The right to park has suddenly become a human rights issue. A Canadian woman claims her human rights have been violated through discrimination by the City of Ottawa which refused her application to build a parking pad in front of her house.
New Edinburgh resident Pamela Howson, a mother of three, has brought her case before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in Ottawa. TheOttawa Citizen reported that Howson argues "that the city discriminated against her on the grounds of family status by not letting her build a parking pad in front of her house." Zoning bylaws prevent on street parking as Howson's home is situated in a heritage preservation district.
Howson's shared driveway is too narrow to allow access to a rear parking space for her 2.25-metre-wide Mazda 5 car, leaving her to park illegally on the front lawn. Howson says that the city's refusal to allow a parking pad "constitutes discrimination on the grounds of family status. We have a legal parking spot we cannot access due to the circumstances of our family."
The city responded by stating that Howson never actually applied to the committee of adjustment as advised, a body that reviews issues regarding zoning laws. Instead she bypassed the bureaucracy and took the case to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, which the National Post revealed happened to be Howson's former employer. Howson was previously employed as an investigator for the Tribunal.
The case is costing the taxpayer thousands of dollars and brings the Commission for Human Rights into the spotlight for the way trivial cases are abusing the intended function.