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The Fixer: No 10-minute grace period on Etobicoke street where parking enforcement is ruthless

parking tickets

The city supposedly extends a 10-minute grace period to drivers who slightly overstay their parking permits. So why not mercy for those who slightly overstay the midnight limit on non-permit parkers?

For those who doubt the sincerity of Toronto’s 10-minute grace period for overtime parking, here’s further proof it is only an illusion.

A ticket issued at 12:02 a.m. on an Etobicoke street where parking is banned after midnight is surely bloodthirsty and excessive, but doesn’t qualify for the grace period.

We’ve been reporting on the city’s reluctance to inform drivers that a ticket issued within 10 minutes of expiry of paid parking can be cancelled, despite a vote by city council in October to better publicize it.

Kathy Penfold told us via SeeClickFix that the grace period doesn’t apply to overnight parking on residential streets, even for a ticket issued two minutes after the parking ban kicked in.

Penfold said a friend visiting her home on 3rd St., north of Lake Shore Blvd. W., left at about midnight and found a parking ticket on her vehicle, issued at 12:02.

She’s followed our stories about the grace period, approved by city council last July, but can’t understand why it doesn’t cover tickets issued within 10 minutes of the overnight parking prohibition on residential streets.

“I think the actions of the parking officer were predatory, to say the least. I have lived on this street for 21 years and can say that space for permit parking holders is not at a premium, as it may be on some other streets.”

When Penfold tried to get the ticket cancelled under the grace period, she was told to apply for a trial and then fight it in court, adding that it seems like “nothing more than a cash grab.”

“I object to having to take time off work to go to a parking tag operations office to request a trial, rather than submitting a trial option via fax or phone or online.

“If the city can accept payment by these other methods, people should be able to file a dispute by the same means. It’s only fair.”

It looks to us as if the grace period is more fairy tale than fairness.

So far, there’s been zero effort to tell the public about it, and then there’s the two-strike limit: Anyone who applies to have a third ticket cancelled has to go to court.

How many people have been dinged while visiting a friend who lives where there’s no parking after midnight? It’s hard to beef about a ticket issued an hour after the prohibition began, but two minutes?

If the city was sincere, shouldn’t 10 minutes of mercy be extended to tax-paying homeowners and their guests?

Or is it about wringing every last dime out of drivers by using parking tickets as an indirect tax?

City council, which started this ball rolling, should ensure the spirit of the grace period is reflected in its parking policies and extend it to situations where a break would only be fair.

What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To contact us, go to and open the SeeClickFix template, or click on the “submit a problem” link. Call us at 416-869-4823. To read our blog, click on “blogs” at the top of’s home page, or go to Follow us on Twitter at TOStarFixer. – News