“Unethical”: Thousands are demanding free parking at BC hospitals

A petition asking the province of BC to mandate free parking at all of its hospitals has gained considerable momentum.

Thousands have now signed the petition, which is nearing its next goal of 7,500 signatures.

Created by Saye E, the petition was born from a personal experience described as a “harrowing ordeal of a medical emergency.”

“Hospitals are places where people come during their most vulnerable moments — be it due to a personal health crisis or the illness of a loved one. It is not just distressing but also unethical for companies to exploit these moments by charging for parking,” writes the petition creator.

The petition also cites a 2019 report suggesting that hospital parking revenues amounted to nearly $35 million from 2018 to 2019.

“We believe that it is time for change. We call upon the authorities in British Columbia to mandate free parking at all hospital lots across the province by allowing registration of vehicle license plates for individuals utilizing hospital resources.”

Many have reflected on the concerns of the petition creator when signing it.

“The last thing you need when having to go to a hospital is the hassle of paying for parking and worrying whether you’re going to get a ticket or towed if your ‘visit’ is longer than expected,” one person who signed wrote.

“No one should have to pay for parking when out in health crisis, or visiting people in health crisis,” another signer said.

Someone pointed out that taxpayers pay for hospitals and that “it is not okay” for governments to “farm that revenue.”

Another petition signee said that $8 for 39 minutes is ridiculous.

Some folks may remember that pay parking was actually suspended on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, the suspension supported patients and hospital workers, who depended on using their private vehicles to reach their place of work as an alternative to shared modes of transportation, especially public transit.

Parking at hospitals was free between April 1, 2020 and March 4, 2022; and during that time, it’s estimated that the provincial healthcare system experienced $78 million in lost revenue.

Daily Hive has reached out to the Ministry of Health regarding the petition and the frustrations of those who have signed.

With files from Kenneth Chan and Simran Singh