hospital parking toronto

Toronto healthcare workers are still paying for parking at local hospitals

It's come as a surprise to many in Toronto to discover that even during a pandemic, frontline healthcare workers are still expected to pay for parking like any of us regular folk.

The Toronto Star reported that University Health Network (UHN)—which includes healthcare workers from five major Toronto medical institutions—initiated an anonymous feedback forum for employees to address issues and concerns they were facing with during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers raised questions like why they need to come into work if their job can be done from home, and how they were expected to take public transit despite trying to self-isolate and limit unnecessary contact.

UHN tried to address the issue of taking public transit by encouraging staff "to get a ride from a family member or to drive themselves into work," which led to the issue of parking fees where it was revealed that frontline workers are still expected to pay upwards of $127.50 for a 10-day staff pass.

Upon discovering this, many expressed outrage that frontline healthcare workers risking their life on a daily basis were facing financial challenges just trying to come into work.

According to the Star's report, one question laid out the concerns clearly: "Can there be free parking for staff? How are we expected to be able to afford these ‘discounted parking rates?’ … Are we supposed to take the subway and not practice social distancing?"

UHN says that it's planning to provide a discount on passes, reducing the cost to $100 beginning on April 6, and lower evening and weekend rate from $8 to $6, but many are saying that's not enough and it should be free.

Seattle has already ensured that healthcare workers can park near hospitals for free.

But it appears Canadian cities are more reluctant, like in British Columbia where workers have reportedly been getting slapped with parking tickets and where a petition demanding they receive free parking has sprung up.

UHN told the Star that the concern over parking has been relayed to the "appropriate department of the hospital."

Lead photo by

Sunnybrook


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