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Ford calls new parking ticket rules a 'cash grab'

Mayor Rob Ford says he is looking into how new parking regulations were passed without his knowledge in city council, which would give parking enforcement officers the authority to have a car towed after it accumulated three unpaid parking tickets.

“I’m still figuring out how it got approved and where it got approved in council,” Ford said Monday at city hall. “We’re looking into the reports. I think it was back in October. We’re researching it now.”

The mayor called the new regulations a “cash grab” and said businesses would be the ones hurt the most.

“They’re going after, obviously, the delivery trucks, the couriers,” Ford explained. “They have a job to do. They’ve got to get their product to do the door. Do they inconvenience them? I’m inconvenienced every day. I get stuck behind these but you’ve got to look at the big picture. It’s business. That’s a part of living in a big city.”

Under the new rules, the city will be able to tow your vehicle if you have three undisputed, unpaid tickets on your record and a fourth is being issued. Click here for a map of where cars end up once they’re towed.

Ford said that drivers deserve to be given some written notice when they have accumulated three unpaid tickets.

“Sometimes if I get a parking ticket I’ll shelve it somewhere. I don’t know if I have outstanding parking tickets, a lot of people don’t, and then you find out your car’s towed?” he said.

There will be a 14-day grace period to pay outstanding tickets before that new law kicks in on Thursday — two days after the city announces the changes.

Parking officers will also be able to issue tickets for expired licence plate tags on parked cars. Previously, police pulled cars over to issue that fine.

And tickets for parking on busy streets during rush hour will more than double to a $150 fixed fine, meaning a judge can’t discount a disputed fine. The old charge was $60.

Ford said the city needs to collect the $3 million it’s owed in outstanding parking fines and that he will be moving a motion at city council to collect it.

“I hate getting parking tickets. We all hate getting, but we have to pay them. We can’t write off $3 million,” he said. “We have to collect that money. I’m going to move (a motion) that we do go out and collect it.”

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee, will announce the new rules, dubbed City of Toronto’s Reducing Traffic Congestion Parking Regulations Program, at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

With files from Toronto Staff