Parking still pricey at Sick Kids despite subsidy

Ontario policy to lower rates not applicable to GTA hospitals with privately run parking

Parking at the Hospital for Sick Children is becoming too expensive for the Benun family.

Asaph Benun’s youngest son is at Sick Kids with bone marrow cancer. He and his wife trade shifts staying overnight with the six-month-old, and parking at the hospital is draining their pockets. The family has been staying at the hospital since their son’s birth.

“Take 401 days, multiply that by the parking rates and that’s how much we’ve had to pay,” Benun said.

“They say, well, take the subway,” he said. “When your kid is in the bone marrow transplant unit, in isolation, any type of infection is very risky.”

In January, the Ontario government announced a new subsidy for hospital parking, aiming to financially assist families who access chronic care.

Like some other hospitals in the GTA, Sick Kids employs a private parking company, so the new policy doesn’t apply for the Benun family.

Sick Kids is located in the University Avenue cluster of health-care centres, including Princess Margaret and St. Michael’s hospitals.

The area is also surrounded by corporate buildings, making finding parking space difficult — and expensive.

“We need to go back to Sick Kids as an organization and ask them ourselves how are they going to be addressing this new parking policy knowing that they have a outside parking company contracted for the whole area,” said Susan Kucynski of Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer, which is working to cap parking fees.

Attempts to reach the company that operates parking at Sick Kids were unsuccessful.