Characteristics of child support payers and recipients

Characteristics of child support payers and recipients After separation or divorce, a court can issue a support order to an individual to pay child support, spousal support, or both (payer). If the full amount of support is not being paid, a support order can be enforced. A written agreement to pay child support and/or spousal support can also be enforced. Each province or territory has its own Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) to help enforce support orders and agreements.Footnote1 Not every court ordered support order is enforced by the MEP since individuals (recipients) may not register for enforcement or may opt-out or withdraw from the MEP if they decide to do so. The Survey of Maintenance Enforcement Programs (SMEP) which is administered by Statistics Canada collects information on child and spousal support payments. The SMEP provides information on support amounts expected from payers, the volume and types of cases registered, compliance with support payment and enforcement actions, and other measures. These data are only collected for cases which are registered with a MEP and who are part of the data collection; there is no systematic data collection for cases which are not registered or part of a reporting jurisdiction. As of 2021/2022, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Prince Edward Island (PE), Nova Scotia (NS), New Brunswick, Saskatchewan (not including 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 and 2021/2022), Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut (2011/2012 only) participated in the SMEP.Footnote2 To allow Justice Canada to understand the characteristics of payers and recipients, Statistics Canada worked with the Department of Justice Canada to conduct a record linkage, which involves assessing and linking different data sets based on personal identifiers. Specifically, SMEP data from PE, NS, and NL was linked to the T1 Family File (T1FF) and the Census. The main objective of this project was to fill in data gaps related to income, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of recipients and payers of child and spousal support. A secondary objective was to explore characteristics of child and spousal support payers and recipients who are not enrolled in a MEP, and to compare their income and socio-economic characteristics to those of payers and recipients enrolled in a MEP. This report focuses on providing demographic and socio-economic characteristics of child support payers and recipients enrolled and not enrolled in a MEP, the compliance and arrears status of payers enrolled in a MEP, ethnic and racial identity, and housing and residential situation of payers and recipients. 2024-05-18 Department of Justice Canada open-ouvert@tbs-sct.gc.ca Government and PoliticsLawPersonsSeparationDivorceSupport OrderChild SupportSpousal SupportPayersRecipients Characteristics of child support payers and recipientsHTML https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/ccspr-cpbpae/index.html Characteristics of child support payers and recipientsHTML https://www.justice.gc.ca/fra/pr-rp/jr/cpbpae-ccspr/index.html Characteristics of child support payers and recipientsPDF https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/ccspr-cpbpae/pdf/RSD2024_RR_Child_Support_Pay-Recip_EN.pdf Characteristics of child support payers and recipientsPDF https://www.justice.gc.ca/fra/pr-rp/jr/cpbpae-ccspr/pdf/RSD2024_RR_Child_Support_Pay-Recip_FR.pdf

After separation or divorce, a court can issue a support order to an individual to pay child support, spousal support, or both (payer). If the full amount of support is not being paid, a support order can be enforced. A written agreement to pay child support and/or spousal support can also be enforced. Each province or territory has its own Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) to help enforce support orders and agreements.Footnote1 Not every court ordered support order is enforced by the MEP since individuals (recipients) may not register for enforcement or may opt-out or withdraw from the MEP if they decide to do so.

The Survey of Maintenance Enforcement Programs (SMEP) which is administered by Statistics Canada collects information on child and spousal support payments. The SMEP provides information on support amounts expected from payers, the volume and types of cases registered, compliance with support payment and enforcement actions, and other measures. These data are only collected for cases which are registered with a MEP and who are part of the data collection; there is no systematic data collection for cases which are not registered or part of a reporting jurisdiction. As of 2021/2022, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Prince Edward Island (PE), Nova Scotia (NS), New Brunswick, Saskatchewan (not including 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 and 2021/2022), Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut (2011/2012 only) participated in the SMEP.Footnote2

To allow Justice Canada to understand the characteristics of payers and recipients, Statistics Canada worked with the Department of Justice Canada to conduct a record linkage, which involves assessing and linking different data sets based on personal identifiers. Specifically, SMEP data from PE, NS, and NL was linked to the T1 Family File (T1FF) and the Census. The main objective of this project was to fill in data gaps related to income, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of recipients and payers of child and spousal support. A secondary objective was to explore characteristics of child and spousal support payers and recipients who are not enrolled in a MEP, and to compare their income and socio-economic characteristics to those of payers and recipients enrolled in a MEP.

This report focuses on providing demographic and socio-economic characteristics of child support payers and recipients enrolled and not enrolled in a MEP, the compliance and arrears status of payers enrolled in a MEP, ethnic and racial identity, and housing and residential situation of payers and recipients.

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