The City of Cambridge’s parking regulations help ensure that pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers can travel safely and efficiently throughout the City. This is achieved through various strategies including enforcement, visibility, public awareness, and education programs. Parking Enforcement officers patrol the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

 Administrative Penalty System (APS)

The City of Cambridge’s Administrative Penalty System (APS)​ is an approach to dealing with by-law infractions, in a manner that is fair, effective, and efficient. This approach has been adopted by numerous municipalities, the province and the federal government and is designed to streamline the enforcement process and increase compliance with the City of Cambridge’s by-laws.

The APS program of enforcement transfers parking and other by-law disputes from the courtroom to the municipality through the use of independent Screening and Hearing Review Officers who are able to modify, cancel, or affirm penalties. This approach aids in reducing congestion in the courts as well as providing a more local and accessible dispute resolution system. The APS program simplifies the process of resolving penalty notices (tickets) and provides staff with increased discretion to resolve penalty notices, decrease wait times and improve the customer’s experience.

Starting on March 27, 2024 – The APS program will apply to parking and non-parking tickets now referred to as a penalty notice. All tickets issued Prior to March 27, 2024, will continue to proceed under the Provincial Offences Act through the court system.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Getting a Penalty Notice (Ticket)
Tickets are issued when there is a violation of a municipal by-law. A parking ticket can be served by:
  • Attaching it to the vehicle at the time of the violation.
  • Being handed to the operator of the vehicle at the time of the violation.
  • Being handed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
  • Being sent by mail to the registered owner of the vehicle.

A non-parking by-law ticket (e.g., Licensing, Lot Maintenance, Noise) can be served:

  • In person.
  • By mail.
  • By fax.
  • By email.

You have two options when you are issued a penalty notice.

Under the new APS program, Officers will issue a Penalty Notice to a vehicle or person that is in violation of a City by-law. The notice will present two options:

  1. Pay the ticket within 15 days for parking violations and 30 days for non-parking by-law violations
  2. Request a meeting with a Screening Officer to dispute the notice. You have 15 days for parking violations and 30 days for non-parking by-law violations to do this from when the notice was issued. 

If you are disputing your penalty notice, you must book a screening review appointment. Failure to appear for a scheduled screening will result in a $25 “Non-Appearance Fee” in accordance with Schedule “C” of the Administrative Penalty By-law.

What happens if I don't do anything with my ticket?

If you do not respond to a ticket by the due date (by paying the penalty or scheduling an initial screening meeting), you automatically waive your right to a review and you will be held responsible for paying the penalty.

Failure to respond also results in additional administrative fees. The fees are used to offset the costs of processing penalties.

 

Administrative fees for processing parking penalty notices

  • After 15 days, a $12 Ministry of Transportation (MTO) search fee applies.
  • After 45 days, an $25 late payment fee applies.
  • After 105 days, a $25 MTO plate denial fee applies.
  • A $25 screening no-show fee applies for failing to appear at a scheduled initial screening.
  • A $50 hearing no-show fee applies for failing to appear at a scheduled hearing.
  • A $12 fee applies for service by mail.

Administrative fees for processing non-parking by-law penalty notices

  • After 30 days, a $50 late payment fee applies.
  • A $25 screening no-show fee applies for failing to appear at a scheduled initial screening.
  • A $50 hearing no-show fee applies for failing to appear at a scheduled hearing.

Outstanding tickets sent to MTO, collections or tax roll cannot be appealed or disputed. Although the MTO no longer requires vehicle owners to obtain annual validation stickers. Vehicle owners are still responsible for renewing their vehicle plate online and paying outstanding penalties, fines, and fees.

How do I prepare for a screening review meeting?

Screening review meetings take place on pre-determined dates as outlined in the online scheduler. Screening appointments are conducted virtually, over the phone, or via email and occur between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday. Each penalty notice will be afforded a 10–15-minute appointment. Penalty Notice screenings cannot be scheduled for the same day that a penalty notice is received.

 

Please Note:

  • Failing to appear for a scheduled Screening will result in the Penalty Notice being affirmed and the addition of a $25 administrative non-appearance fee will be added to the penalty Notice.
  • The City of Cambridge does not provide language interpreters, should you require one, you will be responsible for providing your own.
  • If you attend a screening review and are not the registered owner you must complete the authorization to act as an agent form, signed by the registered owner.
  • Alternate formats, communication supports, and accommodations are available. For more information, please contact Yesenia Torres, Accessibility Coordinator at accessibility@cambridge.ca or 519-623-1340 Ext. 4292.

 

Screening review procedure

The screening officer will review all the documents and evidence with you before making a decision and may:

  1. Cancel the penalty notice, including any administrative fees
  2. Confirm the penalty notice, including any administrative fees
  3. Reduce the amount owed, including any administrative fees
  4. Extend time for payment of the penalty notice, including any administrative fees

The Screening Officer will discuss their decision with you at the end of their review or provide the decision by mail/email.

Failure to pay the amount set out in the screening decision within 15 days of the due date will be subject to additional administration fees.

If you are not satisfied with the screening review decision, you can request a hearing review at the conclusion of the screening review.

How do I prepare for a hearing review meeting?

To request a hearing review, you must have completed a screening review as outlined above in the screening review procedure. You must submit a hearing review request form within 15 days of receiving the screening decision. Once you have completed the form the City will confirm the date and time of your hearing review through email or mail.

You may request an extension of time if 15 days have passed, and extenuating circumstances exist. This process is outlined in the hearing request form.

If you are attending the hearing review and are not the registered owner/accused you must complete the authorization to act as an agent form, signed by the registered owner/accused.

Please have legible copies available of any documents you intend to rely on and use as evidence related to the penalty notice. For example:

  • Photographs
  • Condominium letter/lease
  • Accessible parking permit
  • A witness

If you wish to receive the City’s documents related to your penalty notice which may include officer's notes or photos, please complete a request for disclosure form at least 10 days prior to your scheduled hearing review date.

Officers are not required to be present at the hearing review and may rely on certified evidence as set out in the Administrative Penalty By-law. Hearing review appointments may be audio and video recorded for review purposes only.

Please email the City at bylaw@cambridge.ca if you require an accessible accommodation to attend your screening.

Failure to appear for a scheduled hearing will result in a $50 Non-Appearance Fee in accordance with Schedule “C” of the by-law.

Hearings are to take place over zoom by way of video conference or telephone call. Please email the City at accessibility@cambridge.ca or call 519-623-1340 Ext. 4292 if you require an accessible accommodation to attend your screening so that arrangements can be made.

 

Hearing review procedure

Hearing reviews may take place virtually or in person at City Hall. The hearing officer is not bound by the decision of the screening officer. The decision of the hearing officer is final and is not appealable. 

Please bring to the Hearing legible copies of all documentation you intend to rely on during the Hearing for the Hearing Officer and the other parties.

Below is the general steps taken at a hearing meeting:

  1. Meeting called to order and the Hearing officer shares opening remarks.
  2. The Hearing Officer will ask the accused what they would like reviewed.
  3. The City will present information pertaining to the file and be able to call witnesses if required
    • The accused and hearing officer will have an opportunity to ask questions of any witnesses 
  4. The accused will present information pertaining to the file and be able to call witnesses if required.
    • The City and the hearing officer will have an opportunity to ask questions of any witnesses
  5. Closing statements

 

The Hearing officer will review all the documents and evidence before making a decision and may:

  1. Cancel the penalty notice, including any administrative fees
  2. Confirm the penalty notice, including any administrative fees
  3. Modify the amount owed, including any administrative fees
  4. Extend time for payment of the penalty notice, including any administrative fees

 

Please Note:

  • Failure to pay the amount set out in the screening decision within 15 days of the due date will be subject to additional administration fees.
  • The City of Cambridge does not provide language interpreters, should you require one, you will be responsible for providing your own.
  • If you fail to appear on the date and time of your hearing review, you will be charged an administration fee of $50
  • Please arrive five to 10 minutes before your scheduled hearing time. You will be placed in a virtual waiting room until your matter is called. Please be prepared for the hearing review process, including wait times, to take up to two hours.

The hearing will be held before a hearing officer. The City will be asked to present its case first, after which you can present any evidence. Witnesses will be required to give evidence under oath or to affirm their evidence. 

What if I need to reschedule or cancel my screening or hearing meeting?

You can request to reschedule a hearing by providing written notice in person or via email no later than three business days in advance of the hearing. Please send emails to bylaw@cambridge.ca or provide notice in person to:

City of Cambridge Municipal By-law Compliance
50 Dickson Street,
Cambridge, ON, N1R 5W8

If you change your mind and decide to pay the penalty notice up to the day prior to the hearing, as a courtesy please email bylaw@cambridge.ca so that your hearing can be cancelled. Please include your penalty notice number, name, and address. 

Why did the City of Cambridge move to the new APS program?

The use of the APS program has become a common practice amongst numerous municipalities, the province, the federal government, and in other jurisdictions around the world. In Ontario, the use of municipal APS is legislated under the Municipal Act, 2001​​.

This measure was introduced to help the overburdened courts by streamlining the process and allowing municipalities to manage by-law matters. Cambridge City Council first adopted the use of APS on July 18, 2023.

 

How is the new APS program better?

Resolving parking and other by-law infractions could potentially take months in the congested court system. The new APS program helps to speed up the process by resolving parking and other by-law infraction matters in weeks while maintaining an individual’s right to request a review of their Penalty Notice (ticket).

The APS Program is more effective because:

  • Citizens can resolve parking and other by-law matters in a more convenient and citizen-friendly environment;
  • The City is more capable in dealing with these infractions in a timely manner;
  • Citizens may request an extension of time in which to request a review by a Screening or Hearing Review Officer;
  • Citizens may request an extension of time to pay a penalty from a Screening or Hearing Review Officer;
  • It reduces congestion in provincial courts; and,
  • Better use of court time and other resources for more serious matters – the APS Program allows the over-burdened provincial courts to address more serious matters such as Highway Traffic Act offences.​
General parking rules

The following list identifies general parking rules that are applicable to all city streets. On-street signage is not required for enforcement.

No person shall park a motor vehicle on a City street:

  • For more than 3 consecutive hours*
  • Between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. from January 1 to March 15 on all streets
  • Between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. in a downtown core area or on a regional road on any day of the year
  • On or overhanging any curb, boulevard, sidewalk or multi-use trail
  • Facing the wrong way
  • More than 15 cm from the curb
  • Within 3 m of a fire hydrant
  • Within 15 m of a railway crossing
  • Within 9 m of an intersection
  • Within 15 m of an intersection controlled by traffic control signals or a roundabout
  • Within 1 m of a driveway
  • Within 15 m on either side of a bus stop
  • Within a bike lane
  • If the motor vehicle is a truck weighing more than 4,500 kg
  • If the motor vehicle is a trailer more than 10 m in length
  • If the motor vehicle is unlicensed
  • During a snow event

 * As of July 2019 a 2 hour grace period on top of the 3 hour limit is in effect for City street and time limits will only be enforced between 6am and midnight. These enforcement modifications do not apply to Regional roads.

 

View the Traffic & Parking By-law for additional regulations.

Paying or disputing a parking ticket

If your vehicle is found disobeying any of our parking by-laws, you may be issued a parking infraction notice (ticket) and your vehicle may be towed at your own expense.

Learn about paying or challenging parking tickets.

Parking enforcement

We enforce parking regulations 24 hours a day. We process complaints about parking violations Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Report a parking violation during regular business hours by calling (519) 623-1340 ext. 7907.

Email us to report non-urgent parking violations.

If you observe a parking violation that creates an immediate safety hazard outside of regular business hours, contact Waterloo Regional Police Service at (519) 570-9777.

Learn about our new parking enforcement technology that scans licence plates. 

Parking permits

Daytime and residential parking permits are available for the City's downtown core areas.

For accessible parking permits visit Service Ontario.

Parking exemptions

On-street parking in Cambridge is only permitted for up to three hours at a time. You can request an exemption to this restriction for a maximum of 15 days per licence plate, per calendar year. As of July 2019, a 2 hour grace period on top of the 3 hour limit is in effect for City streets and time limits will only be enforced between 6am and midnight. These enforcement modifications do not apply to Regional roads.

 

We only grant on-street parking exemptions for the 5 hour timed parking limit and for overnight parking between January 1 - March 15, all other parking restrictions still apply. We don't provide on-street parking exemptions in the downtown core areas where there is a two-hour or less parking limit. Instead, you can buy temporary parking permits for these spaces.

 

We cancel all exemptions during snow events.

 

To request a free parking exemption permit please create an account on our online parking exemption portal to submit your request.

 

Residents who have questions about eligibility, or who need assistance with the online parking exemption permit portal, can contact Municipal By-law Compliance (Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) at 519-623-1340 extension 7907 or by email at bylaw@cambridge.ca.

Parking in downtown core areas

In general there is free 2-hour parking in Cambridge's three downtown core areas. Residents can park for more than 2 hours in paid parking lots or by parking in areas around the downtown cores with 3-hour on-street parking or 12-hour free lots. Parking in the downtown core areas is not permitted from 2:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Visit the Downtown Parking page for additional information and resources.

On-street parking standards

To improve traffic operations, emergency response times and emergency access, the City has undertaken the proactive implementation of parking standards on priority streets.

Engineering Standards require a minimum road width of 10 m to support on-street parking on both sides of a road and a minimum of 8 m to support on-street parking on one side of the road. 

There are three phases for proactive implementation of these standards, with Phase 1 currently underway. View the following maps of the implementation phases:

  • Phase 1 (primary emergency response routes)
  • Phase 2 (secondary emergency response routes)
  • Phase 3 (collector and arterial roads)
  • Phase 4 will cover all remaining streets.
Can parking be removed from my street?
If restricted parking is planned for your street in a later phase of the implementation process or your street isn't scheduled for proactive implementation, email us your concerns about restricted parking on your street.
Which side of the road will have restricted parking?
We select which side of the road will have restricted parking based on maintaining the largest amount of parking space, while still protecting sightlines. For streets that are to be restricted on one side of the road, existing poles will be used where possible to limit the number of new posts required.
My street has very little traffic, shouldn't it be treated differently?
The Engineering Standards guide new development and do not allow for parking on streets less than 8 m wide, which (if implemented) would result in the removal of most on-street parking in the City's historic neighbourhoods. To balance traffic movement and parking the City adopted the On-Street Parking Standards Exemption Policy, which allows parking to be maintained on one side of existing streets with a road width greater than 6 m and traffic volumes below 500 vehicles per day.
Can I challenge the implementation of parking restrictions?

Residents have a 30-day window to submit an appeal from the time notification is sent of the upcoming restriction.

Residential Parking Programs (Boulevard, 24h, Cul-de-sac)

Residents may request changes to the parking regulations on their street through our three parking programs:

  • Lower Driveway Boulevard Parking (LDBP), permits residents to park vehicles on the paved or concrete portion of their driveway between the curb and sidewalk
  • Extended On-Street Parking (PE3), permits residents to park on-street for a maximum of 24 hours
  • Cul-de-sac Centre Parking (CCP), allows residents to park in the centre of a cul-de-sac bulb outside of the winter months

Residents can apply for these programs on a street-by-street basis and require the support of the majority of homeowners on the affected street. The roadway must also meet minimum geometric standards.

 

The application process includes the following steps:

1. Previous approval check

Your street may already be a part of one or more parking programs. 

View the map in full screen.

Check our current list of Registered Residential Parking Programs to confirm. If a program has been approved for your street, review one of the following program fact sheets for rules and conditions.

2. Application area

Applications are street specific and should include the full length of the street.

If you live on a long street and feel that the full length of the street exceeds the limits of your neighbourhood, email our parking operations staff or call (519) 740-4680 ext. 4502 to discuss an application for a shorter section of your street. Only extremely long roadways would be considered for smaller application areas between major intersections.

3. Eligibility

Check the rules and conditions for the program(s) you wish to apply for to ensure that your street meets the criteria.

Only City of Cambridge streets are eligible for Residential Parking Programs.  Regional Roads and streets in new developments that have yet to be assumed are not eligible.

4. Petition

To apply for a Residential Parking Program, we require a parking petition identifying majority support of all property owners with frontage on the requested street in the application area. This includes corner lots where the driveway is on an intersecting street.

Petitioning during a pandemic - the requirement for physical signatures on petitions has been suspended to facilitate physical distancing.  The petition coordinator is responsible to read the Petition Statement to "signees", outline the program and receive consent before filling in the residents full name, address and phone number.  If going door-to-door please wear a mask and stand back from the door after knocking, alternatively use the handout templates below as a no contact option to collect required information.

Lower Driveway Boulevard Parking Handout

Extended On-Street Parking Handout

 5. Official questionnaire
Once we process a successful petition, we mail a questionnaire to the property owners to confirm their support of the parking program. This step confirms that residents understand the conditions of the program they are supporting and provides an opportunity to identify any of their concerns.
 6. Implementation
If there's sufficient support identified through the official questionnaire and the road meets the geometrical requirements, the parking program(s) will be implemented. A notice will be sent to residents confirming the start date for the program.

 

Winter parking

To reduce the impact of on-street parking on winter maintenance activities the City has two parking restrictions specific to winter parking.

Snow events

Parking is prohibited on any City street at any time (day or night) when the City of Cambridge declares a snow event. Vehicles parked on-street during a snow event can be ticketed and possibly towed. 

Snow events are not limited to certain months.

Declaring a snow event

Snow Events are in effect only when posted on the City website as such. Not all snowfalls that result in plowing warrant a snow event.

Staff will give as much notice as possible of an impending snow event, attempting to make the declaration no later than 4 p.m. on the subject day whenever possible, providing time for the media outlets to broadcast the information on their 6 p.m. newscasts.

Snow Events remain in effect until the posted end time or until a cancellation is issued.

See the Snow Event Declarations page for event status and subscribe for warnings, declarations and cancellations directly to your inbox.

Snow event enforcement 

Enforcement will done proactively overnight and in conjunction with clearing operations during the day. Vehicles will not be tagged and/or towed based on calls from the public. The fine amount for parking on-street during a snow event is $80.

Towing will only occur to the degree necessary to allow the snow clearing equipment access to the street to perform required duties. As such, it is possible that some cars will be towed from a street while others are not, even though all the cars are in violation of the by-law. Vehicle owners are responsible for all fees associated with towing in addition to the fine amount.

Late night parking prohibition

Between January 1 and March 15, parking is not permitted on-street from 2:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. citywide. On-street parking is still permitted after 6 a.m. and before 2:30 am for up to three hours (unless otherwise posted) so long as a snow event is not in effect.

Idling rules

There are "no idling zones" in the city of Cambridge. Our Anti-Idling By-law enforces these zones at school sites and City Hall. Amendments to the by-law now include zones in the parking lots and adjacent streets of the following areas:

  • All Cambridge schools (public and Catholic school boards)
  • The "City Hall No Idling Zone" around buildings, adjacent streets and parking lots associated with City Hall
  • City-owned arenas, libraries, pools, seniors' centres and parks

The idling limit is one minute. The fine for violating the Anti-idling By-law is $40.

View our Anti-Idling Brochure for more information.

 School Zones
Parking in school areas

Dropping off and picking students up in school areas can cause a lot of extra traffic congestion. Illegally stopped or parked cars are a safety risk as they make it hard for other drivers to see pedestrians, particularly children, crossing the street. For these reasons, streets around our schools have “No Stopping” and “No Parking” signs installed.

Please learn the difference between No Stopping and No Parking and help keep our school areas safe for children.

To help reduce the number of cars on the road in your school area, students are encouraged to consider other active ways to get to school such as a bike riding or walking. These alternatives not only promote physical activity but help reduce pollution and traffic congestion, and increase safety around the school. Please visit the Region of Waterloo’s website for information on the Active and Safe Routes to School initiative.

Parking in School Zones chart