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Toronto considers moving parking disputes out of courts

The City of Toronto is considering a new program, which would move at least minor parking disputes from the courtroom to a municipal office.

Under the Administrative Monetary Penalty program (AMP), screening officers would handle the cases, which are currently under the purview of justices of the peace.

“There’s a number of duties that a justice of the peace undertakes; there’s space limitations within the courts; so by removing the dispute process out of the formal court system you have a model where you could potentially introduce more offices to dispute tickets and just overall better service delivery more efficiently,” said Toronto’s manager of parking operations Anthony Fabrizi.

Though the idea has fans — Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean has called the system a “no brainer” — some fear it could violate the charter right to a fair trial.

“Who’s the hearing officer paid by? It’s paid by the city,” said municipal lawyer John Mascarin.

“Who’s to say the hearing officer won’t have a quota — get so many fines, so many monetary admin penalties in? So there could be certainly an apprehension of bias.”

Fabrizi said the city’s legal staff is “looking at those avenues” and won’t rush into the process.

Officials hope to have a policy in place within two years.

The system was adopted in Brampton in June and has been in place in Vaughan for five years and in Oshawa for six.

Click here for the City of Toronto’s current parking regulations.