We are writing to protest the recent increase in parking rates at the Hospital for Sick Children ("Sick Kids"). Specifically on behalf of families of children with cancer at the Hematology/Oncology Department, we are petitioning the hospital to immediately reduce the parent rate (which has increased from $16/day to $20/day), and to conduct a review of parking rates and its impact.
As you may or may not know, a diagnosis of childhood cancer is devastating and impacts families in many ways; over and above the fear and anxiety a diagnosis can cause, one of the most pressing concerns a family faces is finances. Due to available treatment options, length of protocol, etc. many families are faced with the loss of one or both incomes as parents or guardians are needed to stay with their child...either in hospital or at home. This loss of income is devastating and creates severe financial constraints on the family with some even needing to use food banks or even contemplate bankruptcy. This is exacerbated in families of a single parent nature. For some, the need to work to provide some level of income support outweighs their need to stay with their child resulting in many using their personal transportation each day to go to work while returning each evening to be with their child.
With any of these realities outlined above, increasing parking rates for access to treatment appointments or to stay on site with their child as an in-patient is having a detrimental effect on our families. Financial constraints coupled with ever increasing costs are not a sustainable situation for families when their primary focus should be on supporting each other and the child affected by cancer. Over the past few weeks alone we have received numerous complaints from families receiving treatment at Sick Kids asking for our help in bringing their concerns to the hospitals attention and ultimately, this petition that you are currently reading.
As there are no financial supports available to offset the cost of parking, we urge you to consider the effect that these ongoing increases are having on families and ask that parent rates be reduced immediately and that a review of parking rates and its impact be done across the hospital. While we can only speak on behalf of those families affected by cancer, we are sure that these concerns are echoed throughout all areas of the hospital where families are required to travel to…or stay for longer term durations as part of their child’s treatment option.