The Indian Act is federal legislation that grants First Nations communities certain rights and privileges with regard to their:

  • property
  • taxes, and
  • income.

The Indian Act limits a provincial government's ability to pass laws that affect property or income held by Status Indians living on reserves.

This means that our ability to enforce support orders is affected by whether the support payor and the support recipient are Status or Non-Status Indians.

Enforcing support orders for Status Indians

We will register and enforce your support order. How we collect support payments will depend on the Indian status of the people entitled to support.

The Indian Act protects your property and income held on reserve unless the person entitled to support is also a Status Indian.

If the payor and recipient are both Status Indians

If the support payor and the support recipient or children are Status Indians, the Indian Act does not limit our enforcement actions.

If the payor falls behind in support payments and does not enter into a repayment plan, he/she is subject to all enforcement actions, which could include garnishing bank accounts, reporting the payor to the credit bureau and seizing lottery winnings.

If the recipient is not a Status Indian

If the support recipient or children are not Status Indians, we cannot take enforcement action against any of the payor’s property or income held on reserve.

We can take other enforcement actions, including:

  • issuing a support deduction notice for off-reserve income
  • placing a lien on, or issuing a writ of seizure and sale for, off-reserve property
  • suspending the payor’s driver’s licence, and
  • ordering the payor to attend court for a Default Hearing, which could result in up to 180 days of jail time.

Learn more

Enforcement Actions