Drive Away Parking Tickets

Update: see the previous post Toronto wants to Rake in Millions from Motorists

A number of tickets were cancelled in 2008 & 2009 due to the fact that the driver of the motor vehicle drove away before the parking tag could be completed and affixed to the windshield of the motor vehicle. These drive away tags cannot be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle and are therefore cancelled and written off.  The City of Toronto has lobbied the Provincial government in the past to make the necessary amendments to the legislation, but the changes didn’t take place.

On January 27, 2010 the City of Toronto’s Auditor General wrote to the Audit Committee of the City of Toronto. The Auditor General recommended the following:

” The Treasurer, in consultation with the City Solictor, request amendments to Provincial legislation pertaining to the issue of parking tickets related to drive-away vehicles. The requested amendments allow parking tags to be mailed directly to registered vehicle owners”.

This is not the first time the City of Toronto has made requests to the Province of Ontario to amend the legislation to ensure that they could collect on outstanding traffic fines – see Briefing Note from 2004.

On April 30, 2010 the 2009 Parking Ticket Activity breakdown was released as a “Briefing Note”:

Table 2 – Toronto Parking Tickets – Breakdown of Tickets Cancelled – 2008 and 2009 (Due to “Drive Away Tags”):

2008 – 111,215  tickets cancelled – representing 3.83% of the total number of 424,862 parking tickets cancelled.

2009 – 107,536 tickets cancelled – representing 3.85% of the total number of 428,651 parking tickets cancelled.

In 2009, about 428,651 parking tags (parking tickets) — about 15 percent of the City of Toronto’s total number of parking tags issued — were withdrawn and written off –  for a variety of reasons, including roadwork (construction), courier/delivery vehicle exemptions, missing signs, drive away tags, out-of-province vehicles ticketed, errors etc.

The City of Toronto’s 2010 – Budget Briefing NOTE – Parking Tag Enforcement and Operations:
The Trial Request Rate for parking tickets has steadily increased (see the report) from 2004 to 2009:

2004 – 2.5%
2005 – 3.8%
2006 – 4.4%
2007 – 6.1%
2008 – 8.5%
2009 – 10.8%

In six (6) years the number of motorists who have received tickets and have actually requested a trial has gone from 2.5% in 2004 to almost 11% in 2009. It is great that more and more motorists feel comfortable enough to actually challenge their tickets in court and request a trial. The fact that the fines have increased considerably over the years, motivates more and more motorists to fight their tickets and proceed to trial.

Overtime for Parking Enforcement Officer Attending Court:

  • The City of Toronto has added three (3) more court rooms to accomodate the increased trial request rate. As a result of the added court space, additional overtime is required by the Toronto Police Services in order to have Parking Enforcement Officers attend court to present evidence on charges (parking tags) they have imposed.  While many of these officers can attend court on-duty, there are groups that work day-shift exclusively and having these officers attend court, leaves enforcement gaps in key sectors of the City. To mitigate the impact of no enforcement and a significant loss of revenue from lack of enforcement activity; Parking Enforcement is planning to utilize off-duty officers to work during these court periods on an “overtime basis”.  The Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement Unit has identified an increase in expenditures totalling $1.7 million for 2010.
  • The increase in overtime for parking enforcement officers to attend Court is also viewed by the City as a “temporary measure” to accomodate the increased court capacity over the next two (2) years.
  • The rising trial rate has an adverse effect on parking ticket revenue, in that it lowers the overall collection rate for parking ticket revenues from approximately 82% to 80%. To account for the impact of the increased trial rate, the collection rate for 2010 is projected at 80%, resulting in reduced revenues of approximately $1 million dollars.

  • According to a story from the Toronto Star:
    In all, the City of Toronto cancelled some 860,000 parking tags in 2007 and 2008 – about 15 per cent of all parking tags (tickets) written – with the result that the city lost $35 million dollars in potential revenue.

    “It’s too much and it’s not fair,” said City of Toronto Councillor Doug Holyday, who chairs the City’s Audit Committee.

    “It means some people who should be paying for their mistakes are not being held accountable.”

    Losses from “drive away” motorists could be minimized if the province agreed to let the city mail out tickets, as is the case in British Columbia and Alberta, said the City’s Auditor General Mr. Jeff Griffiths. He recommends the city seek amendments to the Provincial Offences Act.

    This is the current legislation that covers these types of situations in the Provincial Offences Act. This is the legislation which the City of Toronto is seeking changes to and relying upon the Province to quickly make  those changes, in order that the City is accomodated, so that they can send parking tags to registered owners homes (if the vehicle drives away before the ticket can be placed on it) and to deal with vehicles that have Out of Province licence plates. See below:


    “Parking infraction”, Part II

    14. In this Part,

    “parking infraction” means any unlawful parking, standing or stopping of a vehicle that constitutes an offence. 1992, c. 20, s. 1 (1).

    Proceeding, parking infraction

    14.1 In addition to the procedure set out in Part III for commencing a proceeding by laying an information, a proceeding in respect of a parking infraction may be commenced in accordance with this Part. 1992, c. 20, s. 1 (1).

    Certificate and notice of parking infraction

    15. (1) A provincial offences officer who believes from his or her personal knowledge that one or more persons have committed a parking infraction may issue,

    (a) a certificate of parking infraction certifying that a parking infraction has been committed; and

    (b) a parking infraction notice indicating the set fine for the infraction.


    (2) The provincial offences officer shall complete and sign the certificate and notice in the form prescribed under section 20.

    Municipal by-laws

    (3) If the alleged infraction is under a by-law of a municipality, it is not necessary to include a reference to the number of the by-law on the certificate or notice.

    Service on owner

    (4) The issuing provincial offences officer may serve the parking infraction notice on the owner of the vehicle identified in the notice,

    (a) by affixing it to the vehicle in a conspicuous place at the time of the alleged infraction; or

    (b) by delivering it personally to the person having care and control of the vehicle at the time of the alleged infraction.

    Service on operator

    (5) The issuing provincial offences officer may serve the parking infraction notice on the operator of a vehicle by delivering it to the operator personally at the time of the alleged infraction.

    Certificate of service

    (6) The issuing provincial offences officer shall certify on the certificate of parking infraction that he or she served the parking infraction notice on the person charged and the date and method of service.

    Certificate as evidence

    (7) If it appears that the provincial offences officer who issued a certificate of parking infraction has certified service of the parking infraction notice and signed the certificate, the certificate shall be received in evidence and is proof of service unless there is evidence to the contrary. 1992, c. 20, s. 1 (1).

    Payment out of court

    16. A defendant who does not wish to dispute the charge may deliver the notice and amount of the set fine to the place shown on the notice. 1992, c. 20, s. 1 (1).

    Intention to appear

    17. (1) A defendant who is served with a parking infraction notice may give notice of intention to appear in court for the purpose of entering a plea and having a trial of the matter by so indicating on the parking infraction notice and delivering the notice to the place specified in it. 1993, c. 31, s. 1 (7).

    The City of Ottawa is experiences similar issues. See the Status ReportProvincial Offences Act – Defaulted Fines

    City of Toronto nets $8 million from traffic fines, while traffic cops get $6 million in extra pay (overtime)= City of Toronto nets only $2 million – while it continues to increase parking fines for motorists.

    One motorist who took off to avoid a ticket.

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