News / Winnipeg

No refunds for thousands of wrongly issued parking tickets: city

Rules show tickets can only be issued on residential streets during parking bans between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Winnipeg Chief Operating Officer Michael Jack says city's 'Know Your Zone' program violated Manitoba's Highway Traffic Act

Metro file photo

Winnipeg Chief Operating Officer Michael Jack says city's 'Know Your Zone' program violated Manitoba's Highway Traffic Act

The city admits it wrongly issued upwards of 25,000 parking ban tickets on Winnipeg’s residential streets.

But those who paid up in full shouldn't expect any cheques in the mail.

On Friday, the city’s chief operating officer explained the error came to light following a recent court dispute over a parking ticket that was issued last winter. 

Michael Jack said officials learned in mid-October that our city’s snow clearing program-dubbed 'Know Your Zone'- was in direct violation of Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act.

The three-year-old program splits the city into different zones, then alerts the public as to which areas would be ploughed between a 12-hour window from either 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or vice-versa.

However, a sub-section of the traffic act states that without proper signage, parking tickets can only be issued between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

 “24/7 ability to ticket was obviously helpful in trying to get the streets cleared during a residential parking ban,” Jack said Friday.

As a result, he said the city is “refining” its operations, and instructing the parking authority to stop pursuing collection of any outstanding tickets and for the provincial Crown to stay any matters before the courts.

But drivers who already paid their fines are out of luck, as Jack explained there are bylaws in place that effectively render those files closed.

“We can only pay out what we’re authorized to be paying out,” he said.

Jack estimates that in the past three years, more than 32,000 residental parking ban tickets were issued, with 25,000 of those handed out beyond the timeframe of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Switching from around-the-clock ticketing to only a 7-hour window will mean several hundred thousand dollars in lost revenue for the city, he added.

Due to the timing of the discovery, Jack said nothing could be done in time for this winter except comply with the act.

But he said city officials would be working with the province to have the restriction lifted for future years.

In the meantime, Jack said the city’s plowing program would roll out as usual, including courtesy towing and ticketing only happening between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Even with the changes, he still expects residents to cooperate.

“We’re hopeful, we’re confident that Winnipeggers actually want their streets cleaned."