Close to Three Billion Dollars Owed

Statistics Canada is reporting that arrears of child and spousal support owing in Canada totals $2.7 billion. This data is compiled from the provincial agencies that provide a free collection service for parents/spouses who receive child or spousal support.

How does it work? A person in British Columbia (and all other provinces in Canada) who has a court order or an agreement which specifies that support will be paid can register their order or agreement with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP). This provincial government agency then notifies the payor of support to pay their support directly to FMEP where the sum is processed and delivered to the intended recipient.

Based on the enormous sum owing to Canadian recipients, one has to query the success rate of these support collection agencies. If the agencies are doing their job, why is the support owing in Canada so high? The answer is very simple. The process of enforcing and collecting support is straightforward if the payor is employed by a business and receives a T-4 setting out the income earned. The legislation that empowers support collection agencies provides that if the payor fails to pay support as required, the agency can garnish the payor’s wages directly from the payor’s employee.

But more and more Canadians are self-employed in small business or work in situations where income is received in cash or through barter, making it difficult to seize the unpaid support. In these cases, FMEP will seize income tax or GST refunds, if they are available.

Other remedies available to FMEP often result in compliance from payors. Egregious offenders can lose their driver’s licenses and other federal licenses. For some payors the ultimate penalty is losing their passport.

I know of a situation where a parent is stranded on a Caribbean Island unable to leave the country because their Canadian passport has been seized as a result of support arrears.

Why do payors fail to pay support? There are many reasons. Sometimes it is because a parent is denied contact with their child and withdraws support in protest. Other times it is men or women who insist they will never pay support to their ex out of bitterness over the marriage breakdown. Frequently, these situations include a spouse who has left the marriage because of adultery, but is still eligible for spousal support based on Canada’s no-fault system.

Still others lose their job, are demoted or laid off and have no financial resources to go back to court to have their support order decreased on the basis of a significant change in their income, through no fault of their own. Another factor may be the increase in the amount of support that is payable based on recent adjustments to the Child Support Guidelines which more accurately calculate the real costs of raising children. The introduction of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines has also increased the amount of spousal support paid in Canada.

Men and women who have financial resources who refuse to pay support deserve the consequences flowing from their conduct, which can include jail time. Persons who have a change in their income due to health problems or the economy should not be penalized.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang


17 thoughts on “Close to Three Billion Dollars Owed

    1. i cannot believe it, the fmep can cancel my passport ??? how does this go over the canadian charter of rights and freedoms section “6” refering to canadian citizen’s right to enter and leave canada ???

  1. Taxpayer funded government child support collection is a miserable failure that actually creates more deadbeat and dead broke parents.

    In California, when the State began to suspend drivers licenses, child support arrears skyrocketed.

    In 2002 California had nearly $18 billion in unpaid child support arrears up from $2.5 billion in 1992. (U.S. DHHS). 2003).

    Child support = bureaucrat support. Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent on this witch hunt.

    The real cost of child support services to society.

  2. While it is clearly wrong for those who are bound by child or sposal support orders to fail to comply with those orders the remedy against non-compliance should not not involve the state except in cases where the state has stepped in to provide financial support because of the non-compliance. I agree that a defaulter’s assets should be seized to be applied against the unpaid child or sposal support. However,a driver’s licence or a passport is not such an asset. A driver’s licence may well be needed for an individual to earn income which can be used to pay the child or sposal support. A pass port is international proof of citizenship and should not be subject to seizure or suspension in a process that has nothing to do with citizenship. Also, I was not aware that jail was a remedy in Canada for failure to pay child or spousal support,unless jail is imposed through the backdoor as a judicial penalty for not complying with a court order(i.e. to pay support). It may be trite to say it,but two wrongs(or several) do not make a right.

  3. Unbelievable! LawDIVA it is, then? You would likely know, then, what s.91(26) of the Constitution of Canada (1867) says about marriage and divorce.

    I’m sure you can reconcile that sad fact with how the provinces of Canada are making it up to their welfare rolls by legislating “Family Law”, as if it had nothing to do with “marriage and divorce”!

    Perhaps as a lawyer, then, you can tell your readers how the legal jurisdiction “parens patraie”, the only legal jurisdiction of Britain EVER to claim the authority to dispose of other people’s children, NO LONGER has as its first ‘Rule of Law’:
    “The father is the owner of the child, against the world, as against the mother.”?

    If, as a lawyer, you now want to claim that “modern” law “civilizes” the practice of law, as it is known to have been practiced for the previous 500 years, would you kindly explain to we readers how this “modern” law of yours is not a violation of the FATHER’s Constitutionally guaranteed rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ss. 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 28, and 32 of our Canadian Constitution (1982).

    You are probably unfamiliar with the practice results of this pretextual practice of law. My audit of BC “Family Law” records indicate that 90% (9 times out of 10), the MOTHER is, by ‘courts’, awarded SOLE CUSTODY of the children of their father, and how and why he is robbed of his children and forced to pay ransom if he is even allowed to see them.

    Perhaps you can also explain to such court victimized children why THEY can’t have a Daddy like other kids do?

    1. David Let me address each of your comments and queries:

      1. The Family Relations Act does not deal with marriage or divorce. It covers child support, spousal support, custody and division of property. The Divorce Act is the only legislation that covers divorce and the Marriage Act governs marriage. Your suggestion of a constitutional argument is misconceived.

      2. The Courts still retain their parens patriae authority but the legislatures, both provincial and federal have enacted laws respecting children which judges are bound to follow. If there is no statutory law, then judges can utilize their parens patriae jurisdiction. It is rarely invoked because it is not needed.

      3. Father’s rights with respect to children is a misnomer. It is the child’s right to have a relationship with each of his/her parents, except where a court rules otherwise or limits one parent’s contact with a child on the basis of the “best interests of the child”.

      4. The Charter of Rights only applies to the actions of government. It does not apply to private matters. The Supreme Court of Canada decided many years ago that the Charter does not apply in the area of family law.

      5. Your statistics on the award of sole custody to mothers has no basis in reality. For at least the last 10 to 12 years joint custody or joint guardianship is usually ordered in British Columbia. It is very rare for a judge in BC to make an order of sole custody in favour of either parent, unless the non-custodial parent is unfit to parent, usually because of a debilitating addiction, a molester or abuser of children, or a severely mentally ill parent.

      6. If a court order limits or eliminates contact between child and father, a father can appeal the order. The test applied is “what is in the best interests of the child”?

      Best regards,


      1. your paragraph “4” as far as i know the courts are part of government and the canadian charter applies here too. you are also wrong with the courts awarding equal custody to both parents. in almost all cases those filthy feminist swines who have been appointed to judges always award custody to the mother and bleed the father to death financially. charter rights with respect to equality, section 15, are routinely violated by these pigs.

      2. If all of the replies etc. are supposed to be in the best interests of the child / children maybe the parents that contradict the court orders or agreements can be punished (sic) the same way parents that do not pay support are. Usually it is the mothers that put the child support collection to agencies and the fathers have no recourse except the costly one. I do know fathers that would be more than happy to pay the support if the mothers would be penalized if they do not live up to court orders. Stop the mothers from renewing drivers licences / passports, etc and stop them from receiving refunds etc. as well.

  4. I am wondering if you can answer a couple of questions for me. Why is it ok to order ‘one’ parent to pay support but the non-paying parent is not under the same obligations? In other words, the non-paying parent can make as much money as they want WITHOUT having to give it to their children. If both parents are working decent jobs, why aren’t both incomes taken into account? I know both incomes are considered for extracirricular activities but that is the only time.

    It is absurd to order ‘one’ parent to pay support for a child until they are 25 (if going to school or special needs) but the non-paying parent is not under the same obligation. In fact, is this not un-constitutional? How on earth can the courts deem it acceptable to order a parent to pay for a child until the age of 25 unless they go into every home in this country of ours and order ALL parents to do the same?? How is that constitutional let alone fair??

  5. Are you people, individually and collectively, INSANE?

    The common law Rule of Law regarding child custody is this: “The child is the property of the father, against the world, as against the mother”. The reason the COMMON LAW constrained the liberty of judges to act upon children according to their whims was that our forefathers were only too well aware of the inclination of a portion of the population (necessarily including judges) to abuse children.

    Seriously. What do you think the parable of the “Wisdom of Solomon” chopping the baby in half was all about? The true mother would rather relinquish her claim to her child rather than mutilate it.

    This was the experience of our forefathers from 4k years of the human experience, as far as civilization is aware. From the present and past century it is claimed that humans are possessed of “genes” that determine their physical makeup. A father is without doubt the one and only author of 50% of the child’s DNA. That DNA is the EXCLUSIVE property of the father.

    The notion that a child does not NEED THEIR FATHER is yet another “legal” fiction. It is was and will forever be innately unlawful to steal children from their fathers.

    What world of perverts (and yes, there is an answer to this question) do you come from that purports to THINK that it is lawful to steal a child from its father, and then BLACKMAIL that victim because of their theft of the father’s child, as if it were NOT kidnapping and blackmail extortion?

  6. I always find it interesting that one talks about paying and providing for the children from the perspective of the non custodial parent.

    It is important and critical that each parent be responsible and required to be financially responsible for their children…but this is never the case.

    One only has to look at the numbers in respect to single custodial mothers and full time employment versus part time employment to realize one seems to suggest they are entitled to a free ride…then look at the custodial fathers and their higher employment rate and greater rate of full time employment.

    This will be 10yrs…primary or full time custody…never seen a dime from the ex wife as she does not she it as her responsibility…but then she has a house…i have a house….she has her electrical bills…I have my electrical bills…why should she be assisting me in paying for my bills?

    Why not review and start requiring both parties to be financially responsible for their own household and leave the cs to things directly benefiting the children…

    But then I never was very good holding out my hand asking others to give me something i did not earn myself.

    But the 16,000 in costs that went into their mouth….that would have been nice to have help with….but then the majority of custodial fathers are in that same situation…doing it without help and without asking for it…
    You are probably unfamiliar with the practice results of this pretextual practice of law. My audit of BC “Family Law” records indicate that 90% (9 times out of 10), the MOTHER is, by ‘courts’, awarded SOLE CUSTODY of the children of their father, and how and why he is robbed of his children and forced to pay ransom if he is even allowed to see them.[/quote]

    5. Your statistics on the award of sole custody to mothers has no basis in reality. For at least the last 10 to 12 years joint custody or joint guardianship is usually ordered in British Columbia.[/quote]

    Diva….why not talk about what joint custody means….every other weekend with a voice in all important issues in respect to how the children is raised…with all day to day decisions falling to the cusodial or primary parent…

    You have joint custody but in reality you have nothing….

    I have had primary parenting for over 9yrs…i have decided basically everything in respect to the schooling and after school situations and of course enable the ex wife input in every thing but i start things off…i have far greater control of how and when things will happen.

    Contested custody or primary care….go in favour of the mother….

  7. Many payors fall into “FMEP” arrears, not because they have failed to pay the appropriate amount of child support, as prescribed by the Child Support Guidelines Regulation, but only because they have failed to make timely variation applications following an adverse change in financial circumstances. Yet, payors who suffer an innocent loss of employment are treated exactly the same as the scumbags who simply refuse to pay despite having the ability to do so.

    How to create billions in income taxes owing
    If this is such a great way to do law, then why are we doing tax law so differently? Under tax law, when your income changes, you owe what the Regulation says you owe. No lawyers or courts are required. How foolish! Perhaps every taxpayer whose income changes from one tax year to the next should be forced to go to court to vary their taxes and have a judge make an order as to the amount of prospective tax which should be paid! When the taxpayers income increases, the amount should be set by Regulation. But when the taxpayer’s income decreases, the Regulation should be tossed aside and the taxpayer, even if he’s paid thousands more than the tax Regulation stipulates, should be found in arrears because he has been unable to pay the same rate of tax, despite his plummeting income.

    Is everyone working in family law retarded?

  8. I gave my monthly payment directly to my ex, as she needed the money early to pay her rent as FMEP is always late giving her payments. She reported the payment and than all of a sudden my bank acct. was frozen by them, even though I was up to date holding 2 next payments.
    Why am I penalized for paying early?

    1. The reason you are penalized is that they only have the ability to administrate money in and money out. When it comes to situations like yours they are hopeless. I had a client who voluntarily paid more child support than he was ordered to pay. FMEP sent him a letter telling him he had overpaid and to reduce his ongoing payments to conform with the order. He did so. Then his wife sued him for increased child support and arrears of child support. She was successful. So much for FMEP’s advice and directions.

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