CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at 1356.cupe.ca This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Friday, January 04, 2008

UBC Parking faces class-action lawsuit

UBC Parking faces class-action lawsuit

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

I AIN’T PAYING: Daniel Barbour’s unpaid parking ticket led to the $4 million class-action lawsuit. KELLAN HIGGINS PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

by Momoko Price
News Staff

According to UBC’s parking enforcement policies, not paying your parking tickets can have serious consequences, including vehicle impoundment, fine increases and the retraction of university services. But according to the grounds of Daniel Barbour’s newly approved class-action lawsuit against UBC, these consequences aren’t legally enforceable, and haven’t been for the past 16 years.

Last month the BC Supreme Court approved Barbour’s case to go forward and now $4 million, paid in parking fines by some 100,000 people since 1990, may be at stake.

It began on March 26, 2004 as a heated dispute between an angry driver and the man who towed his car. At the time, Barbour said his car had been towed due to five outstanding parking tickets which he knew nothing about. The tickets amounted to about $150 but a further $200 had to be paid to get his car. Barbour claims he was denied the option to appeal the charges against him until after he had paid the fines, a regulation he considered wholly contradictory and unfair.

Barbour was frustrated.

“I realised that their policy doesn’t even say they have to put a notice on your dashboard…and if you want to appeal the fines you could only appeal to the people who charged you in the first place,” he said.

Because the UBC Parking appeals procedure does not involve an impartial arbitrator to resolve challenged cases, Barbour claims UBC is enforcing and defining parking laws unfairly and outside its jurisdiction.

UBC Public Affairs director Scott Macrae contends that UBC is entirely within its right to enforce fines and that they are no different than any other university in BC.

“We’re authorised by legislation to pass these rules regarding traffic through the University Act,” he said. “We’re well within our rights to regulate parking and, as part of that regulation, to give fines to people when they go against the regulations we’ve set up.”

Though he did not wish to comment on the lawsuit itself, Macrae confirmed that the University will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision from last month.

“We believe we have the authority to not only charge for parking, which we do on a non-profit basis, but we also believe we have the right to fine people when they disobey the rules.”

To the contrary, Barbour’s lawyer Sharon Matthews states that the issue is not UBC’s general jurisdiction to “regulate traffic,” but whether or not it can legally define parking offenses and collect fines from contravening parties, actions that require special permission from the legislature, which Matthews says UBC never had.

“UBC says in its policy and regulations that if you have contravened their regulations that you have committed an offense, and a private citizen—which essentially is what UBC is—can’t do that. It can’t go around creating offenses and saying what’s allowed and what’s not.”

While Macrae stressed the fact that parking fines at UBC are meant solely to deter parking violations and not to generate profit, Barbour is convinced the system is set up to make money, and speculates that the reason the issue hasn’t been raised before is because students are penalised most of the time by regulations.

“People don’t do anything about it because most of them are students who don’t know better and when it’s $15 or $40 here or there and they can withhold your marks, it’s not worth it.”

This article was filed on Tuesday, January 9th, 2007 at 12:20 am under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
4 Responses to “UBC Parking faces class-action lawsuit”

1. Flynn Says:
January 26th, 2007 at 4:56 pm

“We believe we have the authority to not only charge for parking, which we do on a non-profit basis, but we also believe we have the right to fine people when they disobey the rules.”

-None profit, you say? I beg to differ. You guys deserve this lawsuit, money grubbers.
2. Dan Matson Says:
January 28th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

I would like to say that as a UBC student, who drives to school quite often, fully support Barbour’s case against UBC. I (and almost all of my student colleagues) believe that UBC has gotten away with too many capital-motivated schemes that don’t benefit the students themselves. Parking is a perfect example. I have been through the exact same situation as Barbour, and I am glad that he has the will and perserverance to go through with this!
3. Michelle Says:
March 15th, 2007 at 8:46 pm

UBC charges parking fines on a non-profit basis? Is there any evidence on where they direct the funds to? Is it given back to the students, whose cost of education increasess every single year?

I totally support Barbour’s case… UBC really has gotten away with way too much for way too long.
4. Primer: Electoral Area A : TheThunderbird.ca Says:
December 5th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

[…] UBC Parking was taken to court in April 2007 by driver Daniel Barbour, who alleged he was denied the chance to appeal five parking tickets before he paid them. His lawsuit against UBC questions whether the University can define parking violations and collect fines - case is currently before the BC Supreme Court. […]

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