A cancer patient in St. John's refused to pay his parking bill at the Health Sciences Centre Wednesday, and while he didn't get a ticket, he is hoping that he may finally get his day in court.
Tom Badcock went for a medical appointment at Newfoundland and Labrador's largest hospital, which on Tuesday instituted a new parking system where people pay at a booth when they leave. He refused to pay, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was called.
The RNC officer who responded said she had no jurisdiction to write him a ticket. Badcock said he would take the issue to court, and urged others not to pay as well.
Charging for hospital parking wrong, says patient
Badcock has been waging a one-man war against having to pay for parking at hospitals, saying that free access to health care is enshrined in Canada's Health Act.
"It's patently, morally, ethically wrong to charge people to see their doctors," said Badcock.
"Especially people who can't afford it. There are people who have to be here five days a week paying $8, $10 a day to see their doctor, and they can't afford it, and that's wrong."
An official at Eastern Health, which oversees the Health Sciences Centre, said the board has no information to indicate it is in contravention of the Canada Health Act by charging to park at some of its facilities in St. John’s.
CMA Journal advocates free hospital parking
The Canadian Medical Association Journal published an editorial on Nov. 28, 2011, which said that hospital parking fees should be abolished, claiming that they contradict the principle of Canada's universal health-care system.
Badcock has refused to pay for parking at the hospital before, but Eastern Health has so far balked at challenging him in court.