Where It Would Be Advisable To Check More Carefully
If you intend to drive in the downtown areas of the major cities (Toronto, Montreal,
Vancouver), and to attend events at popular venues (e.g. sports arenas, concert halls),
and where disabled parking might be in high demand (e.g. hospitals, shopping centres),
then it would be a good idea to contact the local parking authority to get their advice
on whether your parking permit will be recognized.
For most of the country, we are fortunate in Canada in having a reasonable amount of
parking and if you can travel at non-peak hours in particular, you should have no
For Visitors From The United States
The recognition of the handicapped parking badge from the US is probably covered under a
bilateral agreement, but I was unable to find one (yet). In practice, if your permit looks
like a Canadian one - white on blue, using the international symbol for a wheelchair - the
local authorities are likely to respect it.
This does not mean you should make your own placard! To be official the placard has to
have been issued officially and should appear so.
For Visitors from European Union Countries
The article Disabled Parking Permits in Europe explains that holders of Canadian (and
other) disabled parking permits may use them in the EU.
When the EU adopted this resolution, the various Canadian provinces agreed to implement
it, as the issuance of disabled parking permits is done by the provinces and, in the
north, by the municipalities (not by the territorial governments).
Thus, if you come from anywhere in the EU, bring your parking permit and it should
be honored. There are some differences in the exact rights a blue parking badge gives
you in Canada.
For a description of how Canadian disabled parking permits operate, and a brief note
on how they differ from permits elsewhere, please read this Executive Summary, and
in particular the section on Parking badge policies in Canada.
The typical practice in Canada is that if you have an official blue handicapped parking
badge with the international wheelchair symbol on it, hanging from your vehicle's rear
view mirror, you may park the vehicle in one of the marked, designated handicapped
parking spots. These are usually at the main entrance of the building or site you
As is the case everywhere, the disabled parking spots can be in short supply at peak
hours. If you are concerned, try to research the destination, on the internet or by
phone, before going there.
For Visitors from Elsewhere
The same general advice applies as for the USA. If you have a standard placard, officially
issued, bring it to Canada.