Improvements to the family order enforcement regime

  • April 21, 2023

The Family Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association, in a letter to the Department of Justice’s Family Law and Youth Justice Policy Section, recommends amendments to the proposed Release of Information for Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Regulations (proposed Regulations).

The goal of those recommendations is to promote the efficiency of support enforcement, increase access to justice and reduce poverty.

The first recommendation for the Regulations is to specify that the “information to be released” only apply to the two most recent years for which it is available.

The CBA Section recommends the documents pertaining to a payor’s assets be listed in the Regulations. It also suggests adding other documents to the list, for instance statements of RRSP income, statements of investment income, statements of real estate rentals, statements of securities transactions and a few others. This will help enforcement agencies do their work for the benefit of support recipients and their children.

When it comes to identifying payors, the list of required information the recipient must provide is long and, in some cases, unknown to the recipient. As the Section writes, “there should be no prejudice to support recipients who have less information about their support payor.” That’s why it recommends adding “if known” to all items listed in the Regulations, that aliases be added, and that gender be removed. This would prevent support recipients from inadvertently breaking another paragraph of the proposed Regulations requiring a declaration stating that the information in the application is correct.

The CBA Section notes that exceptions should be made in the Regulations for circumstances of family violence, stating that support recipients should never by placed at risk when attempting to enforce support. The Regulations should recommend that situations of family violence be disclosed, and that any paragraph requiring a notice to the payor should specify that “no notice will be given to the payor in circumstances where family violence was disclosed.”