Parking Tickets

Parking meter with a white car in the background

Reducing Traffic Congestion Parking Regulations Program

Traffic congestion has a significant impact on residents, businesses and visitors. Recent studies have indicated that congestion costs Toronto commuters several billions of dollars annually in travel delays, vehicle operating costs and accidents. The City of Toronto, in conjunction with the Toronto Police Service, has launched a series of new initiatives to improve traffic flow and compliance with the City's parking regulations. The changes include:

  • Increased fines for unlawful stopping, standing, and parking on rush hour routes
  • Implementation of a fixed fine system for parking offences
  • Ticketing for expired licence plate validation stickers
  • Towing habitual parking ticket offenders when found parked illegally

A $150 fixed fine will apply for stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle in any area with time restricted parking , and for stopping, standing or parking a vehicle in a bicycle lane.

The bylaw and increased fine applies to all streets where posted time restrictions apply. Therefore, even residential streets for example, with school zones that prohibit parking between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. to prevent blocking of school buses and prevent congestion in general for child safety are subject to the increased fine.

Rush hours can be from 6-10 a.m. during morning rush hour and 3-7 p.m. during evening rush hour. In some areas there may be times when daytime rush hour periods may be in effect. Drivers are urged to check signage and park legally at all times.

Fact Sheet

  • On February 6 and 7, 2012, Toronto City Council adopted, with amendments, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee's recommendations regarding item PW11.2: Relieving rush hour congestion due to unlawful stopping, standing, and parking. See Council's approval.
  • With Council approval, the creation of offences for stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle during rush hours and established fixed fines of $150 for such offences, (an increase from the previous set fine of $50 for a no parking offence, and from $60 for no stopping/no standing offences).
  • This approval also created an increase in the fixed fine amount for stopping a vehicle in a bicycle lane at any time to $150 (an increase from the previous $60 fine amount for this type of offence).
  • Council also requested the Chair, Toronto Police Services Board, to develop a coordinated enforcement strategy to augment enforcement protocols with respect to the above rush hour and bicycle lane regulations.
  • Rush hours are defined as the period between 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., but vary by location depending on the relevant by-law and posted hours.
  • The issue of vehicles stopping, standing or parking along major/minor arterial roads with or without public transit routes or bicycle lanes, especially when coupled with increased traffic volumes and rush hour operational conditions that begin earlier in the morning and mid afternoon and extend later into the mid morning and early evening hours, have direct consequences on traffic delays and increased traffic congestion created by motorists who disregard parking regulations.
  • In general, the current parking regulations in effect on the City's major/minor arterial road network, along public transit routes and in bicycle lanes are designed to facilitate the flow of traffic during these peak demand times. However, it is clear that in many instances motorists and delivery vehicle drivers willfully disregard these regulations. Greater compliance with rush hour regulations and bicycle lane regulations can be achieved through a combination of increased fines, directed enforcement patrols and towing to augment the current enforcement protocols.
  • The launch of increased fines for rush hour routes took effect January 23, 2014. The Toronto Police Services will issue tickets under the new rush hour as of January 23, 2014.

No longer in effective as of April 10, 2017.

Habitual offenders are motorists who have three or more parking convictions and/or outstanding parking tickets and more than 120 days have passed since their last qualifying ticket.

Habitual parking ticket offender's vehicles may be towed when found parked illegally on City streets. Vehicle owners are not required to pay their parking tickets to have their vehicle released from the storage pound but will have to pay the established towing and storage fees prior to release (up to $200 plus daily storage of up to $81). Vehicles displaying disability permits are excluded from towing, however they are subject to conventional collection including the use of collection agencies.

Once towed, the Toronto Police Service Communications Centre at 416-808-2222 will direct vehicle owners to the location of their impounded car.

Fact Sheet

  • Under the habitual offender towing initiative, the Toronto Police Service will tow parked vehicles found to be illegally parked where the vehicle owner has three or more unpaid and outstanding parking ticket fines.
  • A "Habitual Offender", for the purposes of this initiative, is defined as follows:
    1. When an offender or license plate has had at least three or more parking tickets issued in the City of Toronto
    2. No payment and/or no trial request has been received by the City of Toronto on any of the three parking tickets. No payment includes failure to pay after conviction.
    3. Where at least 120 days has elapsed from the offence date of the last qualifying ticket on file. All such parking tickets are deemed to be in default.
  • This initiative will improve the collection of defaulted parking ticket fines and will provide a further deterrent to parking illegally, and augments the City of Toronto's existing collection initiatives, including the use of collection agencies and the Provincial Licence Plate Denial System.
  • City bylaws already permit the towing of any vehicle when parked illegally, but vehicles are generally only towed when necessary. Under this initiative, illegally parked vehicles will be towed if the offender's vehicle has three or more unpaid/undisputed tickets and 120 days has passed since the last offence.
  • Each year, the City of Toronto issues approximately 2.6 - 2.7 million parking tickets. Approximately 5% of all offenders fail to act on their parking tickets (either by paying the ticket or lodging a trial request), and the fines remain unpaid.
  • By requiring that at least 120 days has elapsed from the offence date of the last ticket, and that more than three tickets be similarly in default before a vehicle owner can be deemed a habitual offender, the vehicle's licence plate is already at the plate-denial stage, meaning that the licence plate cannot be renewed by the Ministry of Transportation until the outstanding amounts are paid. A licence plate may be in plate-denial status even in advance of the vehicle's licence plate renewal date. In these situations, vehicle owners would have received numerous notifications of the outstanding infractions and convictions for past tickets.
  • The 120 day requirement above also provides a measure of leniency to motorists to ensure that any delay in receiving recent payments is taken into account, so that motorists are not towed after having made a recent payment to clear their status.
  • Offenders who are towed are not required to pay their parking fines in order to have the vehicle released from the impound area. As such, the primary focus of this initiative is to enhance driver compliance on roadways and reduce illegal parking.
  • The handheld ticket-issuing devices used by the Toronto Police Service – Parking Enforcement Unit have the capability to store license plate information on vehicles owned by drivers that have unpaid and outstanding parking ticket fines. As officers conduct enforcement, and where a vehicle is found to be parked illegally and the vehicle meets the "habitual offender" criteria, the vehicle will be towed to a Police compound.
  • A towing initiative for habitual offenders follows best practices adopted by other municipalities where compliance with parking regulations is an issue, or where stepped-up enforcement efforts are required to maintain a clear and unimpeded flow of traffic. Other North American municipalities that have adopted a habitual offender towing program include Mississauga and Vancouver.
  • There is approximately a 30-day reconciliation window until the Ministry reconciles with the City. Park carefully and observe compliance, especially after clearing up any fines in plate denial.

 

 

Tickets will be issued to vehicles displaying an expired licence plate validation sticker. Fines for expired validation stickers will ensure vehicles on the road are safe, insured, have undergone emissions testing, and are registered with the Ministry of Transportation. To renew licence plate validation stickers, vehicle owners are required to clear outstanding parking fees. 

Fact Sheet

  • It is illegal to park a vehicle on City roadways without valid licence plates properly displayed or affixed.
  • The fine for not having a licence plate validation sticker is $40.
  • This fine is  part of the City's traffic and parking strategy to ensure that vehicles parking on City streets are safe, licenced and comply with Ministry of Transportation regulations and acts as a deterrent to illegal parking and leaving abandoned, un-plated or expired plated vehicles on roadways.
  • Two parking tickets may be issued at the same time, if the driver/owner of a vehicle commits both a parking violation and the vehicle has expired plates.

Find answers to your frequently asked questions about the Reducing Traffic Congestion Parking Regulations Program

What is the Reducing Traffic Congestion Parking Regulations Program?

The Reducing Traffic Congestion Parking Regulations Program will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 23, 2014 and is designed to improve traffic flow for passenger vehicles, transit, and commercial vehicles by increasing compliance with Toronto's parking regulations. The key elements of the program are:

  • Increased fines for unlawful stopping, standing, and parking on rush hour routes
  • Implementation of a fixed fine system for parking offences
  • Increased ticketing for expired licence plate sticker offences
  • Towing habitual parking ticket offenders when found parked illegally

How does congestion impact Toronto?

Congestion has a significant impact on residents, businesses and visitors. Recent studies have indicated that congestion costs Toronto commuters billions of dollars annually in travel delays, vehicle operating costs, and accidents.

What else is the City doing to ease congestion?

Along with the Reducing Traffic Congestion Parking Regulation Program, the City of Toronto is implementing a comprehensive congestion management plan that includes numerous initiatives over the next five years.

What happens if a parking ticket recipient is convicted in court and still fails to pay the fine?

If a parking ticket recipient is convicted or pleads guilty in court, they must pay the fine imposed by the Justice of the Peace. If they fail to pay the ticket following conviction, the ticket is forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to undertake plate denial status. This means that the licence plate the ticket was issued to cannot be renewed with the MTO until the outstanding fines are paid. In addition, a further $20 fine is imposed in MTO fees once forwarded for plate denial status. The $20 fee is retained by the Province.

What is the fine for illegally parking on rush hour routes?

A $150 fixed fine applies for stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle during rush hours (6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.), and for stopping, standing or parking a vehicle in a bicycle lane during posted rush hour periods.

What are the defined rush hours?

Rush hours are defined as the period between 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., but may vary by location depending on the relevant by-law and posted hours. There are periods when daytime rush hour periods may be in effect. Drivers are urged to check signage and park legally at all times.

What about couriers? Will the City ticket couriers stopped in rush hour routes?

Yes, any vehicle stopped, standing or parked on a rush hour route during rush hour will be ticketed. We're also taking proactive steps, such as working with couriers to enact courier delivery zones (CDZs), so that viable and effective alternatives to illegal standing, stopping, and parking are available to those need them.

How will this ease congestion on rush hour routes?

Greater compliance with rush hour regulations and bicycle lane regulations allow for improved traffic flow and will be achieved through a combination of increased fines, directed enforcement patrols and towing to augment the current enforcement protocols.

What is the fixed fine system?

Under the fixed fine system, where a trial has been requested for a parking ticket, and the ticket recipient is found guilty or pleads guilty in court, a fixed fine will apply for that offence. The fixed fine amount for an offence is the amount that appears on the face of the ticket.

Why is the City implementing a fixed fine system?

A fixed fine system will help promote the early resolution of parking tickets. Fixed Fines will also establish the principle that the court process can no longer be used to routinely obtain a reduced fine for a parking offence. This will help reduce the number of trials being requested.

By reducing the number of trial requests, residents will be assured of receiving a fair outcome without having to wait months for a trial date. The fixed fine system ensures that adequate court capacity and resources are available to hear parking ticket trials and other more serious provincial offences, and will result in fewer parking ticket disputes.

How will this system reduce parking ticket trials?

Fixed Fines will establish the principle that the court process cannot be used to routinely obtain a reduced fine for a parking offence. This will help reduce the number of trials being requested and provide quicker resolution for those with legitimate parking disputes. It will also make the most efficient use of limited court capacity and court resources that are available for parking ticket trials.

What is the Habitual Offender towing initiative?

The Habitual Offender initiative is a program to deter illegal parking and to encourage payment of outstanding parking fees. Through this initiative, vehicles may be towed if the vehicle is parked illegally and the vehicle owner has three or more outstanding parking tickets for which no action has been taken (no trial request and no payment) and 120 days has elapsed from the last offence date.

Who is an Habitual Offender?

A Habitual Offender is defined as any offender who has three or more outstanding parking tickets for which no action has been taken (no payment, no trial request) and where 120 days has elapsed from the last offence date.

Why is the City implementing Habitual Offender towing?

A towing initiative for habitual offenders follows best practices adopted by other municipalities where compliance with parking regulations is an issue, or where stepped-up enforcement efforts are required to maintain a clear and unimpeded flow of traffic.  Other municipalities that have adopted a habitual offender towing program include Mississauga and Vancouver, and many large American cities such as Dallas, Seattle, and New York.

Is there a grace period or does towing begin immediately on January 23?

Habitual offenders have received multiple notices from the City regarding their outstanding tickets. They have also had ample time to make those payments. However, we will not begin towing habitual offenders until 12:01 a.m. on February 5, 2014. This will allow motorists the opportunity to pay their tickets.

What is a licence plate validation sticker?

A licence plate validation sticker is a small sticker that indicates the month and year of plate renewal. Vehicle owners are required to renew these stickers with the Ministry of Transportation and must attach them to their licence plates.

Why is the City implementing a fine for expired licence plate stickers?

Fines will help to ensure that vehicles parking on City streets are safe, licensed and comply with Ministry of Transportation regulations. It also acts as a deterrent to illegal parking and leaving inoperable, abandoned, un-plated or expired plated vehicles on roads which leads to traffic congestion.