Claire looks like any other person you walk past on the street. She’s lived in Edmonton most of her life and has raised her family in the city too. What’s different about Claire is that she’s had an accessibility permit for the past 15 years, but has no visible disability.

“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 32 years ago,” says Claire, whose name has been changed to respect her privacy. “The aftermath with that is I have bad osteoporosis, arthritis and my bowels are severely affected. If I ever slipped on ice, I could easily rupture my bowels which would lead to another surgery and a colostomy bag.” Since her diagnosis, Claire has had eight surgeries.

“When my children were young, they knew the drill. Anywhere we would go, like the mall, they would look for the nearest washroom,” she says. “With Crohn’s, when you have to go to the washroom, you should already have been looking for a bathroom because with short bowels I need to park quickly and go.”

It can be hard to forget that all kinds of accessibility needs exist and not all are always visible, such as Claire’s Crohn’s Disease. With winter’s arrival, awareness of accessible parking stalls is important. It can be easy to mistakenly park in an accessibility stall with snow coverage and when in a hurry to make it inside from the cold.

“I use my parking placard the most in the winter, especially at places where I need to run errands, because icy, snowy or wet ground can mean a fall for me and a hospital visit,” Claire says. “I really need to be close to an entrance.”

Did you know?

  • Accessible parking placards are given to citizens who are unable to walk unassisted for more than 50 metres. That’s only 65 steps!
  • Drivers who park in marked parking stalls without a placard will receive a $250 fine, in addition to covering the cost of towing and impound that starts at $120 plus $80 a day in storage fees.
  • It’s illegal to park in a designated accessible parking stall if your placard is expired.
  • If you see a vehicle parked in an accessible stall without a parking placard, a valid placard, or a fake placard, call 311 to report the incident. Have the make, model and licence plate of the vehicle as well as the address location the vehicle is parked.
  • The City of Edmonton has a “no tolerance” policy for vehicles illegally parked in accessible stalls. This means that even if part of a tire or front of a vehicle hangs over into a marked stall it will be ticketed.

This holiday season as public places are extra busy, be aware, show you care, don’t park in an accessibility stall. A safe, accessible, more livable Edmonton for everyone starts with you.

For more information on accessible parking, visit

Accessible parking stalls are for those who can’t walk without assistance for more than 50 metres, and are a necessity rather than a privilege.

Accessible parking stalls are for those who can’t walk without assistance for more than 50 metres, and are a necessity rather than a privilege.


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  1. Sharon Moffatt
    2 years ago

    I require a wider parking spot as I must open my vehicle door all the way to get my brace clad legs in or out. I must then access my walker from a side door or a wheel chair.

    We need more or two types parking spaces. Ones close to entrances and ones that are wider. I often need to park far from entrances using 2 regular spaces to make my own 1 handicapped parking spot. I park right across the line.
    Yes I know how to park and get into small spots but I cannot get back into my van.
    When people park to close to me I must approach a stranger to have then back my van out of the spot so I could get in. This happens often.

    There is also a lot of miss understanding and abuse of the placard due to no brochure or other training given to holders. Driver who are not handicapped should Never park in handicapped spots even when there is a placard in the vehicle.
    Placards should only be used by handicapped drivers, when someone else is driving the handicapped person can
    be dropped at the door and the vehicle parked in a regular spot.
    I also find that holders of placards will park a third car in a 2 spot space. The spots are wider for physically handicapped people who need the extra space for access.

    I could go on but leave it said that I find to many placard holders are uneducated or in onsiderate.

  2. Eileen Mardres
    9 months ago

    Persons with a disability who qualify for a placard frequently need to use designated parking spaces when they are passengers. And the reasons for not just dropping someone off are numerous, but include circumstances such as the person not being able to be left alone or the need to park in order to be able to unload and reload equipment.or parking and assistance may be needed to allow the person to get out of the vehicle.and reach a safe and stable location.


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