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Councillor wants Ottawa to explore sliding scale for parking ticket fines based on income, vehicle value

An Ottawa councillor is asking the city to explore imposing fines for parking tickets based on the driver’s income or the value of the vehicle.

With the city of Ottawa moving to a new system for dealing with parking tickets and red light and photo radar camera infractions, Coun. Shawn Menard wants the city to look at a “sliding scale for parking fines that is geared to income, or other potential proxies for ability to pay.”

In a motion for the finance and corporate services committee, Menard says a fine hurts some motorists more than others.

“For the luxury car illegally parked near Lansdowne, a parking fine might just be the price they are willing to pay to attend an event, for others, a parking ticket fine could be the difference between them being able to afford their grocery bill at the end of the month,” Menard said.

“Other jurisdictions have addressed this inherent inequality through introducing a system of fines geared to income.”

Menard notes Finland has implemented a sliding-scale model for speeding tickets that is based on the offender’s disposable income.

On Tuesday, councillors voted to implement a new administrative penalty system for adjudicating parking and camera-based offences.

When Menard asked about a sliding scale for parking ticket fines, staff said they would need some time to explore the possibility of a new penalty system for parking tickets.

Ottawa Bylaw officers issued 298,918 parking tickets in 2023.  A report for the emergency and protective services committee shows officers issued 37,652 tickets for parking in excess of posted time limits and 35,378 tickets for illegally parking on private property.

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