Montreal cancer survivor scrimped and saved just to pay for hospital parking

Do you think hospitals charge too much for parking?

One Montreal cancer survivor thinks so and she says it's appalling to find out from the Journal de Montréal that hospitals raked in about $70M last fiscal year in surpluses from parking fees.

Manon Daneau said she spent upwards of $3000 since Dec. 2016 on parking fees at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital where she had to go for chemo and radiotherapy every week, sometimes a few times a week.

The 46-year-old freelance fashion designer and single mom said that's about a month or so of her salary which had to also pay for medication and supporting her two children, one of whom raised enough money through a GoFundMe campaign to pay for all the parking.

Daneau said for a single mom and freelancer, $3000 is a big chunk of money. She said she had to scrimp and save and was in debt for a while while putting aside other expenses.

Paying for costly monthly parking passes was not an option. Neither was taking public transit, with Daneau exhausted after chemo and facing hours of travelling to and fro, not including the time she had to take off work.

"Almost two hours of travelling there by bus and metro and then almost two hours to go back - that's crazy," said Daneau in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

Daneau, now in remission, said when her earlier radiotherapy sessions were shorter, she used to race in and out of appointments so she could take advantage of the free 30-minute parking spaces.

Daneau said some kind of parking fee is normal but,

"They're so high, it`s absurd."

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette told the Journal de Montréal he admits it's a delicate situation but that the surpluses are "defendable" and go towards hospital foundations to buy equipment or for hospitals to shore up their budgets.

"$70M, I'd like to see where that's going, if it's reinvested in the right place," said Daneau.