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Enforcement of Child Support Arrears: Passport Suspension

Provincial child support enforcement agencies ( FRO ) ( MEP )  throughout Canada are given the authority to request, in cases of persistent child support arrears, a suspension of the payor’s passport, as well as suspension of his or her other designated Federal licenses.

Apart from Canadian Passports, the licences affected are those under the Aeronautics Act and Canada Shipping Act.

All that the provincial enforcement agency is required to do to initiate a passport revocation or suspension of other Federal licences of the payor is send a Notice of Intention to Request a Federal License Suspension to the payor by mail at his or her last known address. Thirty days later the provincial agency can request that the Federal Licenses be denied or suspended.  No Court approval is required in this process. No Court has the authority to make an Order stopping the provincial enforcement authority from making the suspension request.

How you can prevent passport suspension

What can be done to prevent passport revocation? - In Ontario, the payor that is in child support arrears can prevent passport suspension and revocation of his or her other Federal licenses by entering into a repayment plan satisfactory to the FRO.

This entails payment of the ongoing amount due under the existing Court Order or Separation Agreement plus an amount sufficient to fall within the FRO repayment timetables. Tax returns, pay stubs and sworn financial statements will be required. Alternatively, a varied court order changing the ongoing payment and/or arrears and establishing a court ordered repayment schedule must be obtained to prevent the Federal License Denial or Suspension or obtain a reinstatement of same.

Typically, in Ontario the FRO sends out a Federal Notice at the same time as the Driver's Licence Suspension Notice or shortly thereafter. (For information on driver's licence suspension, please read the Child support arrears: driver's licence suspension page.)

FRO's Reports to Credit Bureau

The FRO, Ontario's maintenance enforcement program (MEP), has the discretion to disclose information regarding the amount of the arrears owing under a support order to a consumer reporting agency. There is no requirement for the FRO to give notice to the payor prior to making the report. There is no requirement that the FRO obtain Court approval prior to making the report. There appears to be no basis for the Court to make an Order preventing FRO from making a report.

Like the Federal Licence situation, the only available options are to enter into a repayment plan satisfactory to FRO or obtain a new varied Court Order with a court ordered repayment plan.

Typically, the FRO begins making credit bureau reports early in the enforcement process. Credit Reports are historic in nature and are not deleted. Subsequent reports are filed based on varied court orders or payments made and in good standing but the original negative report can never be deleted.