This is the document that we presented to Markham City Council on November 5, 2012. You may use this file for presenting to your own council, or other authority.
On Monday, November 5th, we made a presentation to the Markham City Council, sitting in general committee. After hearing our presentation and some favourable discussion, the committee passed our resolution,” That the City of Markham hereby requests that the Province of Ontario reduce and cap at a fair rate the parking charges at Ontario hospitals, including Markham/Stouffville Hospital.” The recommendation was passed with all in favour.
The next step is the Markham Council Meeting which is being held on Tuesday, November 13th at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Markham Civic Centre (Warden and Hwy 7).
Hope to see you there!
Please join us in the Canada Room, Markham Civic Centre, at 9 am on Monday, November 5th. We will be asking City Council to act by passing a motion to encourage the Provincial Government to reduce and cap at a fair rate the parking fees at Ontario hospitals.
You are most welcome to attend and listen. We welcome you, whatever your position.
The presentation will be posted here on November 5th.
In all of our efforts, looking at parking rates at hospitals in Ontario, it has become evident that parking rates at hospitals are geared to those that can afford them. It is also evident that if you know the ins and outs of hospital visits, you can to some extent, make the procedure less of a burden. It is our opinion that the vast majority of people using the hospitals may not know of some of these procedures.
Day passes, weekly passes and monthly passes are often available. Using the example of the Markham/Stouffville Hospital, these rates apply. The usual rate is $3.75 for half an hour. This translates into $7.50 per hour. The daily pass is $19.00. The weekly pass is $45.00 and the monthly pass is $90.00. If you know that a person you are going to visit is to be hospitalized for a length of time it is possible to reduce the cost of visiting. However, if you find out after several days that this is the case, the weekly and monthly passes will not include those days you have already paid for.
In our research, we have found that over 52, 000 clients accessed the York Region Food Banks in 2010.(The latest year’s figures. See http://yrfn.ca) This is a lot of people who need assistance with the essentials of living. It also translates into a lot of people who, if they need access to a hospital, will find the cost of parking an added burden. Now, we have recently found out that Markham-Stouffville Hospital has a policy for assisting those in need. Upon completion of a form filled out with a social worker, they could be entitled to a 30% discount on parking for the weekly and monthly passes. While it is a step in the right direction, could it not also be made less difficult for someone to access? What about all of those people who are coming in for tests that only take a few hours?
At a time when there are constraints on all of us because of the economy and the downloading of costs onto the consumer, parking at hospitals is one more area of worry, especially for those least able to afford it.
As one person commented on this website, perhaps it is time to respond to hospitals who ask for donations by saying I already gave at the parking lot.
In late December, 2011, we contacted Markham Stouffville Hospital with a view to talking to the MSH Board chair. We hoped to meet with the Board to explain the issue of high and rising hospital parking charges and to seek the support of the Board.
The initial response was a phone call from Janet Beed, CEO of the MSH Corporation, who declared that the Board knew all about the issue and that a representation from our group was not necessary.
A few days later, a letter arrived from Mr. Warren Jestin, Chair, Board of Directors, MSH Corporation, which is provided below. Mr. Jestin states that, “…we are not in a position to remove this revenue nor are we in a position to replace this revenue with another fundraising source at this time.”
While we actually sympathize with this position and believe that the solution to the matter of high and unchecked parking fees in our hospitals does not lie with individual hospitals, we had hoped that MSH would take the high road and offer at least moral support for our campaign. This is a dissappointing, although not unexpected, development.
We are further encouraged to take this discussion to the highest level. We will renew our efforts to meet with the Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, to gain a full understanding of where the responsibility for the impostion of parking charges on a vulnerable patient population lies.
Passing the buck from Hospital to LHIN to Ministry does not serve the public well. This strategy only serves to continue unchecked the stress on those in society who can least manage it: the sick, the old, the poor and those who would seek to support them.
Dr. Brian Goldman is a veteran ER physician and one of Canada’s most trusted medical broadcasters, and is host of the program “White Coat, Black Art” on CBC Radio One. An entire episode of the popular program, aired October 28th, 2011, was dedicated to the issue of parking fees at hospitals after Dr. Goldman himself experienced the shock of paying out hundreds of dollars to visit his ailing father.
The episode covered the matter thoroughly and is available streamed online at http://www.cbc.ca/whitecoat/blog/2011/10/28/park-your-frustration-show/.
Following the airing of the story, an unprecented number of listeners responded with their own experiences. Those responses are found at the site above and at Dr. Goldman’s blog site here: http://www.cbc.ca/whitecoat/blog/2011/11/15/park-your-frustration-mailbag/
The pent up frustration, pain and sense of injustice is growing in the Canadian public.
We call upon the policy makers to implement fair parking charges at public health institutions immediately.