Because of the widespread abuse of accessibility spaces, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has tightened the rules that govern eligibility. Effective January 16, 2006 the new Accessible Parking Permit program goes into effect. It will include:
Parking Permit security features that include embedded watermarks, ultraviolet ink and unique codes, all to reduce duplication and allow law enforcement to identify the correct permit holder.
Clearly defined criteria for medical practitioners to determine eligibility. These include:
Cannot walk without the assistance of another person, brace, cane, crutch, a lower limb prosthetic device or similar assistive device, or requires the use of a wheelchair
Suffer from lung disease - forced expiratory volume in one second is less then one litre.
Must carry an oxygen tank(s)
Is severely limited in the ability to walk because of an arthritic, neurological, musculoskeletal or orthopaedic condition
Has visual acuity of 20/200 or worse
The diameter of the field of vision in both eyes is 20 degrees or less.
Is visually impaired and must travel with a sighted person and often with a dog.
Permit processing time to be reduced in half to 4 weeks.
Traveller permits for use at Ontario airports to allow permit holders to take their regular permit with them and access designated parking.
The Government of Ontario issues about 130,000 accessible parking permits each year. In 2004, law enforcement seized about 1,500 permits for misuse across the GTA alone. The fine for misuse of accessible parking permits range from $300 to $5,000. There are currently 500,000 older accessible parking permits in circulation today. As each expires they will be replaced with the new permits.