1/29/2008Canada: Province Helps Company Issue Illegal Parking Tickets
Personal information handed to private companies allows them to illegally issue parking tickets in Toronto, Canada.
The province of Ontario, Canada is helping a private company illegally issue parking tickets to motorists by revealing sensitive personal information. Even though the Ontario Court of Appeals upheld the city of Toronto's ban on privately issued parking tickets last September, the practice persists. This is so because Ontario's Transportation Ministry has provided ticketing companies with access to databases containing information on motorists that is, in turn, used in heavy-handed collection tactics, a CityNews investigation uncovered.
"Municipal Parking Corporation is authorized by the property owner to act as their agent to enforce the parking regulations," the company's website explains. "Depending on the jurisdiction, MPC's Notices are either invoices for agreed upon parking charges or are demands for compensation for illegal parking under relevant trespass laws."
The company is interested in getting its share of the $80 million Toronto raises annually from parking citations. MPC issues its own tickets which appear similar in every to the official city notices, except that it is printed on white paper and without the city's logo. In 2004, Toronto first attempted to ban what it described in its ordinance as: "the abusive and misleading parking enforcement practices used by private property enforcement agencies and commercial parking lot operators, including the issuance of 'look-alike' parking tags and invoices, the imposition of inflated and unjustified administrative fees or 'fines' and the sanctioning of abusive collection practices." The ban, except as it applied to Impark lots, was only upheld after the Ontario Court of Appeals agreed that the city's measure was designed as "consumer protection."
As a result of the decision, certain parking lots have turned to city enforcement where Toronto collects and keeps the parking ticket revenue. A copy of the appeals court decision is available in a 125k PDF file at the source link below.