Ottawa, Ontario – Impending changes to the federal government’s parking policy will affect workers with disabilities, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). The union said that the new policy will create a barrier that will make it more difficult for such workers to access their workplaces.

By July 1, 2010, most federal government employees will be required to pay market rates to park in any government-owned buildings and lots. PSAC said that while the policy will cause financial hardship for many public sector workers, it will have a particularly harsh impact on people with certain disabilities who are not able to access other forms of transportation and have no choice other than driving and parking their cars.

Currently, most people with disabilities do not have to pay for parking, but costs will skyrocket when the new market rate is introduced, reaching as high as more than $300 per month in some cases.

“All government departments have an obligation to accommodate workers with disabilities,” said John Gordon, national president of PSAC. “We believe that people with disabilities who require designated parking should not be charged a fee for their parking.”

The union is also concerned that Public Works and Government Services Canada is looking to privatize government lots by transferring revenues to third-party companies, which it said will drive up the costs for all workers and will make it more difficult to ensure reasonable accommodation for workers with disabilities.

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