Ignore Your Parking Ticket (Seriously!)

Out of Province Vehicles

There are no reciprocal agreements between Ontario municipalities and other provinces or U.S. states to deny licence plate renewals for unpaid Ontario parking violations. There are agreements between provinces/states for speeding tickets and other provincial offences that affect your driving record and demerit points. But a municipal parking ticket doesn't affect either.

Ontario municipalities have not entered into agreements with other provinces/states for unpaid municipal parking fines. In fact, many will not even share the vehicle ownership information with municipalities because of privacy protection legislation.

If you do not live in Ontario, they generally will not bother hiring a collection agency to try and go after you for unpaid parking tickets. It's just not cost effective for the city.

If your license plate is registered outside Ontario, you can ignore your Ontario parking ticket. In fact 84% of people visiting from outside of Ontario don't pay their parking ticket. The City of Toronto now places polite reminders instead of parking tickets on out of province vehicles since they cannot collect the parking ticket fines.

Ontario Vehicles - Ignore the Parking Ticket

The Provincial Offences Act recognizes that a parking ticket placed on your windshield may not be there when you return to your vehicle. The wind could have blown the parking ticket away or someone could have taken it. If you do not respond to your parking ticket, in other words, you don't request a trial or pay the fine, there is an assumption that you did not get the parking ticket in the first place. There is no legal way to convict you if you ignore the parking ticket.

This is very different than speeding tickets. If you ignore a speeding ticket, you are considered to have defaulted. They can convict you because there is a default provision under the law. There is no default provision to convict someone for ignoring a parking ticket.

But what if the officer hands you the parking ticket?

There are two ways you can get a parking ticket in Ontario and both are covered under section 15(4) of the Provincial Offences Act. First, the officer can "affix" the parking ticket to your vehicle which usually means placing it under the wiper blade of your windshield. Second, the officer can personally serve you the parking ticket (i.e. hand it to you). If you drive away before he places the parking ticket on your vehicle or hands it to you, that parking ticket is invalid.

If you are not that lucky, it doesn't matter whether the parking ticket is handed to you or placed on your windshield. In either case, once you receive the parking ticket section 17 applies. There is no default mechanism under this section to convict you.

If you ignore your parking ticket section 18 requires the municipality to mail you a Notice of Impending Conviction. This notice which you get in the mail does have a default mechanism to convict you if you don't respond. It is this notice that you must deal with, not the parking ticket. You cannot be convicted for ignoring your parking ticket.

Rental Vehicles

There are pros and cons to ignoring the parking ticket. If you are driving someone else's car or a rental vehicle, then don't ignore the parking ticket. Request a trial within the 15 day limit. Car rental companies charge a hefty fee to forward the Notice of Impending Conviction to you. That fee, unlike the parking ticket, is very hard to fight. (This is one of the reasons why you should never take someone else's parking ticket and place it on your windshield; they may be driving a rental or a car share).

Sometimes when you request a trial the clerk will insist on mailing the trial notice to the rental company, not you. To avoid any fee, some people identify themselves as the vehicle owner when they request a parking ticket trial. If the clerk says the vehicle is registered to a different address, they reply that the company has relocated or that the address they are using is the corporate address or that they are the agent acting for the company. The notice of trial will be mailed to their house and the rental agency will never know about it. As always, you are discouraged from committing anything disreputable!

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