Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced Monday that an immediate freeze has been placed on all hospital parking fees in the province.
Multi-day passes are being created, and will offer long-term parking at a reduced cost.
“We believe that parking fees should not be a barrier to accessing health care,” Hoskins said at his press conference at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
The government is responding to criticism that patients and visitors are being gouged when they park their vehicle at one of the many hospitals not easily accessed by public transit.
While the public may be thrilled by this news, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is far from pleased. They’re worried about the impact on hospitals whose budgets are currently frozen.
OHA President Anthony Dale claims that “revenue generated from parking fees is always used for patient care,” as well as research, the purchase of equipment, and daily hospital operations and maintenance. The government has for many years encouraged facilities to generate their own revenue, yet now hospitals are being told to pull back on one of the more lucrative sources of income.
Ontario hospitals earn about $100 million a year from hospital fees.
Hospitals that charge more than $10 a day for parking will have to offer 5, 10 and 30-day passes that provide a 50% discount on rates.
Some hospitals outside of the GTA say that because they don’t charge the same high rates that others do, their patients and visitors won’t see much in a way of savings.