Niagara Health – Region’s Amalgamated Hospital System – Offers Temporary Free Parking at All Sites

News from Niagara Health in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – To enhance safety and mitigate the financial burden placed on families during this time, all patients, staff and physicians now have free parking at all Niagara Health sites. This temporary measure will continue until further notice.

Parking fees have been temporarily suspended at all Niagara Health sites, including this hospital in Welland

 The decision to place a moratorium on parking fees:

  •  Will help increase safety at Niagara Health. 
  •  Recognizes the financial hardship that many in the community are facing at this time. 
  •  Supports the dedicated team at Niagara Health who are going above and beyond each day to provide extraordinary patient care during this pandemic.

A moratorium on parking fees will keep patients and visitors from having to obtain a physical parking ticket, avoiding the need to touch screens and buttons at payment kiosks that have been touched by others. This decision also supports physical distancing measures recommended by local, provincial and federal healthcare experts.

Many staff and physicians at Niagara Health pay for parking from their paycheques. Those deductions will no longer take place, consistent with this new policy.

“These are unprecedented times,” says Angela Zangari, Niagara Health Executive Vice President, Finance and Operations. “We are looking at every avenue to support the health and safety of our patients, staff and physicians during the pandemic. This temporary measure will help support safety and reduce some of the financial pressure on our patients and team members.”

A Brief Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

First of all, good for Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals and related health care facilities for deciding to do this proactively, before Ontario’s Ford government, with some push from opposition parties in the province, announced that it was ordering free parking at all hospital sites across the province.

This list of parking fees is what typically greets people who come to visit loved ones sick in hospitals. This would not be necessary if federal and provincial governments in Canada funded our health care services properly

Now I want to say this. 

And I am not blaming Niagara Health or any other hospital system across the province for this, because they have all been charging visitors higher and higher fees to park at hospitals as one more way to make up for the continued cuts senior levels of government, provincial and federal, have been making to health care funding.

It has become disgusting – and all citizens should feel ashamed – to hear story after story in recent years of people with loved ones dying in the hospital having to also worry about the high cost of parking their car, and sometimes even having their car towed away when they are in the hospital, holding a mortally ill loved one’s hand.

This would never be if it weren’t for those, particularly those at higher and the highest income levels, demanding more and more tax cuts which are inevitably going to mean governments making more cuts to vital services.

When we get through this pandemic catastrophe, there are many changes we should make in the way our system of government works, and in the way people are treated, socially and economically.

One of them is that hospital parking should be permanently, not temporarily free, and that those who can afford to pay more taxes, be made to pay them so we can properly fund health care and other vital services.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara at Large

Please watch the following segment from a CBC Marketplace program a few years ago, on the unjust cost to people of parking at hospitals by clicking on the screen below –

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below.

2 responses to “Niagara Health – Region’s Amalgamated Hospital System – Offers Temporary Free Parking at All Sites

  1. This is a kind gesture. Good for NHS.

    Like

  2. Linda McKellar

    I always found it ludicrous that staff had to pay to go to work! It’s not even deductible. Does anyone think workers at GM or other big industries would pay to park? What a joke! I could maybe comprehend a small fee for places like McMaster or Toronto General where they have expensive real estate and needed to build ramps but certainly not in the Peninsula.

    Like

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