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.
Not a great look from the University Health Network. If you’re telling hospital workers to avoid the TTC, you should stop charging them for parking. Offering a discount — starting April 6! — isn’t enough. https://t.co/NasvOzMpNS pic.twitter.com/Vqe4emh81d— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) March 30, 2020
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 your staff is at risk! Employees who are taking TTC are not safe! You should provide them FREE parking at least,so they can feel safer to go to work! This is serious! #Health #Toronto #Hospitals this is not social distance pic.twitter.com/HpRg2O32ox— KARIM (@karimmusika) March 22, 2020
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.
Pls Toronto offer free parking at downtown hospitals for doctors /nurses / technicians during this crisis . My future SIL is a respiratory tech at PMH and must travel to work on the subway b/c he cannot afford the parking. @brianlilley @fordnation @JohnTory @CityNews @CTVNews— Robyn McDonald (@robynannmcd) March 26, 2020
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.
How about the city of Toronto issue on-street parking passes that let hospital workers park where ever the f___ they want!@bradrossTO— Da Mc (@Da_Mc_) March 30, 2020
UHN told the Star that the concern over parking has been relayed to the "appropriate department of the hospital."
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