chapman. A person may not agree with the infraction, not understand the signage, believe they should be exempt from the restrictions or be unable to pay the penalties and need a time extension.

"The city is committed to providing customer service in a timely manner, and this new process will provide faster resolutions for disputes," said Chapman.

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