She’s doing it again: Meed Ward goes after the free parking city hall staff gets – she says it is a taxable benefit.

By Pepper Parr

February 28, 2014


This one will keep those who think municipal civil servants are getting too much of the good stuff very happy.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, who chairs the Community and Corporate Services Stranding committee that is currently going through the last phase of recommending the current budget for 2014 plans to bring up a new wrinkle – the tax implications of the free parking the city gives its employees and the liability that could create for the city.

Councillor Meed Ward goes after free city hall parking. Wants the tax rules to be applied.

Meed Ward has a Budget Action Request before he committee that asks that free parking show up as a taxable benefit and be part of the T4 tax slips staff get.  There’s a vote getter if there ever was one.

Meed Ward is suggesting the city might be liable should the Canada Revenue Agency do to Burlington what they’ve already done to Kitchener. The CRA has said free parking is a taxable benefit – Kitchener didn’t treat it as such and the government when after them for the money they didn’t collect from their employees for the free parking they had been given.  Kitchener ended up paying thousands of dollars on behalf of employees to correct this.

There’s a vote getter if there ever was one.Meed Ward wants the city to comply with the CRA rules regarding employee parking and sets out the rules:  “Employer-provided parking is usually a taxable benefit for an employee. The amount of the benefit is based on the fair market value (FMV of the parking, minus any amount the employee pays to use the space. You have to include any GST/HST that applies to the value of this benefit.

There are some exceptions to the taxability of parking:

If the employee has a disability, the parking benefit is generally not taxable, see Disability-related employment benefits.

There is no taxable benefit for an employee when both of the following conditions are met:

You provide parking to your employee for business purposes.

Your employee regularly has to use his or her own automobile or one you usually supply to do his or her duties.  Travel between work and home is not considered travel for business purposes.

Scramble parking is still a benefit to the employee, but in the absence of the ability to accurately assign a value to the benefit because of the random or uncertain nature of it, a benefit is not included in income.

Scramble parking is where there are 35 parking spots and 60 employees who want parking.

Should parking for staff in this lot be free? Councillor Meed Ward wants the benefit to be treated as taxable.

Not scramble parking is when there are enough parking spaces for all employees who want a parking space on a daily basis but it is “unassigned parking”, meaning employees are not assigned to a particular parking space.

Meed Ward has been discussing this matter with Roy Male, the Executive Director of Human Resources, Joan Ford, Director of Finance and Jeff Fielding City Manager all who currently have free parking spots.

 The City Manager will be providing wording for a motion at the March 4th budget meeting for staff to review and address downtown employee parking and the taxable benefit status for union and non-unionized city employees, downtown local board employees and members of Council including implementation issues such as required notifications and other related impacts.

Members of city council are assigned free parking spots right outside city hall.  Meed Ward, who doesn’t think the Mayor should be given a car paid for by the city, advised her colleagues some time ago that she would be refunding the value of the free parking she gets.  It should be noted that Meed Ward lives a few blocks from city hall and tends to walk to work most days.

Background links:

Kitchener gets whacked for taxes not paid on staff parking.

Government rules and regulations on free parking: read them and weep.



Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 comments to She’s doing it again: Meed Ward goes after the free parking city hall staff gets – she says it is a taxable benefit.

  • Samantha

    Of course it is a vote getter. It is an election year and she will do anything to remain in power. It is fair to assume that all city staff benefiting from this perk live outside of ward 2 and as such this will not impact her voters.

    On a positive note she is actually voting for something.

  • Dianne King

    Clean up the issue and move on.

    City staff should be taking public transit to work.

  • Chris Ariens

    It’s never good for morale if an employer removes a benefit that has been part of their compensation for decades. However, fundamentally, Marianne has a very good point. If the city were to give workers free transit passes, the value would be taxable. It’s the same with parking.

    My solution would be to add the value of the parking benefit to employees’ salary, and charge full price for parking. That will have the side benefit of encouraging a larger proportion of staff to choose to use transit and alternative transportation, reducing downtown traffic for all residents. It would also be non-punitive for those who have no choice but to drive.

  • jskardzius

    Does not appear that she is going “after” anyone. Seems to me that she wants the city to comply with the CRA. Linkbait headlines are not becoming. Would like to read an article on the influence of banner advertising vs. headline drama requirements.