Hospital workers call on Ford government to offer free parking for employees

A petition calling on the Ford government to offer free parking for hospital staff has garnered over 2,000 signatures from healthcare workers.

Initially launched by Health Sciences North staff in Sudbury, Ont., the petition has broadened its scope to advocate for free parking for workers in all hospitals throughout the province.

Currently, nurses pay $8 a day to park at the hospitals where they work.

“They pay $8 a day to go to work, for a lot of workers they find that disrespectful,” said NDP health critic France Gélinas.

“You’re trying to recruit, you’re trying to retain staff, you could make a tangible step by not charging for parking.”

CityNews asked Minister of Health Sylvia Jones if she would support this move, but she stated that hospitals do their own assessments on where they need to invest.

“I haven’t looked specifically at parking fees, we have hospitals that do their own assessments on where they need to make investments, where they need to recoup,” said Jones.

Gélinas says hospitals are charging for parking because they’re not getting enough funding from the government, stating it helps pay for some of the care that is delivered.

“Would they be getting enough resources to provide that care, they would not have to charge parking,” said Gélinas.

In the petition, workers state there are growing concerns over the financial burden faced by healthcare workers, especially amid the rising cost of living.

“Access to free parking should not be a privilege limited to certain hospitals but a right afforded to all healthcare workers across the province,” says the petition in a recent update. 

“It is unfair to expect our nurses, doctors, and support staff to pay for parking while they work long hours to care for the community.”

The petition also states “that providing free parking can help hospitals attract and retain top talent in a competitive job market, ultimately benefiting the hospital.”

Some supporters who have signed the petition say they pay up to $15 a day to park at their hospitals and are concerned about the rising prices while the healthcare sector is also facing a shortage of workers.

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