by Nick Taylor
The courts have now ruled in favour of Municipal Parking Corporation's application to strike down a 2004 City of Toronto By-law Amendment, which effectively created a monopoly over the issuance of parking tickets.
The By-law Amendment stripped private property owners/landlords and their parking enforcement agencies of the right to issue private tickets, leaving owners with little choice but to pay security companies to issue City of Toronto parking tickets, with all revenues going into city coffers and all expenses being borne by property owners/landlords.
Despite allegations of complaints about private parking enforcement practices, the court appeared unimpressed by the City's attempt to justify the By-law Amendment on the basis of "consumer protection". In fact, the Court stated that it was "evident" that the "….By-law Amendment in reality and effect was not passed for the purposes of consumer protection, in spite of its stated objective…".
The legal battle with City of Toronto was lengthy, complex and costly, a fact that may have given the City the confidence to pass the by-law in the face of legal advice that it was illegal. The case involved months of preparation, hundreds of filed documents, weeks of cross-examinations and in court hearings, and a year awaiting a final decision. However Municipal Parking Corporation feels that it was worth the effort. The Court's decision has now restored your rights as a property owner/landlord to select the enforcement method of your choice and to be appropriately compensated for illegal parking on your property.
The by-law amendment and the City's aggressive negative publicity campaign against private ticketing caused many property owners/landlords to ignore the benefits of non by-law enforcement options over the past two years. It is true that many parking enforcement operators using the private ticketing option limit their "services" to slapping notices on illegally parked vehicles and waiting to see if anyone pays, with not very surprising dismal results. However property owners/landlords would be well advised to have a look at the companies that have specialized in non by-law for the past decade. When managed professionally, private ticketing can be an extremely effective means to achieve compliance, at little or no cost to the property owner/landlord.
The companies that funded the challenge to the by-law, Imperial Parking Canada and the Municipal Parking Corporation, develop and operate sophisticated full service programs and technologies which are on par with many municipalities. These programs and systems process tickets, collections and complaints on a cost effective, hands-off basis for owners.
Systems are now also available for issuance of virtual permits by phone or internet, with real time access to information for enforcement personnel. By focusing on convenience of issuance of permits, and collection of private tickets, towing and complaint volumes are reduced and compliance is improved, without the cost of hiring a security company to issue City tickets.