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Thornhill MPP Takes on Accessible Parking Issue

Private member’s bill to create provincial taskforce passes second reading Thornhill Liberal
By Simone Joseph

Thornhill MPP Gila Martow came one step closer to helping people who use handicapped parking earlier this month.

On May 5, she promoted and debated her private member’s bill, Bill 187: Commission of Inquiry into Accessible Parking in Municipalities Act, 2016, in the Ontario Legislature and it passed second reading.

It aims to create a taskforce of municipal representatives and stakeholders to agree upon a streamlined approach to accessible parking regulations.

“People have enough challenges. They shouldn’t carry a stack of papers with different rules from different municipalities,” Martow said.

All accessibility groups should discuss with municipalities how they can streamline the rules for accessible parking or clearly post the rules, Martow said.

She emphasized the importance of getting children involved.

“Teach children it is not right to use a permit when grandma is not right in the car. We have to get through to the kids,” she said.

Following one of Martow’s Facebook posts on the topic, Toronto resident Dave Slotnick posted this comment: “I do have a disabled permit, my concern is not enough parking spots allocated at certain businesses!”

Martow agrees there is a need for more spots.

“We need to get through to developers and politicians they are not giving enough spots,” Martow said.

“Handicap parking rules are inconsistent across the province and accessible parking permit fraud is an ongoing problem. Thousands of residents who struggle with mobility issues should not have to deal with the additional burdens of complex rules, inconsistent regulations and fraudsters,” Martow said.

Over the past few months, Martow’s bill has gained support from a number of Ontarians who deal with accessible parking issues on a daily basis. Many helped shed light on the challenges faced with conflicting rules and the improper use of parking permits, she said.

“We need to sit down all the accessibility groups and have discussions with municipalities on how best to streamline and, where possible, have the same rules,” added Martow. “It shouldn’t be that the rules south of Steeles or north of Steeles are so vastly different. Accessible parking needs to be accessible!”

After passing second reading with support from all three political parties, the bill was referred to the Justice Policy Committee for further review.

If the act is passed, within 60 days, the Ontario premier would recommend that a commission be appointed.

This commission will: research and report on the system of accessible parking; develop standard bylaws for municipalities to adopt, creating a system of accessible parking for persons with a disability that is both economically feasible and fair to the interests of people with a disability. The commission would make recommendations aimed at encouraging municipalities to adopt the bylaws and enforce them.

The commission would be tasked to begin its inquiry within 60 days after being appointed and must make an interim report in six months and a final report in 12 months.

Simone Joseph is a reporter with the Thornhill Liberal. She can be reached at . Follow her on Twitter and York Reg
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