The City of Toronto is closing a loophole in its parking ticket tracking system that allowed drivers with out-of-province plates to avoid having their vehicles towed.

The city has had a long-standing policy of towing drivers with three or more unpaid parking tickets, but up until this point tickets issued to vehicles with out of province plates were tracked but not uploaded to a central database accessed by parking enforcement officers, allowing some drivers to routinely park illegally with no consequences.

That will, however, change immediately with the city beginning to tow habitual offenders at the beginning of February.

“These vehicles have been willfully flouting our laws and selfishly blocking traffic but those days are over,” Mayor John Tory said in announcing the change on Monday. “There will be no more thumbing of the nose at the laws by people with out of province plates because a tow truck will await them if they keep parking where they shouldn’t; just like everybody else.”

The city’s new zero-tolerance policy on out of province vehicles with more than three unpaid tickets comes three weeks after a similar policy was launched for drivers that park illegally during rush hour.

Speaking with reporters, Tory noted that the city issues about 100,000 tickets to out-of-province vehicles every year with the “majority” of them going unpaid.

“We have all seen these vehicles. There are delivery trucks with dozens of tickets piled up under the windshield wipers and blowing away like they are confetti because to those people the tickets don’t matter, at least until now,” he said.

The city has towed 962 vehicles and ticketed about 5,806 others since it began its crackdown on Jan. 4.

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