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Hospital Parking Rant

Part of dealing with a loved one in hospital, has now become the exorbitant rates that are being charged for the parking at the hospital. Why is it that hospitals are using their parking as a major income source for the Hospital Foundation? Paying at least $10 for a short visit and more than $20 for the day seems normal.

This way to Hospital Parking
This way to Hospital Parking

The Canadian Medical association has commented that the parking fees are actually an impediment to good medical care, and I think I agree with them. CBC Marketplace did an interesting piece on this topic as well, which outlines some of the scarier numbers about folks, cars and hospitals.

I watched my Father-in-law spend an entire year visiting my late Mother-in-law in hospital (a few years back now), and the only reason he didn’t end up paying more than $7000 in parking fees was that someone in the Oncology department got him access to cheaper parking (he still paid a bloody fortune). I know my Father-in-law was not going to stop visiting his sick wife in hospital just because of the parking fees, but it is nuts to drain this kind of money from people with sick loved ones.

I realize that parking for hospitals (in Canada at least) can be an issue since many are in downtown areas, where parking space is at a premium, but why does parking have to be a profit center for Hospitals?

From the CBC Marketplace piece here are some examples of Maximum Parking rates at various hospitals:

From Marketplace

  • Toronto General Hospital: $28
  • Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton: $15-$32
  • Vancouver General Hospital: $19.75
  • Markham-Stouffville Hospital, Markham, Ont: $17
  • Saskatoon City Hospital: $15
  • QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax: $14


All I can say is wow, that is a lot of money to pay out, especially if you need to get to the hospital for treatment.

Feel Free to Comment

    1. Walking or taking public transit can be a huge problem for patients dealing with certain illnesses, disabilities or medical procedures.

  1. I’m in the UK and hospitals charge for parking here but not as much as mentioned in your article. People are always complaining about it. But I think it’s just one of those things – and if you’re truly strapped for cash you can apply for travel benefits

  2. Last week I was accompanying my mother for just a check-up at the hospital in Montreal, and after 20 minutes driving around, I could not find a parking space at any price. I ended up leaving her at the door and telling her that I will keep trying and either she will see me in the waiting room or she will have to take public transit out to her house in the suburbs (not an easy thing, and much, much longer).

    I eventually did find some parking, but it was frustrating to see all the empty spaces reserved for locals with a permit only. They were all off at work during the day, but only in the middle of the night (when their cars are all presumably there) can someone else use those spots.

  3. I agree that the fees are an issue. As a start, I think there should be parking “validation” for one car per patient while receiving treatment at the hospital.

    It gets trickier with parking for visitors. Do you charge the same to someone visiting someone dying in the ICU as to someone coming to visit a Mom and new baby? Greeting the new baby can usually wait (assuming all are healthy). Spending time with someone who is dying cannot.

    Some places counter-argue that visitors should take taxis or public transit, but that is another set of problems. Taxis in many large cities are as expensive or more expensive than parking. Transit is difficult for many with disabilities or age-related problems like walking, balance, standing to wait (many bus stops have no benches, especially at the starting point in the residential areas.)

    Hospitals are seriously underfunded though. I know one major Toronto hospital had to make cuts to orderly and cleaning staff positions to balance their budget because the cost of drugs had increased about 8% but the budget for drugs had only increased 2%. That’s just wrong. Without adequate staffing, cleaning and sanitizing decreases and hospital-related-infection-transmissions increase.

    My sympathies again to you and your family. We’ve been frustrated by many of these issues as well.

  4. If the hospitals need more money then raise taxes. We all pay our share then, which is the way it’s supposed to work. Hospital administrators shouldn’t have a back door route to basically charge a select group of people an additional tax/profit. That’s American. And if we’re going to American style medicine, then gosh darn it I want some guns to shoot too!

  5. When my husband had surgery at a major hospital in Los Angeles, CA, the doctor’s office validated parking tickets at that building, and we were given a free parking voucher at the hospital when he checked in for surgery. Other family members and friends who wanted to visit him did have to pay to park, though. [It appears that employees have to compete with everyone else for the parking spaces.] On his release day I waited until mid morning to go see him and I almost had to day-hike in because all the nearby lots were filled beyond capacity (lots of double parking). Makes me glad to now be living in a small town with a decent hospital and ample free parking!

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