Toronto hospitals start charging frontline workers for parking again
Frontline health workers are upset they need to pay for parking again.
Last month many hospitals waived parking fees for their staff after healthcare workers voiced concerns over taking public transit during the pandemic.
But as of June 1, Alik Rosenfeld and his wife both noticed that the hospitals which they work at resumed charging for parking.
"I didn't receive any email or communication about why [parking isn't free]," said Rosenfeld, who's a doctor at Toronto Western Hospital.
Toronto Western Hospital, which is part of the University Health Network (UHN), was able to do so because of donations.
"Thanks to the generosity of the donors to our Foundations, UHN was able to provide parking at no cost to our staff for a period of time," Alexa Giorgi, a UHN representative told blogTO in an email.
As for North York General Hospital, where Rosenfeld's wife works, they said they explained they're re-implemented pay parking for staff as part of their reopening strategy.
"Parking fees were temporarily waived for staff, physicians and learners as we worked to tackle COVID-19 during this challenging, unprecedented time at North York General Hospital."
"This gesture was one of several recognition and wellness measures put in place to acknowledge and address the associated stresses health care workers are facing due to the pandemic."
"As we begin to safely reopen services, with COVID-19 as part of our new normal, parking operations have resumed across our sites," said communications officer Andrea Piunno.
Giorgi added that UHN are offering discounted parking for this month.
"For the month of June, staff can purchase a 10 day 50% discounted patient/visitor pass for $127.50, equivalent of $12.75 per day (the regular patient/visitor daily rate is $25.50). This closely aligns with the other hospitals in the area who are offering 50 per cent discounted patient/visitor pass off their daily patient/visitor rate," she said.
Rosenfeld informed blogTO that parking is a bit cheaper at North York General Hospital, costing staff around $8 a day. But even still it adds up and the discounted rates aren't sufficient when people are still being told to avoid public transit.
"It's expensive! From my point of view I expect parking to be covered," argued Rosenfeld, explaining that him and his wife are still avoiding taking the TTC to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
"They had a solution for that and nothing has changed. We're [still] exposed and at higher risk of being infected."
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