Ontario expands international support for families with new Hague Convention ratification

The treaty strengthens the province’s ability to enforce and collect spousal and child support

Ontario expands international support for families with new Hague Convention ratification

The Ontario government has announced the implementation of the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.

Ratified by Canada in October 2023, this international treaty strengthens Ontario's ability to enforce and collect spousal and child support across borders, adding 38 new jurisdictions to its network, for a total of more than 55 countries globally.

Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, emphasized the importance of this development, stating, "Family responsibilities do not stop at our border, which is why we are pleased to be able to expand our partnerships around the world to ensure people receive court-ordered supports. More families will get the support they depend on to pay for living and child expenses."

Ontario's Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is empowered to collaborate with countries and jurisdictions under the treaty to enforce spousal and child support orders. The FRO can utilize various legal means, such as wage garnishments, asset seizures, and licence suspensions, to collect payments from payors living abroad.

The additional 38 jurisdictions include countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, broadening the scope for enforcement and collection efforts. The government said that the expansion aids in the collection of financial support and introduces a more streamlined and cost-efficient process for establishing, modifying, and enforcing court orders for support internationally. The goal is to expedite the collection of financial support, saving court resources and ensuring that support payors meet their obligations to their families.

Currently, the FRO manages approximately 134,000 active cases, with about 20,000 involving parties outside Ontario. The ratification of the Hague Convention is expected to impact around 200 cases directly, providing a mechanism for reciprocity in international support enforcement.

For families, payors, and legal professionals seeking more information on child and spousal support involving international parties, resources are available on Ontario's FRO website and the Hague Conference on Private International Law's webpage dedicated to Child Support.

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