Wednesday’s Video Clip: Enforcement of Child Support in Ontario
In this legal video, we review enforcement in Ontario is done through a provincial government office called the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). The court automatically files all support orders made after July 1, 1987 with the FRO. Separation agreements can also be filed there if they have been filed with the court and then mailed to the FRO.
The parent who is to pay support is told to make all support payments to the FRO. When the FRO receives a payment, it sends a cheque to the parent with custody, or deposits the money directly into that parent’s bank account. It only does this after it has received the money from the paying parent.
The FRO uses different ways to get the payments that are owed. It can:
• get the payments directly from the parent who is supposed to pay support
• have the payments automatically deducted from the parent’s wages or other income (other income includes things like sales commissions, Employment Insurance, Workers’ Compensation, income tax refunds, severance pay, and pensions)
• register a charge (a lien) against the personal property or real estate of a parent who fails to pay the support that he or she owes
• garnish (take money from) the bank account of a parent who fails to pay support
• garnish up to 50% of a joint bank account that he or she has with someone else, or
• make an order against another person who is helping a parent hide or shelter income or assets that should go toward support
The FRO can put more pressure on parents who do not make their support payments by:
• suspending their driver’s licences
• reporting them to the credit bureau so that it will be difficult for them to get loans, or
• canceling their passports.
Once the order or agreement is filed with the FRO, then it is the FRO, not the other parent, that is responsible for any actions taken to enforce it.