You’ve Got Mail and It’s a Parking Ticket

It’s a sight that no driver wants to see: a bright yellow parking ticket neatly tucked under the windshield wiper.

About 2.8 million parking tickets are issued in Toronto each year, yielding an annual revenue of around $100 million for the city. While 2020 was an exception, with parking tickets decreasing 37% due to the pandemic, drivers still saw 1.4 million in parking fines.

At one time, thousands of tickets were cancelled because the motorist drove away before a municipal law enforcement officer could pass it to the driver. The days of evading a parking ticket in this way, however, are gone. In August 2017, the city changed the rules. Nowadays, if you drive away before the municipal law enforcement officer can place the ticket under the windshield wiper or pass it to you, it will be mailed to the address for which the vehicle is registered.

Similarly, fines can be mailed to drivers who speed in certain neighbourhoods in the city, thanks to automated speed enforcement cameras.

Toronto isn’t the only city in the Greater Toronto Area that mails parking tickets to those who try to drive away. Similar practices exist in Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan, for example.

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Do parking tickets affect your auto insurance premium?

It doesn’t matter if you found the parking ticket on your windshield or in your mailbox; in general, parking tickets do not affect your auto insurance rate.

Nevertheless, parking tickets can be costly. Depending on the infraction, the set fine for parking tickets in Toronto can range in price from $30 to $450. What’s more, if you’re parked illegally during rush hour on specific roads or have three unpaid parking tickets, you increase the odds of your vehicle being towed away and impounded.

On that note, if you parked your vehicle somewhere in Toronto and return to find it’s no longer where you left it, you should call the Toronto Police Service’s non-emergency line at 416-808-2222 to find out where it has been relocated to or impounded. You will need to know what your licence plate number is to locate your vehicle.

In 2018, almost 11,000 parking or stopping violations were issued, and approximately 2,400 vehicles were towed during rush hour on Queen Street in Toronto alone. Many of the drivers whose vehicles were towed likely spent a couple of hundred dollars each to fetch their cars from the impound lot.

Don’t ignore your mail

Although a parking ticket won’t affect your car insurance rate, it’s unwise to ignore paying one. Late penalties and administrative fees will increase the amount of money you owe if you fail to pay a parking ticket. Moreover, you will eventually have to pay up, as you won’t be able to renew your licence plate registration sticker when your birthday rolls around unless you pay the fine.