Share your story

Everyone has a story to tell about parking at hospitals and other health care facilites. Here’s an opportunity to send a message to the Ontario government. We will gather your responses and deliver them to the Minister of Health in Ontario.

Do you support the idea of using parking fees to augment hospital budgets? Are you satisfied with the amount you must pay? Do you have ideas about how this issue might be resolved?

Please share your experiences here by typing a comment in the “Leave a Comment” box below. Or contact us at

Here is Alan Powell’s own story;

“I have been in many hospitals as both a patient and a visitor. As a patient, I appreciated very much the people who came to visit, and encouraged me in my recovery. I have visited many patients in hospitals, both family and friends. Sometimes with great joy to see a new baby, while at other times to share the last days with some who were terminally ill.

I have visited Markham Stouffville Hospital many times. Over the years, the visiting became more difficult as I become older, and the free parking on the street stretched out to be about five blocks away. I tried to chose a day when the weather was suitable. Some times I have parked at the hospital and found it confusing and expensive.

One day the thought came to me – there must be a better way! In our town of Markham, the most advanced and diverse in North America, we are known as a wonderful town, with community centres, worship centres, parks, libraries, schools, businesses and our hospital. Around our town, we often see the motto “We care!”

I am convinced that we can make the parking at our hospital a much more friendly experience. I have learned this is a common problem throughout our province.

I’m sure we have the resources to accomplish our goal together if we all work and pray to solve it.”

Alan Powell

15 Comments on “Share your story”

  1. aldous young says:

    As someone who had already written to the president of Southlake Regional hospital on this very issue I was pleased that others are of the same opinion that the high cost of parking is a barrier to healthcare.
    In my case I was attending southlake on a daily basis, 5 days a week for 6 to 7 weeks, for treatment. Although staff tried to keep treatments on time there were times that there were delays and triple booking of appointments to ensure effeciency of equipment and medical staff. This was a worry if one had paid for just an hours parking and concern whether your car would be there when your treatment was over. Of course the parking clock kept ticking, at $7.00 an hour plus vat!!
    In my letter to the president I acknowledged the challenges that hospital administrators faced and the concept of cost recovery of these types of operations but they should not be a profit centre. I suggested that perhaps a donor(s) could be approached to partially fund parking for patients with suitable recognition. In a follow up I suggested that a special parking pass be developed for those patients having to park for treatment on a daily basis for a limited period of time. The only other options of a monthly or a 7 day weekly pass did not match a 5 day with hospital holiday exceptions.
    I also noted in my letter to the President that donorship is voluntary and should not be obtained from patients seeking healthcare who have to pay for parking to get treatment, especially when their contribution is not even acknowledged.
    I did not get a response to my letter to the Southlake president, other than a staff member was instructed to advise me of the parking fee options.
    I hope you get a better responce

  2. Janet Atkinson says:

    I find the parking fees at Markham Stouffville Hospital are outrageously high. I had regular weekly appointments for 10 weeks- a special program my doctor suggested I take, and the parking was at least $20-$30 each time. Now I still go there at least monthly, and when I go to pay my parking I can’t help but think how many groceries I could get for $20. I tried to park in the Cornell area several blocks north of the hospital and twice I was whacked with $40 tickets. I’m unemployed, my husband is working, but we have to watch every cent. The notion that anyone who uses the hospital can afford these parking fees is completely unrealistic. Some people are likely going without healthcare they need because they can’t afford to park there. And this makes sense how? Are we losing the whole idea of what the hospital stands for?

  3. Gilaine St-Cyr Schneider says:

    I’m a single parent with 3 children and I have been to the Hospital for several reasons, including surgeries for my Mom and sister. Caring for loved ones and having to add at a min. $14(for a couple of hours) to every visit is really ridiculous. It’s more than I pay for parking in Toronto for the whole day, I park at an outside lot near Yonge & Eglinton for $10/day. The other affordable parkling nearby at $5 is usually full. It makes no sense to impose a hardship to people trying to get car at the hospital.

  4. Jan Rogers says:

    I have many stories as I have to go to MSH often, usually because of my own treatment. The one time sticks in my mind, I was paying for my parking and a lady was asking me questions about how to pay etc, While being nice to the Lady I absent minded put the ticket in my pocket insead of on the windshield, ticket was for $7.50. When I came out less than an hour later there was a ticket on windshield for $40. I spent 2 hours at the Town trying to get the ticket cancelled. Yup you guessed it they wouldn’t cancel it but did reduce it to $15.00 I was told to “Take it to court” So much for being fair to a Senior who was just trying to help. OH yes the man at the Town said “you should not have told me you had it in your pocket” Right “Lie”

  5. REPLY ON BEHALF OF: Jaczek_Helena-MPP-CO

    Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 11:38:28 AM
    Subject: RE: parking fees

    Hello Debbie,
    On behalf of Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham, thank you for contacting our office regarding hospital parking fees. Dr. Jaczek has reviewed your concerns and has asked that I respond on her behalf.

    We encourage communities to work with their hospital board if they have concerns. But parking fees are set by individual hospitals and not the ministry. Each hospital has different parking infrastructure and different needs and they make their own decisions around parking fees. Ontarians made it clear during the election that they want their government to invest in lowering wait times, access to doctors and investing in home care.
    Thank you again for your email.
    Vera Nikolovski

    Constituency Office Manager
    Office of Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham
    137 Main St. North, Suit 201
    Markham, Ontario, L3P 1Y2
    P. 905-294-4931
    F. 905-294-0014

    REPLY TO VERA (Dr Helena Jaczek rep)

    Thanks for your reply Vera but this fight isn’t going to go away.
    Hospitals won’t do anything unless they are mandated by the Govt. to do so.
    The Ministry of Health must get involved.

    There is a captive audience who must use the hospital and this amounts to user fees for healthcare.

    Not only can the sick and elderly rarely afford these prices, but the actual parking fees are approx.
    double the market value.

    I am joining a group of citizens who are going to push to the top regarding this complaint and it will become
    an election issue.


    Debbie Grainger

  6. Ron Anderson says:

    I was most interested in reading the article “Volunteer opposes fees” in the Mar 15th Newmarket Era. It so happens I had a less than satisfactory letter exchange with Paul Clarry of Southlake beginning the end of 2010. It was regarding the parking rate increase from $3/half hour to $3.50 and the deadly accident incurred by a woman leaving their parking lot.Dec 24th. For the former my I.T. background said that we should not have to pay $7 for a parking ticket showing 31 minutes of elapsed time. As for the tragic event it was obvious that the hospital was more interested in avoiding a lawsuit then fixing a difficult exit. I no longer use Southlake’s parking as private $5/day parking with in/out privileges is available right across Davis Drive from the hospital. However, I continue to be a supporter of Southlake through its Foundation. Thank you, Dr. Powell for taking up this challenge against what I would describe as a rip-off!.

  7. Sarai says:

    I am writing on behalf of Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer (OPACC) ( We are a registered charity whose goal is to be the parent voice for families with children diagnosed with cancer across the Province of Ontario. We are very much interested in this issue, as it is one that greatly affects families who are already financially strained and stressed by a diagnosis of childhood cancer. We support lowering or, better yet, doing away altogether with parking fees at all hospitals, specifically for parents who have no choice but to be at the hospital day in and day out with their child while they are in treatment. We run a Parent Liaison program at Sick Kids where a trained Parent Facilitator and parent of a child who had cancer meets with families to offer non-medical support and advice, resources, drop-ins, giveaways, and more. Since we are so closely linked with Sick Kids, we were discouraged when they recently raised their parent parking rate from $16/day to $20/day. We have put up an online petition on here: and to date we have over 650 signatures in just a few short weeks since it has been posted! As you can see, parents are very passionate about this important issue. I would encourage anyone who sees this to sign it as well, as each signature delivers the petition directly to the appropriate department at the hospital. We appreciate all the efforts that have been made in creating this website and will use the helpful suggestions listed on here. We would like to get in touch with a representative from your organization to perhaps work together towards achieving this common goal – brainstorming, using our resources and ideas, etc. Please contact me at

  8. Jan Rogers says:

    Don’t think MSH cares too much, they have now raised the day rate from $15.00 to $17.00. I do donate to the Foundation and for next year I will have my own little MSH parking account which will reduce the amount I donate, I can’t afford to do both.

  9. Sarai says:

    Thought you may be interested in the recent CBC Marketplace piece which aired on March 29, 2013 called “Hospital Parking Pain.” You can view it online here:

  10. Octavia says:

    This is a topic which is near to my heart.
    .. Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?

  11. deb davidson says:

    I believe if the hospital books were made public that we would find that very little of this money is actually used to run the hospital. By placing these funds into the foundation purse there is little accountability for this money. It could be used as a private bank account for the executive staff. Maybe this should be investigated with the thoroughness of the recent senate scandal. The tax payer really owns this property and to be taxed again to park at a hospital is just plain wrong. Not much will be done about this until the the public can have a look at the books.
    Most hospitals have contracted or leased the parking lots… this is public property, payed for by the tax payer. Should the tax payer be helping to make a private corporation rich? I don’t think so. Why are the streets surrounding a hospital peppered with no parking signs? Why isn’t the opposition making more noise about this problem?
    Thanks Deb

  12. Debbie Grainger says:

    The streets surrounding the hospital are peppered with no parking signs because people living on them complained… The town voted on it so many times you can look in their minutes and see that they’ve left it open now to keep adding no parking signs without having to vote on it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of revenue the town gets from this. They sell parking permits for these streets and they ticket all day long …. The town doesn’t care, they say the parking situation is the hospitals concern. The hospital says the no parking around the area is the towns concern.
    I looked into this a few years ago when I was researching how the ticketing was distributed throughout the town. Hospital, cornell and Main St U. are the hotspots.

    I wish you luck in finding out exactly where the parking money is going. I believe you can do this with the freedom of information act.

  13. Chris says:

    My understanding over the last few years, is that hospitals have been directed to find ways to create revenue and one simple solution has been through parking fee’s.

    This past week, my father had a stroke and was hospitalized. After a few visits to the hospital to see the husband and partner of over 50 years, my mother (who battles significant mobility issues) decided it was too expensive and repeated visits is a challenge on a fixed income. In her innovative thinking, and being a very stubborn and independent person, decided to drive her mobility scooter 3.7 km each way (in November) to visit my father and avoid the parking fee!

    I am embarrassed to know our healthcare system has decided the easiest route to find fee’s is through parking. If my understanding of revenues generated through parking is correct, we create approx. 1% of the hospital revenue through parking. I am now more aware and want to challenge this and see what percent of that would come from the population on fixed income (who would be the greatest consumers of healthcare).

    We who work in healthcare know budgets have frozen, and costs go up, but we can all do better to find savings outside of this small drop in the bucket. Perhaps I am jumping to solutions too soon, but if seniors can get discounts at movies and drug stores, why can we not wave parking fee’s for everyone who can show a ODSP card (or similar criteria).

    In case you missed the above, yes…I work in healthcare. Yes I pay to park at my hospital, but I do not pay anywhere near the fee we take from the patient population and their families.

    I wish luck in the quest, and ask that you know you have another supporter here.


  14. Barbara Johnson says:

    I can support parking charge relief for severely disabled people, but for anyone else, a car is a luxury. Subsidizing parking for drivers is a subsidy on the rich which is paid for by average taxpayers who could never dream of affording a car.

  15. Debbie Grainger says:

    I disagree, there is very rarely a household in Markham that doesn’t own a car of some vintage.. Our transit is underdeveloped and where this is true downtown, people who live in Markham, Stouffville could never afford to take their kids to lessons in a cab.. Who uses the hospital most? Seniors in declining health living on pensions and families with grave illnesses who come daily or weekly for chemo treatments etc. The complaints are not coming from people who park once every year.. it’s the vulnerable sector who can least afford it who are subsidising the hospital. It should be a taxpayer item (via the govt. support of hospitals) so it’s there when people enter that stage of life just as our CPP and old age pensions are there for us.

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