As the City of Ottawa looks to take over responsibility for parking ticket disputes next year, one councillor wants to look at a sliding scale of penalties that would give low-income drivers a break.

Capital ward Coun. Shawn Menard is asking city staff to examine options, like gearing fines to the driver’s income or the value of their vehicle.

“The person that drives the Ferrari and parks at Lansdowne, they may be much more able to afford a parking ticket or may even take that on just knowing they might get a parking ticket there, than someone who’s going to a protest for basic income,” he said.

“We’ve had people in our office very upset and crying about going to a basic income protest and getting a ticket there. Their ability to pay was much less than that person in the Ferrari.”

He made the proposal just after council’s finance and corporate services committee voted in favour of a new penalty system that would take parking ticket challenges out of the courts.

City staff said the current system is “jammed up,” and replacing justices of the peace with council-appointed adjudicators will mean faster disputes for residents. Menard also saw it as a chance to experiment.

He said the sliding-scale model is already used for speeding infractions in Finland. While basing fines on income could require co-operation with federal bodies, like the Canada Revenue Agency, Menard thinks there might be alternatives.

“There’s other proxies, the blue book values of vehicles for example, that could be looked into,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking staff to explore the options.”

    • skozzii
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      2 months ago

      Yep, this or income.

      A prime example is the show the “grand tour”. There was an episode in the nordic countries, and these guys race cars around and speed everywhere, except when they hit Finland where tickets are based off income, and they drove like angels and explained it was so they didn’t end up with 6 figure speeding tickets.

      It works and is fair.

    • Obi@sopuli.xyz
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      2 months ago

      Yeah many countries already do that, what a strange idea to tie it to the vehicle’s price.

    • foofiepie@lemmy.world
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      2 months ago

      Completely agree. Rich folks in our area would just buy a banger and park wherever they want, if tied to vehicle value.

  • psvrh
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    2 months ago

    Penalties geared to net worth (for individuals) or gross revenue (for corporations) are a great idea. Otherwise, compliance, or failure, is just a cost of doing business.

  • BedSharkPalOP
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    2 months ago

    I’m all for it. It’s not perfect, but it’s an improvement.

  • lemmefixdat4u@lemmy.world
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    2 months ago

    We’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out how much an hour of a person’s time is worth. Fines should be based in hours. You can pay based on what an hour of your time is worth, or you can do community service for the number of hours adjudicated. That’s fair.

    • MuchPineapples@lemmy.world
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      2 months ago

      The problem of course with these kind of schemes is illegal income. Plenty of people who drive expensive bmw’s while having only a basic income on paper.

      Maybe they do both, and then choose whichever is higher (car-based or income-based fine).

    • BedSharkPalOP
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      2 months ago

      I wish parking fees and permits were based on size. It’s crazy that a tiny car pays the same amount to park on street vs an F150

      • ted@sh.itjust.works
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        2 months ago

        I agree wholeheartedly. I have an inside joke with my wife that amounts to “backyard chickens are illegal within city limits yet F150s are allowed to roam the streets downtown.”

    • Sabre363@sh.itjust.works
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      2 months ago

      The problem is the more economical cars are the more expensive cars with the r&d money to make them efficient

  • AutoTL;DR@lemmings.worldB
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    2 months ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    He made the proposal just after council’s finance and corporate services committee voted in favour of a new penalty system that would take parking ticket challenges out of the courts.

    City staff said the current system is “jammed up,” and replacing justices of the peace with council-appointed adjudicators will mean faster disputes for residents.

    While basing fines on income could require co-operation with federal bodies, like the Canada Revenue Agency, Menard thinks there might be alternatives.

    If drivers still aren’t satisfied, they could take the matter in person or virtually to a hearing officer, who would be appointed directly by council and meant to be independent of the city bureaucracy.

    Jeff Leiper wondered whether there would be any “guardrails” to prevent council from directing a hearing officer to cancel tickets for political reasons.

    A city lawyer said his preliminary view is that council would potentially run afoul of conflict of interest policies if it intervened in the work of independent adjudicators.


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