How MEP can enforce payment under a maintenance order

We can take a number of actions if a payor does not pay maintenance as ordered by the court. The action or actions we choose will depend on the payor’s history, how much money the payor owes, and the payor’s current situation. We choose the actions we think will have the best chance of success. Only MEP can decide which actions to take. You must be enrolled in MEP for us to take any action.

Seizing and Holding Funds to Pay Future Payments

Changes to the Maintenance Enforcement Act proclaimed October 17, 2017 allow the program to seize and hold funds over and above the arrears amount owing, to pay future maintenance obligations.

This can be done when a payor is in “persistent arrears”.

Persistent arrears means arrears in any amount where the arrears are due to the failure to make full payments required by the court order, in any three payment periods, or accumulated arrears of $3,000.00 or more.

If you have missed three payments, or have arrears of more than $3,000.00, this could apply to you.

All decisions to seize and hold funds for future payments are made by the Director. If you disagree with a decision made by the Director, you may apply to the Court for a judicial review of the decision. Contact the court nearest you for information.

On October 17, 2017, this change took effect.

We can

  • charge a default fee
  • place a lien against the payor’s property so it cannot be sold or remortgaged
  • order the payor to give us information about their assets and expenses
  • demand financial information from the payor, the payor’s spouse, or others (including employers and government agencies)
  • apply to the court to require the payor to pay

We can garnish (deduct money) from a payor’s

  • wages
  • workers’ compensation benefits
  • bank and investment accounts, including joint accounts
  • income tax refunds
  • Employment Insurance benefits
  • Canada Pension Plan benefits
  • Old Age Security payments
  • GST rebates
  • pensions/RRSPs
  • rental income
  • insurance settlements or inheritances
  • lottery winnings

We can suspend a payor’s

  • motor vehicle licence
  • hunting and fishing licence
  • Federal licences such as a Canadian passport or pilot's licence

As a last resort, we can

  • apply to the court for an arrest warrant—the court will decide if the payor will be fined or imprisoned

MEP cannot

  • enforce payment if you are not enrolled in the program
  • increase or decrease the amount of the payment
  • stop enforcing the payment order even if the order is being changed
  • guarantee payments can be collected or will be collected by the due date
  • take enforcement action before the payment is due
  • take direction from anyone about how to enforce the payment order
  • enforce an order before it is final, or if another province is already enforcing it
  • estimate how long it will take to collect late or missed payments
  • enforce an order if it is unclear how much the payment is supposed to be