QUEBEC CITY - CAQ Health and Social Services Minister Danielle McCann presented the terms and conditions for capping hospital parking rates, which will come into effect in the spring.

The Francois Legault government had already announced this key commitment during its economic update last Thursday, and, at a news conference at the Université Laval University Hospital Research Centre in Quebec City Sunday morning, Minister McCann announced that the first two hours of parking will become free and the daily maximum will be set between $ 7 and $ 10.

This new fee schedule will apply not only to hospitals but also to CLSCs (Centres locaux de services communautaires), Long-Term Care Homes (CHSLDs) and all other publicly-funded facilities in the network.

In parking lots where the daily rate is already under $7, it will remain unchanged, the minister said.

In order to compensate for the losses of income at the institutions, the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, announced this week investments of $25 million in 2019-2020, $120 million in 2020-2021 and in 2021-2022, $132 million in 2022-2023 and $145 million in 2023-2024.

"We want to lighten the load of users and visitors with today's announcement. We are putting money back into the pockets of the people of Quebec," said McCann. "The cost of parking for people who are sick or their visitors should not be a concern, should not be a barrier to receiving care and services."

The Minister also hopes to help break the isolation of seniors in CHSLDs by allowing them to identify two relatives for whom parking will be completely free during their visits.

A provision has also been made for people requiring regular treatment, such as chemotherapy or dialysis. Those regulars in health care institutions already benefit from special rates, but these will be lowered and harmonized across Quebec.

Currently, a parking day can cost up to $24 in several major Montreal hospitals like the CHUM.

At the CHU de Québec-Université Laval, the daily rate is $ 16.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2019.