Rules for Handicap Parking in Toronto

By Irene Lang
Cars bearing a handicapped parking permit in Toronto receive special treatment.

handicapped sign image by sonya etchison from Fotolia.com

Handicapped parking permits, also known as accessible parking permits, are available to Toronto residents who are either permanently or temporarily disabled. These permits, issued for up to five years and up to 12 months, respectively, require specific levels of disability to obtain and have rules of usage attached as well. The permits are free of charge and you do not need to have a driver's license or own a vehicle to obtain one.

Eligibility Criteria for Handicapped Parking

If you are confined to a wheelchair or unable to walk without assistance you should be eligible to obtain an accessible parking permit in Toronto. Anyone with impaired vision (20/200 acuity or less) or who requires oxygen or has limited lung capacity should also meet the criteria for handicapped access parking. Advanced cardiovascular disease is another condition that qualifies individuals for a parking permit, under Toronto law. If you think you are eligible for an accessible parking permit, you will need to be certified by a medical practitioner who is recognized by the Accessible Parking Permit program.

Use of Handicapped Parking Permits

Permits are issued to individuals, rather than vehicles, so that someone transporting a handicapped individual will have the parking benefits transferred to their vehicle. In all cases, the permit must be displayed on the visor or dashboard so that it is easily visible. Aside from areas posted as handicapped parking locations, a vehicle transporting a permit-holder may park in areas where parking is prohibited, although some locations, such as rush hour routes are still off limits. On streets designated as "permit parking" areas, exempt drivers may park at any time. When parking is for a limited amount of time, such as one hour parking, permit-holders may park for any length of time and do not need to abide by the time restrictions. Those with handicapped permits are also not required to pay at parking meters or other on-street pay parking machines.

Where Handicapped Parking Permits Are Not Valid

While those with handicapped exemption permits have benefits not available to other drivers, there are areas in which the permit will not exempt the driver from a ticket and fine. Specifically, permit-holders may not park in emergency, fire or snow routes, or on a bridge. Parking too close to a fire hydrant, driveway or intersection is also prohibited, as is parking in a "no standing or stopping" area, in a taxi area, or a loading zone. In general, if you have an accessible parking permit, you are still required to abide by safe driving and parking regulations.

About the Author

Based in coastal Maine, Irene Lang has more than 20 years of experience as a professional business writer. With an M.B.A. from Rutgers University, Lang’s writing has primarily been in the fields of marketing, health care and travel. Her work has been published online at various websites.

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