Family Maintenance Enforcement Program Needs to Be Changed
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The Province of British Columbia has a child poverty rate that is higher than overall poverty rates in Canada. Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are one of the most expensive places to live.
Single parents have an even tougher struggle and rely on receiving any court ordered support. Child support is a legal right of any child in Canada and a parent's legal duty to provide.
The food bank reports numbers between 20-37% of people accessing the food bank being children. This compromises their mental health, their emotional well-being and their academic ability. Once a child has been raised in the cycle of poverty, it becomes extremely difficult for them to get out of that cycle upon adulthood. Were proper support paid, the likelihood and percentage of children accessing supplemental services would decrease.
FMEP is inefficient and many parents who rely on this government service can go months if not years with no receipt of support. As a result they end up having to rely on other government resources to provide for their family. This may include daycare subsidy, housing subsidy, food banks, legal aid and charitable agencies who offer support. This costs the government and tax payers more money than would be needed if support payments were properly enforced.
We are proposing that FMEP be overhauled and consider the following:
1) Prior to a payer filing any motion to have support/arrears adjusted they must file proper proof of current income with the courts. This should include but not be limited to: copies of current paystubs, most recent Notice of Assessment, most recent tax filing papers, 6 most recent bank statements, confirmation of any and all assets and anything else the court deems fit.
2) FMEP should be directly linked with Revenue Canada to access income information needed and enforce non payment.
3) FMEP should follow court orders received and not make other arrangements with the payer that the recipient does not agree to. This should not be left to FMEP's discretion.
4) Court orders requiring confirmation of income on an annual basis should be enforced and any payment amounts should be automatically adjusted after confirmation received
5) If someone is registered with FMEP they should be required to file their income taxes on an annual basis.
6) Once a payer misses a set amount of payments, they should be required to pay by garnishment of wages. Once someone is forced to pay by wage garnishment that should be required until payment is no longer court ordered.
7) Before removing any enforcement actions on a payer, a set amount of time should be required to ensure the problem has been corrected and payments are being received when required.
8) As part of final paperwork, once a divorce has been finalized, the payer should be required to sign a consent for Revenue Canada to have ongoing access to financial information of the payer.
9) That a party independent of FMEP be formed to govern and oversee this government body to ensure they are meeting requirements and service is being provided in a polite, efficient as possible manner.
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