Nova Scotians can improve the program that helps families get their court-ordered support by participating in a consultation on the Maintenance Enforcement Act, launched today, April 27.
“Improving this program is a priority,” said Justice Minister Diana Whalen. “The feedback we receive will help us strengthen legislation, improve and expand our enforcement tools and help children and families get the support they are owed paid in full and on time.”
The Department of Justice is considering a number of changes to the Maintenance Enforcement Act. The consultation is focused on three key changes that require input from the public, which are:
–using the internet to publish the names and photographs of individuals who persistently fail to pay spousal or child support
–strengthening notification provisions
–holding money seized from a payor for future payments, even after outstanding arrears are paid, when the payor persistently fails to make payments or is unwilling to work with the program
The department will also consult directly with clients and other interested groups like lawyers who represent both payors and recipients in the program.
The province committed to amend the Maintenance Enforcement Act in response to a review in 2015 of the Maintenance Enforcement Program. The review made 27 recommendations to improve the program.
“Work is underway to increase training of staff, improve communication with families enrolled in the program, and make better use of enforcement tools already available under the program, such as suspension of driver’s licences,” said Ms. Whalen.
More than 28,600 clients are enrolled in the program, including 16,461 children. In 2014-15, $47.2 million was collected by the Maintenance Enforcement Program on behalf of families.
A discussion paper and online survey are available on the Department of Justice website: www.novascotia.ca/just/.
The deadline for submissions is May 31.