Parking Enforcement in Toronto

Who is responsible for parking enforcement and the collection of parking fines in the City of Toronto?

The Toronto Police Services (TPS), through its Parking Enforcement Unit, is responsible for parking enforcement in the City of Toronto.  The Revenue Services Division (on behalf of the City of Toronto) is responsible for the processing and collection of fines for all parking tickets issued within the jurisdiction of the City of Toronto.

Who actually issues these tickets?

Tickets are issued by three (3) types of officers (all under the auspices of the Toronto Police Services):

  1. Parking Enforcement Officers (known as Green Hornets).
    There are 304 Green Hornets working in Toronto and they are
    paid an annual salary between $48,500.18 – $52,918.27
  2. Municipal Law Enforcement Officers (MLEO’s) – these are
    independent private agencies whose staff are trained and
    certified by the Toronto Police Services.  These agencies are
    required to obtain a license from the City of Toronto’s
    Municipal Licensing & Standards division.  Some examples
    of these agencies include the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC),
    Toronto Parking Authority, etc.  There are approximately 2,500
    MLEO’s working for 115 agencies.
  3. There are 5,510 Toronto Police Officers and a first class
    constable makes a base salary between of $75,865 to $82,695 annually. In 2008 one (1) Toronto Police Officer working in the traffic division, earned about $ 161,892.35 after factoring in lots of overtime and court duty.  This earned him the bragging rights of being the eighth (8th) highest paid police officer of the Toronto Police Services. See story. In addition to their salaries, paid-duty is very lucrative and pays $65.00 an hour.

The breakdown of the number of tickets issued by these three types of officers in 2006 & 2007 is as follows:

1.Parking Enforcement Officers (Green Hornets)$2,582,581.00$2,566,383.00
2.Municipal Law Enforcement Officers (MLEOs)$268,672.00$246,783.00
3.Police Officers$19,707.00$15,834.00

Why does the City of Toronto and other cities in Ontario issue so many tickets for various parking by-law violations?

The City will tell you that the fines, associated with the alleged parking by-law violations, are there to help ensure smooth traffic flow and to serve as a deterrent to those who ignore the by-laws.  You will never be told that without the revenue generated by the fines related to traffic, some Cities in Ontario would have to operate with a deficit budget.

In the City of Toronto, approximately 2.8 million tickets (and growing) are issued each year and the City collects the fines associated with almost 82 % of all tickets issued, representing annual revenues of approximately $80 Million.

If a Green Hornet observes your vehicle illegally parked and you don’t come back to your vehicle quickly enough, they will provide you with up to three (3) tickets for remaining in the same spot, followed by a 24 hour notice.

Which ticket fines increased dramatically in March 2008?

1. Parking in a Disabled Parking Zone, increased from $150.00  to a whopping $ 450.00

2. Parking near a Fire Hydrant,  increased from $30.00 to $100.00 (this is offence #15- park within 3 metres or   9.8424 feet of any Fire Hydrant)

3. Parking in a Fire Route, increased from $75.00 or $100.00 to $250.00

In August 2004, Premier McGuinty announced that he was giving the green light to municipalities and cities to begin to install the red-light camera systems at interesections and to ticket those motorists who were picked up on the camera system and then to maintain the associated revenues from those red-light camera convictions.

The City of Toronto have been talking of expanding their red light camera systems located at intersections to 98 cameras by the end of 2009 and increasing the fine to $ 500.00 from $ 180.00 for any vehicle travelling through a red light at an intersection.(see story)  As the law currently reads, it is the owner of the vehicle who will receive the ticket/fine and not the driver of the vehicle, unless the driver is also the owner (see section 144, sub-section 18 of the Highway Traffic Act). The owner of the vehicle receives no demerit points for this red light camera offence.

Do individuals who have “Diplomatic Immunity” ever have to pay for any ticket for any offence? 

Diplomatic Licence Plate - Front Plate

No.  These individuals, whose motor vehicle normally sports a red licence plate (with red background and white letters & numbers) referred to as a “diplomatic licence plate”, simply submit all of their tickets to the:

Office of International Relations and Protocol- Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, 900 Bay Street, 10th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M7A 2E1, who in turn make the tickets “go away”.

Various countries have different policies and procedures surrounding the issuance of traffic tickets to diplomatic missions and the vehicles used to transport those representatives from the different countries involved. See United Nations’ Committee on Relations with Host Country communique.

Update: February 5, 2010: An auditor’s report has revealed that as of December 2008, City of Toronto books showed about $103 million in unpaid fines.

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