Disabled Parking Permits (Accessible Parking Permits)

Update:

In 2010, there were 535,000 temporary and permanent Accessible Parking Permits issued in the Province of Ontario, according to Service Ontario, more than 65,000 more permits than were issued three (3) years ago. Permanent permits are valid for five (5)  years, while temporary permits – for a sprained ankle, twisted knee or a temporary medical condition, are only valid for a maximum duration of  one year or when the medical condition subsides.

In 2006 Statistics Canada issued a report, describing the aging population in Canada and Ontario and the total number of centenarians (women and men aged 100 years or older). StatsCan predicts, based on the latest population projections, that the number of centenarians could triple to more than 14,000 by 2031. The report states that in 2006 there were 4,635 (nearly five (5) women for every man) centenarians in Canada. Ontario contained 37% of the total number of centenarians in Canada or 1715 centenarians during the Census conducted in 2006.

There were 1715 centenarians in Ontario in 2006. In 2007  it was discovered that the Ontario Ministry of Transportation had issued Assessible Parking Permits to 4,400 centenarians. As a result of this obvious abuse, the Ministry decided to begin conducting monthly checks with permit holders and death records from the Office of the Register General. This cross verification process was to identify those permit holders who had passed away, while the permit remained valid and outstanding.

The Ministry of Transportation expects permit holders or family or friends to return the permits when they are no longer needed (temporary Accessible Parking Permit) or in the event of a death (normally a permanent Accessible Parking Permit – which remains valid for 5 years after it has been issued). As long as the Accessible Parking Permit is valid, they can be utilized anyone, on the condition that the holder of the Accessible Parking Permit, accompanies the driver of the vehicle, in which the permit is placed.

In Toronto, above the complement of 260 green hornets, Toronto Police have dedicated additional resources (Toronto Police Board’s Parking Enforcement, uses a rotating team of five (5) Officers in what is referred to as the Disabled Unit) to deal with offences related to Accessible Parking Permits. In 2009, approximately 11,000 tickets were issued. The fines range from $300 to $5000.00 for various offences involving these permits. In March, 2008 the offence of “Parking in a Disabled Parking Zone” without a valid permit displayed , increased from $150.00  to a whopping $ 450.00. See Toronto Municipal Code – Chapter 903 “Parking for Persons with Disabilities” and Penalties under 903 (13) (with a minimum fine of $300.00).

Drivers with disabled parking permits (renamed as accessible parking permits in Toronto) are allowed to park without charge at parking meters and on streets with pay-and-display machines, as well as in no-parking areas outside of rush-hour periods. They can also park overnight on residential streets without obtaining a parking permit.

Vehicles displaying acessible permits are not allowed to block snow routes, driveways or fire hydrants, and cannot park anywhere that would impede traffic.

Application for Ontario Accessible Parking Permit – see link.

The completed application can be taken to a Driver & Vehicle Licence Issuing Office or can be sent to: ServiceOntario, P.O. Box 9800, Kingston, Ontario K7L 5N8.  All permits are issued free of charge.

If you need to contact ServiceOntario by telephone, you can call one of the following phone numbers:
Toll-free 1-800-267-8097
TTY toll-free 1-800-268-7095
Toronto (416) 326-1234
TTY Toronto (416) 325-3408
Regular business hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.

From the Ontario Ministry of Transportation;

Accessible parking permits – disabled persons parking permits:

If you have difficulty walking, you can apply for a Accessible Parking Permit. The application form for the permit can be acquired from Ontario Ministry of Transportation by calling 416-235-2999.

The eligibility of an applicant needs to be certified by a licensed chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopathic physician or occupational therapist.

Under what circumstances will an Accessible Parking Permit be issued?

Permanent, subject to change (up to 5 years), or a temporary permit (up to 12 months) will be issued to an individual who meets the following eligibility criteria:

  • Cannot walk without assistance of another person or a brace, cane, crutch, a lower limb prosthetic device or similar assistive device or who requires the assistance of a wheelchair.
  • Suffers from lung disease to such an extent that forced expiratory volume in one second is less than 1 litre.
  • Portable oxygen is a medical necessity.
  • Cardiovascular disease impairment classified as Class III or Class IV to standards accepted by the American Heart Association or Class III or IV according to the Canadian Cardiovascular Standard.
  • Severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, musculoskeletal or orthopaedic condition.
  • Visual acuity is 20/200 or poorer in the better eye with or without corrective lenses or whose greatest diameter of the field of vision in both eyes is 20 degrees or less.
  • Condition(s) or functional impairment that severely limits his or her mobility.

His or her condition must be certified by an Accessible Parking Permit (APP) program recognized health practitioner (physician, chiropractor, registered nurse practitioner (extended class), physiotherapist, occupational therapist, chiropodist or podiatrist)

Please note that a person’s age does not qualify him or her for a permit. You may apply for an APP even if you do not own a car or have a driver’s licence. These permits are issued to individuals, not vehicles. A “portable permit” issued to a person with a disability ensures their ease of access from any vehicle at any time.

There is no charge for Accessible Parking Permits. MTO is committed to breaking down barriers for people with disabilities throughout Ontario.

Permanent Permits

A permanent permit (blue) is valid for five years. All existing DPPPss are valid until their current expiry date. At that time, the applicant must meet the conditions of the new program criteria.

Everyone under the DPPPs program must be re-certified by a recognized health practitioner once under the new criteria. If their health practitioner indicated that the applicant has a permanent disability, the ministry will not require any future re-certifications under the APP program. If certified as having a condition that may improve (subject-to-change), re-certification will be required every five years as a condition of renewal. If the condition necessitating an APP improves, or if anyone comes into the possession of a valid permit issued in the name of a deceased person, the permit must be returned to the following address:

ServiceOntario
Licence Renewals Unit
P.O. Box 9800
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 5N8

Temporary Permits

Temporary permits (red) are issued when the disability is expected to last more than two months to a maximum of 12 months but is not considered a permanent disability. This permit is not renewable.

How to obtain an Accessible Parking Permit Motorcycle Plate Sticker (Decal):

Motorcycle riders who currently hold a permanent or subject-to-change APP placard permit can apply for an APP motorcycle plate sticker. An APP motorcycle plate sticker will allow motorcyclists with disabilities to park in designated parking spaces without having to display their APP placard permit.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for an APP motorcycle plate sticker, the applicant must currently meet all of the following requirements:

  • Have a permanent or subject-to-change APP permit placard;
  • Be the registered owner of a valid licence plate attached to a motorcycle or motor assisted bicycle; and,
  • Have a valid motorcycle driver’s licence (Class M or M2).

Once a sticker has been issued to the applicant, the APP placard permit must be carried at all times when parking in designated parking spaces. The APP placard permit does not need to be displayed on the motorcycle or motor assisted bicycle. It is to be carried in the event the permit holder is asked to produce it. Failure to produce the APP placard permit may result in a penalty even though the APP motorcycle plate sticker is displayed.
wheelchair symbol sign

Parking exemptions and permit holder responsibilities (from the City of Toronto website):

A current valid permit must be displayed and clearly visible on the vehicle’s sun visor or front dash.

A permit holder or driver (operating a vehicle for the purpose of transporting a accessible permit holder) who displays a valid accessible parking permit is exempt from the following:

  • no parking signSigned prohibited parking areas; this includes time restricted no parking areas, i.e.: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and general no parking anytime areas that display the regulatory no parking sign.
    (This does not apply to signed rush hour routes i.e. – 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.or 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday).

    Note: some restrictions apply, please refer to non-exemptions for specifics
  • signed on-street permit parking areas. Vehicles displaying a valid parking permit are permitted to park without a designated on-street parking permit
  • signed parking limits such as one hour and two hour maximums; holders are allowed to exceed the signed maximum parking limit
  • unsigned maximum three-hour parking limit in effect on all city streets
  • holders may park at on-street parking meters or pay and display machines without putting a coin in the meter/machine during the hours of legal operation.
    Note: exemption does not apply on private property
  • In all of the above situations where parking is permitted, it is permitted for a period not to exceed a maximum of 24 hours.

Non-exemptions (general)
Vehicles displaying accessible permits are not exempt from the following:

  • no parking/no stopping/no standing areas in designated emergency or snow routes
  • parking within 60 cm of a driveway
  • stopping/parking on a bridge
  • parking within 3 metres of a fire hydrant
  • parking within 9 metres (signs not required) or 15 metres (signs required) of an intersection
  • parking in designated “no standing and no stopping areas”
  • parking in a designated fire route
  • parking in a public lane
  • parking within a stand designated for taxicabs
  • parking at a place marked by an authorized sign as a passenger or freight loading zone during the time shown on the sign
  • parking in a position as will prevent the removal of any other vehicle previously parked
  • parking on private/municipal property if parked in a designated accessible location must pay a fee if one is required on that property also must display a valid accessible permit. If vehicle is parked in a regular parking spot (non-accessible), the permit holder must ensure that they follow the same rules as other users of the property
  • overnight parking between the hours of 2 a.m.- 6 a.m., from December 1 to March 31 in the former area of North York only.

Non-exemptions (where signs required)
Where authorized signs to that effect are displayed, vehicles displaying accessible permits are not exempt from the following:

  • within fifteen (15) metres of an intersection
  • within thirty and five-tenths (30.5) metres of an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal
  • in front of an entrance to or exit from any building or enclosed space in which persons may be expected to congregate in large numbers
  • within seven and five-tenths (7.5) metres of any fire hall on the side of the highway on which the fire hall is located or within thirty and five-tenths (30.5) metres of the fire hall on the opposite side of the highway
  • within a turning basin
  • so as to interfere with the formation of a funeral procession
  • within fifteen (15) metres of the termination of a dead-end street
  • within a T-type intersection
  • within the following distances of a crosswalk controlled by traffic control signals and located other than at an intersection:
    1. fifteen (15) metres of the crosswalk measured on each side of the highway in the direction of travel of vehicles on that side of the highway
    2. thirty and five-tenths (30.5) metres of the crosswalk measured on each side of the highway in the direction opposite to the direction of travel of vehicles on that side of the highway.

Committing any of the above offences may result in your vehicle being tagged and or towed.

Misuse of Permit and/or Designated Accessible Parking Space

  • Misuse of the permit will result in fines ranging from $300 to $5,000 and revoked APP privileges.
  • The Minister of Transportation may cancel or refuse to issue a replacement permit if it is misused.
  • Misuse or abuse of a permit should be reported to the police.
  • For information on local bylaws concerning accessible parking privileges, please contact your municipality.

Despite any other provisions, no person shall park a vehicle on a highway in such a manner as to interfere with the movement of traffic or any location where it would create and impediment or obvious hazard.

“Accessible parking permits” shall not be altered or defaced in any way. Photocopied or reproduced copies (by any means) are not valid. Persons using copied, altered or fraudulently obtained permits may be charged under the Highway Traffic Act.

“Accessible parking permits” are issued to the individual with the disability,the permit privileges are not transferable. The permit is not valid when displayed on a vehicle and the vehicle is not being used to pick up, drop off or transport the holder of the permit named therein. Persons who use a “Accessible parking permit” in the absence of the named holder, may be charged under the Highway Traffic Act (see sections 26 to 30 inclusive)

Here is some of the relevant and applicable law to these issues:

Section 42 of the Police Services Act R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 15, as amended, states:

Duties of police officer

42.(1) The duties of a police officer include,

(a) preserving the peace;

(b) preventing crimes and other offences and providing assistance and encouragement to other persons in their prevention;

(c) assisting victims of crime;

(d) apprehending criminals and other offenders and others who may lawfully be taken into custody;

(e) laying charges and participating in prosecutions;

(f)   executing warrants that are to be executed by police officers and performing related duties;

(g) performing the lawful duties that the chief of police assigns;

(h) in the case of a municipal police force and in the case of an agreement under section 10 (agreement for provision of police services by O.P.P.), enforcing municipal by-laws;

(i)   completing the prescribed training.

Power to act throughout Ontario

(2) A police officer has authority to act as such throughout Ontario.

Powers and duties of common law constable

(3) A police officer has the powers and duties ascribed to a constable at common law.

Section 28 (1) of the H.T.A. provides that:

28.  (1) Every person having possession of a disabled person parking permit shall, upon the demand of a police officer, police cadet, municipal law enforcement officer or an officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act, surrender the permit for reasonable inspection to ensure that the provisions of this Part and the regulations and any municipal by-law passed under section 9, 10, 11 or 102 of the Municipal Act, 2001 or under section 7, 8 or 80 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be, for establishing a system of disabled parking are being complied with. 2006, c. 32, Sched. C, s. 24 (2).

Officer may take possession of the permit

(2) An officer or cadet to whom an accessible parking permit has been surrendered may retain it until disposition of the case if the officer or cadet has reasonable ground to believe that the permit,

(a) was not issued under this Part;

(b) was obtained under false pretences;

(c) has been defaced or altered;

(d) has expired or been cancelled; or

(e) is being or has been used in contravention of the regulations or of a by-law passed under section 9, 10, 11 or 102 of the Municipal Act, 2001 or under section 7, 8 or 80 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be, for establishing a system of accessible parking. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 28 (2); 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table; 2006, c. 32, Sched. C, s. 24 (3); 2009, c. 33, Sched. 26, s. 3 (6).

29. Repealed: 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table.

Regulations, accessible parking permits

On the authority of s. 30 of the H.T.A., the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations:

(e) governing the manner of displaying disabled person parking permits on or in vehicles;

(f)   requiring the erection of signs and the placing of markings to identify designated parking spaces for the use of vehicles displaying a disabled person parking permit, and prescribing the types, content and location of the signs and markings;

(g) prescribing the conditions of use of a disabled person parking permit on land owned and occupied by the Crown;

(h) requiring and governing the surrender of disabled person parking permits;

Section 1 of the H.T.A. Regulation 581, R.R.O. 1990, sets out the definition of a “person with a disability” as meaning:

1.  In this Regulation,

“person with a disability” means an individual,

(a) who cannot walk without the assistance of another individual or of a brace, cane, crutch, lower limb prosthetic device or similar assistive device or who requires the assistance of a wheelchair,

(b) who suffers from lung disease to such an extent that his or her forced expiratory volume in one second is less than one litre,

(c) for whom portable oxygen is a medical necessity,

(d) who suffers from cardiovascular disease to such an extent that the individual’s functional capacity is classified as Class III or Class IV according to Nomenclature and Criteria for Diagnosis of Diseases of the Heart and Great Vessels, ninth edition, published by Little, Brown & Co. in 1994,

(e) whose ability to walk is severely limited due to an arthritic, neurological, musculoskeletal or orthopaedic condition,

(f)   whose visual acuity is 20/200 or poorer in the better eye, with corrective lenses if required, or whose maximum field of vision using both eyes has a diameter of 20 degrees or less, or

(g) whose mobility is severely limited by one or more conditions or functional impairments;

Sections 102 and 102.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001 state:

102.  (1)  If a municipality passes a by-law for establishing a system of disabled parking, the sole manner of identifying vehicles shall be a disabled parking permit issued under and displayed in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act and the regulations made under it.

(2)  Without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, a local municipality may require the owners or operators of parking lots or other parking facilities to which the public has access, whether on payment of a fee or otherwise, to provide designated parking spaces for vehicles displaying a disabled parking permit and if it does so, the local municipality shall prescribe the conditions of use of the disabled parking permit and shall prohibit the improper use of the permit.

(3)  A by-law passed in accordance with subsection (2) may provide for the removal and impounding of any vehicle, at its owner’s expense, parked or left contrary to the by-law.

102.1  (1)  Without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, a municipality may require a person to pay an administrative penalty if the municipality is satisfied that the person has failed to comply with any by-laws respecting the parking, standing or stopping of vehicles.

(2)  Despite subsection (1), the municipality does not have the power to provide that a person is liable to pay an administrative penalty in respect of the failure to comply with by-laws respecting the parking, standing or stopping of vehicles until a regulation is made under subsection (3).

(3)  Upon the recommendation of the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations providing for any matters which, in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, are necessary or desirable for the purposes of this section, including,

(a) granting a municipality powers with respect to requiring that persons pay administrative penalties and with respect to other matters necessary for a system of administrative penalties;

(b) imposing conditions and limitations on a municipality’s powers with respect to administrative penalties;

(c) providing for the refusal by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to validate vehicle permits issued, or to issue vehicle permits, to a person who had not paid an administrative penalty that is owing to a municipality.

(4)  In the event of a conflict between a regulation made under this section and a provision of this or any other Act or regulation, the regulation made under this section prevails.

For more information on Accessible parking permits, please refer to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (see sections 26 to 30 – Offence 27 (1) & Penalty 27 (2)) and the Revised Regulations of Ontario 1990, Regulation 581 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006, S.0. 2006, c.11, Schedule A – sections 7,8 & 80, which read:

Powers of a natural person

7. The City has the capacity, rights, powers and privileges of a natural person for the purpose of exercising its authority under this or any other Act. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 7.

Broad authority

8. (1) The City may provide any service or thing that the City considers necessary or desirable for the public. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 8 (1).

City by-laws

(2) The City may pass by-laws respecting the following matters:

1. Governance structure of the City and its local boards (restricted definition).

2.  Accountability and transparency of the City and its operations and of its local boards (restricted definition) and  their operations.

3.  Financial management of the City and its local boards (restricted definition).

4.  Public assets of the City acquired for the purpose of exercising its authority under this or any other Act.

5.  Economic, social and environmental well-being of the City.

6.  Health, safety and well-being of persons.

7.  Services and things that the City is authorized to provide under subsection (1).

8.  Protection of persons and property, including consumer protection.

9.  Animals.

10.  Structures, including fences and signs.

11.  Business licensing. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 8 (2); 2006, c. 32, Sched. B, s. 3 (1, 2).

Scope of by-law making power

(3) Without limiting the generality of section 6, a by-law under this section respecting a matter may,

(a)  regulate or prohibit respecting the matter;

(b)  require persons to do things respecting the matter;

(c)  provide for a system of licences respecting the matter. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 8 (3).

One power not affecting another

(4) The power to pass a by-law respecting a matter set out in a paragraph of subsection (2) is not limited or restricted by the power to pass a by-law respecting a matter set out in another paragraph of subsection (2). 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 8 (4).

Services or things provided by others

(5) The power to pass a by-law respecting the matter set out in paragraph 7 of subsection (2) does not include the power to pass a by-law respecting services or things provided by a person other than the City or a city board. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 8 (5).

Exception

(5.1) Nothing in subsection (5) prevents the City passing a by-law with respect to services or things provided by any person to the extent necessary,

(a)  to ensure that the physical operation of a system of the City or of a city board is not impaired; or

(b)  to ensure that the City, a city board or a system of the City or city board meets any provincial standards or regulations that apply to it. 2006, c. 32, Sched. B, s. 3 (3).

Definition

(6) In this section,

“local board (restricted definition)” means a local board other than,

(a)  a society as defined in subsection 3 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act,

(b)  a board of health as defined in subsection 1 (1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act,

(c)  a committee of management established under the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act,

(d)  a police services board established under the Police Services Act,

(e)  a board as defined in section 1 of the Public Libraries Act, or

(f)  a corporation established in accordance with section 148. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 8 (6).

Disabled parking permits

80. (1) If the City passes a by-law for establishing a system of disabled parking, the sole manner of identifying vehicles shall be a disabled parking permit issued under and displayed in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act and the regulations made under it. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 80 (1).

Same

(2) If the City passes a by-law requiring the owners or operators of parking lots or other parking facilities to which the public has access, whether on payment of a fee or otherwise, to provide designated parking spaces for motor vehicles displaying a disabled parking permit, the City,

(a)  shall prescribe the conditions of use of the disabled parking permit and shall prohibit the improper use of the permit; and

(b)  despite section 78, may provide for the removal and impounding of any motor vehicle, at its owner’s expense, parked or left in contravention of the by-law and subsection 170 (15) of the Highway Traffic Act applies with necessary modifications to the by-law. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 80 (2).

What is the fine for improperly parking in a disabled parking zone?

If you park in a disabled parking zone, without an accessible parking permit, expect to receive a hefty ticket. In March, 2008 a traffic ticket for “Parking in a Disabled Parking Zone” increased from $150.00 to a whopping $450.00.

Here are some of the Agreements of the following Provinces and Territories, regarding Disable Parking Permits (from Transport Canada):

This isn’t the first time we have heard about disabled parking spots being abused (see: Able-Bodied Drivers Apparently Using Disabled Parking Permits – a Toronto story from 2007) and it won’t be the last.

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5 comments

  1. There are a lot of people abusing the accessible parking permit. Like hey why not they don’t have to pay for the permit. They just need to get there doctor to sign a form and they will receive a permit whether they are disabled or not. I just saw an owner of a car with a permanent permit walk away from the car wearing 4 inch heels, while drivers who have to pay for their permits get ticketed because hey the drivers with the accessible parking permit are taking up space where other drivers who do not have the accessible permit could park, so why don’t they park elsewhere so the other drivers could use the spot and not get ticketed. so people who are following the law have to pay twice or more and the people who should not have the accessible parking permit are getting away with paying nothing at all.

    I believe that if they have to have the accessible parking permit legitimately they should be willing to pay a higher fee for the use of the permit and it should not be free. In addition Service Ontario should have a doctor on staff or people who can access these accessible parking permit holders. those who obtained the permit when they were not supposed to should back pay for the proper parking permit fee from when they applied for it an fined a fee for illegal use of the permit. then they use start charging the people who should have the permits more than the people who are paying for their parking permits If they need the accessible parking permit they should be willing to pay for it, they can still parking anywhere. It is a cost of having a car. Like let’s be fair, other people have to pay for their parking permit for the convenience for having a car why not make everyone pay.

    Well that is my 2 cents but I am sure a lot of people feel the same way I do.

  2. What are the building code rules for parking spots? i.e. the dimensions, width, signage, etc?
    In Toronto.

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