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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Saskatchewan Justice

How can the Office enforce my support order or agreement if the respondent lives outside Saskatchewan? What if I move out of the province?

The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Unit of the Maintenance Enforcement Office arranges for registration of the claimant's order or agreement in the other jurisdiction, and works with the other maintenance enforcement program to collect payments.

Saskatchewan has reciprocal enforcement agreements (two-way agreements) with all Canadian provinces and territories, the United States and many other countries. Through these agreements, maintenance enforcement programs in other provinces or countries take action to enforce support orders or agreements from Saskatchewan. In turn, Saskatchewan enforces orders or agreements from other provinces or countries.

Reciprocal enforcement agreements make it more difficult for respondents to avoid paying support by moving out of the province or country. If Saskatchewan does not have a reciprocal enforcement agreement with a particular country, it can contact that country and try to establish an agreement.

What kinds of orders or agreements can be enforced by another province or country?

If Saskatchewan has a reciprocal agreement with another province or country, that province or country can enforce any final court order or written agreement for support that could have been enforced in Saskatchewan if both parties still lived here.

How can I get my order or agreement enforced in another province or country?

If you live in Saskatchewan, you may apply to Maintenance Enforcement Office to handle the matter for you.

The Office requires the following:

  • a completed Maintenance Enforcement Office registration form;*
  • one sworn Affidavit of Arrears;* and
  • three certified copies (not photocopies) of your maintenance order (available from the court that made the order). Or, if you have a maintenance agreement, three certified stamped copies of the agreement. The agreement must first be filed at a Court of Queen's Bench, and then three stamped copies brought or sent to the Office.

 

If you need help or further information, please telephone the Office at (306) 787-8961 or 1-866-229-9712 (outside of Regina area). The Office will forward these documents to the province or country where the respondent lives and request that it enforce the order or agreement for Saskatchewan.

*Registration and affidavit of arrears forms are available from the Maintenance Enforcement Office in Regina, the Court of Queen's Bench, Legal Aid or your lawyer.

How will the order or agreement be enforced by another province or country?

Because laws and procedures differ in each province and country, the enforcement methods will differ too. Usually, the respondent will be registered with a program similar to that operated by the Saskatchewan Maintenance Enforcement Office, and will be requested to make payments through that office. If payments are not made, the other jurisdiction may take enforcement action such as garnishment of wages or seizing and selling assets.

Does Saskatchewan control how other provinces and countries enforce support orders or agreements sent from this province?

Support orders or agreements are enforced according to the legislation and regulations of the province or country that is doing the enforcing. Saskatchewan can suggest action to another province or country but it cannot control what will happen.

What can I expect from the Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Unit in the Saskatchewan Maintenance Enforcement Office?

The Unit helps you by:

  • processing and forwarding your case to the appropriate ISO jurisdiction for registration and enforcement;
  • helping the other jurisdiction to enforce your case by responding to questions and by getting, confirming or clarifying information that may be needed to take action; and
  • giving the other jurisdiction any information that Saskatchewan receives that may help the other jurisdiction handle your case.

How long will it take for another province or country to enforce a maintenance order or agreement on Saskatchewan's behalf?

It is difficult to predict how long enforcement might take in another province or country or whether it will be successful.

Does the amount of respondent information that is available when the file is sent to the other jurisdiction have any impact on enforcement?

Yes, usually. The more relevant information that you and the Saskatchewan Office can provide to the other jurisdiction, the greater the chances that it will be able to successfully enforce on your file.

The most important information is the:

  • respondent's full name;
  • any other names that the respondent may go by (aliases);
  • the respondent's birth date;
  • the respondent's mother's maiden name (used to confirm Social Insurance Number); and
  • the respondent's Social Insurance Number.

 

Also helpful is information such as present or previous address, current or former employers and the type of work the respondent usually does. The names of friends or relatives who may know where the respondent is living or working is also important.

Will Saskatchewan take enforcement action while it is waiting for the file to be registered in another jurisdiction?

It is usually not possible to enforce the support from Saskatchewan unless the respondent has a Saskatchewan source of income or assets in the province that can be attached.

Saskatchewan will not normally take action, such as a federal garnishment or revoking a passport, once the file has been sent to another jurisdiction. This is because all action would have to be removed before the other jurisdiction could begin enforcement. Certain exceptions may be considered, in special circumstances.

How can I get information about what is happening in the other jurisdiction?

Write to Saskatchewan's Maintenance Enforcement Office to request an update. Please allow at least three months after the documents were forwarded to the other jurisdiction before inquiring. The Saskatchewan Office will advise you if it has any new information from the other province or country. The mailing address is:

100-3085 Albert Street,
Regina SK S4S 0B1.

Some maintenance enforcement programs in other jurisdictions have a policy of not replying to requests for information on the cases they are handling. These programs say that their time is spent on enforcement action and not in responding to requests for information.

If the jurisdiction handling your file has this kind of policy, the Maintenance Enforcement Office in Saskatchewan cannot get information to pass onto you.

I have written to the ISO Unit about my case but have not received a reply. Why?

The Maintenance Enforcement Office receives many inquiries on ISO cases and has had to set priorities to manage the workload so that all clients receive basic services.

The following kinds of inquiries are normally given a lower priority because they will not help Saskatchewan or the other jurisdiction to collect money on your case and will not normally help with the handling of your case in the future:

  1. Inquiries about why a payment is late, missed or is not the full amount expected.

    The reciprocating jurisdiction monitors the payments on your file and will work to get payments on a regular basis. Payments that are missed will become part of the arrears and will also be enforced.

    In some jurisdictions, the respondent must be left with a certain amount of income (called a "holdback"), once the support payments have been enforced. Therefore, the amount received may be the allowable amount under the law in that jurisdiction. Any balance that is not paid from month to month will be recorded as arrears and additional enforcement measures may be taken to collect the outstanding amounts.
  2. Inquiries about the source of the payment

    Saskatchewan is usually not able to get information about where the payment was obtained and, for privacy reasons, is not able to give the information to you. If you have requested an update and have received information that a certain enforcement action, such as garnishment, was taken, this information may suggest to you how the payment was collected.

    Sometimes, the respondent contacts the claimant about enforcement action taken and may tell you about the action taken.
  3. Inquiries that request Saskatchewan to defend or justify the actions of the reciprocating jurisdiction.

    Given the information available to the Office in Saskatchewan, it is not able to answer for the action, or lack of action, of another jurisdiction.
  4. Inquiries that request Saskatchewan to explain the procedures, policies or legislation under which the reciprocal jurisdiction operates

    Saskatchewan has agreements with all the other Canadian the other Canadian provinces and territories, states of the U.S. and many other countries. It is, therefore, not possible to provide accurate, up-to-date information in response to these kinds of inquiries.

Who do I contact to provide new information?

If you receive new information, such as a respondent address or employer, let the Maintenance Enforcement Office in Saskatchewan know. It will pass the information to the jurisdiction enforcing your order or agreement. Such information can be very important to the collection of support.

What if my order or agreement states my support is to be paid in the currency of another country?

The Office is required by law to convert the amount in your order or agreement to Canadian funds.

The Office will calculate the amount of support it requests on your behalf by calculating the exchange rate between the country's currency and Canadian money on the day the order or agreement was made.

How will I receive my payments?

Payments collected on your behalf by another province or country will be sent to the Office first. Payments will be recorded and mailed to you, usually within 24 hours.

What if the respondent moves again? What if I move again?

If neither party lives in Saskatchewan, the file will be closed. If the respondent moves to another province or country that Saskatchewan has a reciprocal agreement with, the file may be transferred to the new jurisdiction.

What do I do if I want to obtain a support order or have an order or agreement changed and the other party lives outside Saskatchewan?

To obtain a support order as part of divorce proceedings under the Divorce Act (1985), you must seek the advice of a lawyer, as the procedure can be fairly complex.

To obtain a support order where a divorce is not an issue, and the other party lives in another jurisdiction, you have a number of options, and it is recommended that you consult a lawyer regarding those options. One of these options is to complete an application under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act. Your application is then forwarded to the other jurisdiction by the Family Justice Services Branch, and is dealt with by a court in that jurisdiction. Forms and Guides for this reciprocal procedure are available by contacting Family Justice Services.

If you are wanting to vary a support order that was granted under the Divorce Act, it can only be varied in a Canadian superior court. You have a number of options for how to vary the order where the other party lives elsewhere. It is recommended that you consult a lawyer regarding your options. The Divorce Act (1985), does provide a reciprocal procedure where you apply to the court in Saskatchewan without the other party being present, and then the "provisional order" is sent to his/her jurisdiction for confirmation in that court.

If your order is not a Divorce Act order, but was granted under a provincial/territorial or foreign support law, you also have a number of options. One of these options is completing an application under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act. Your application is then forwarded to the other jurisdiction by by the Family Justice Services Branch, and is dealt with by a court in that jurisdiction. Forms and Guides for this reciprocal procedure are available by contacting Family Justice Services. It is recommended that you consult a lawyer regarding your options.

What is Saskatchewan doing to improve the enforcement of support orders and agreements outside Saskatchewan?

When Saskatchewan receives an application that needs to be sent to a jurisdiction with which Saskatchewan does not have a reciprocal agreement, Saskatchewan will try to establish an agreement with that jurisdiction.

Saskatchewan also participates on a number of national committees and at enforcement conferences that are designed to improve the effectiveness of the reciprocal enforcement of support orders and agreements.



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