January 26, 2007

Strengthening Enforcement at the Family Responsibility Office

As part of its commitment to get tough on deadbeat parents who do not meet their family responsibilities the McGuinty government passed the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Amendment Act, 2005. The legislation is being implemented over 24 months and will make the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) work better for Ontario families by strengthening enforcement, improving efficiency and increasing fairness.

The latest changes to strengthen enforcement will allow the FRO to:

  • Post pictures and information about deadbeat parents on the FRO website to help locate individuals who are not living up to their family responsibilities and can't be found by other means, and
  • Report deadbeat parents to professional and occupational organizations starting with the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council.

Pictures and information may be posted about deadbeat parents on the website if:

  • All other trace and locate tools have been exhausted
  • It has been at least six months since the individual made their last support payment, and
  • The support recipient has provided written consent to post the information and the picture.

Information about the deadbeat parent that may be posted on the website includes:

  • Their name and a photograph
  • A physical description and approximate age, and
  • Their last known location and usual occupation.

Other enforcement measures to make the FRO work better for Ontario families include:

  • Increasing the maximum jail term for failure to comply with court orders from 90 days to 180 days
  • Ensuring that early release provisions under Section 28 of the Ministry of Correctional Services Act do not apply to jail terms ordered under the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996
  • Making it easier for the FRO to obtain a financial statement from a third party that is financially linked to a deadbeat parent
  • Increasing the FRO's powers to demand personal information about deadbeat parents in order to locate them.

The FRO has the legal authority to enforce court-ordered support payments and arrears and to take enforcement actions against those who do not meet their responsibilities.

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