No break yet on QEH parking fees

Dave Stewart
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Garth Mahar staffs the QEH parking toll booth.

Health P.E.I. is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the federal government’s promise to remove the tax on hospital parking.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is the only hospital in the province that charges a fee for parking.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promised recently that government will stop charging GST or HST on the parking fees.

Last week, Flaherty announced measures to amend the Excise Tax Act to eliminate the HST and GST on hospital parking for visitors and patients. Although the finance minister said the changes were effective immediately, and was quoted as saying government wants to give Canadians a break on the cost of hospital parking, Health P.E.I. is saying that isn’t exactly the case, at least not yet.

Denise Lewis Fleming, executive director of financial services and sustainability for Health P.E.I., said it’s still just at the proposal stage.

“When we actually dug into it he’s proposing legislative changes. He hasn’t actually said that they will be passed. It’s open for community consultation until the end of February,’’ Lewis Fleming told The Guardian on Tuesday.

“Once we see confirmation that the proposed changes are coming into place then we would make a decision on what would be happening to the parking rates.’’

Health P.E.I. is concerned that such a change would reduce the money that supplements its annual health care funding. It pulls in between $350,000 and $400,000 each year from parking fees at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Lewis Fleming says that money goes right back into funding health care services.

The parking rates haven’t changed at the QEH for years. People who park for 30 minutes or less still get out free.

Health P.E.I. also did not add the HST onto the parking fees when it came into effect in April 2013 so those who park there are still paying only GST and not an additional nine per cent.

“Health P.E.I. has been bearing the burden of that extra cost. It would be great to redirect what we’re bearing now into services for Islanders.’’

Health P.E.I. is remitting that extra nine per cent to the federal government on its own, and that runs about $50,000 annually so if Flaherty follows through on his promise that money would flow back into the health care services, Lewis Fleming said.

“Every dollar counts.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Islanders

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Recent comments

  • w kennedy
    February 02, 2014 - 03:06

    Sort of like the side shows that let you in free then charge to let you out? Not much motivation for quick service. Very "sick" to charge parking at a hospital.

  • anne
    January 29, 2014 - 21:14

    when i go to my check-ups at the QE2 in Halifax from the time i go into hospital & leave it usually costs me between $15.00-$20.00 that would be for 2hrs.so $1.50 isn"t so bad is it!!if you are going to be visiting for an extended period of time you get a wk long pass for 20.00 or 30..00 $$besides it helps to pay for upkeep of the parking lot. if it was full of pot holes you would be complaining about that as well..why do you think we should not be paying,just because S'Side has free parking, correct me if i'am wrong, but,i do not think there lot is as big..forgot to say i go to HFX twice a yr,parking,plus the cost of getting there it cost me around $150.00 return..

  • Fed up
    January 29, 2014 - 13:49

    Why making fuss about the FEDERAL tax....what about the PROVINCIAL tax....which is more than DOUBLE!! Front page news but never against the Ghiz government

    • MOE
      January 29, 2014 - 15:47

      Short and true .

  • don
    January 29, 2014 - 13:41

    just wait till they have you pay for parking in the out patients area. then they will charge ems for parking in the ambulance area.

  • charge the staff too
    January 29, 2014 - 07:41

    If the public has to pay for parking on that property, all staff should have to pay too, at EXACTLY THE SAME RATE.

  • charge the staff too
    January 29, 2014 - 07:40

    If the public has to pay for parking on that property, all staff should have to pay too, at EXACTLY THE SAME RATE.

  • upwest proud
    January 29, 2014 - 06:56

    the last line is so stupid, Health PEI is submitting the 9 % on its own, who get the 9%, it is the province, it is Health PEI. Do they give it to themselves?

    • betty begg
      January 29, 2014 - 18:07

      Parked at 6:45 today for sergury and got out about 12:30 and had to pay $7.00 ....you should not have to pay .....

  • Mad as Hell
    January 29, 2014 - 05:32

    What's the fine for parking on the road? If it's cheaper that's what I'm going to do