If child support is not paid in Ontario, there are several enforcement measures that can be taken. The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is the government agency responsible for collecting, distributing and enforcing child and spousal support orders.

When a support order is made, it is automatically filed with the FRO, unless both parties have agreed in writing to withdraw from the FRO. Once a support order or agreement is filed with the FRO, the FRO processes the payments to ensure that the person who is supposed to pay support does so.

If payments are not made, the FRO can take enforcement action. This can include:

  1. Garnishing wages or other income: The FRO can order the payor’s employer to deduct the support amount from the payor’s wages or other income (such as pensions or employment insurance).
  2. Garnishing bank accounts: The FRO can take money from the payor’s bank account to cover the support payments.
  3. Filing a writ of seizure and sale: The FRO can place a lien on the payor’s personal property or real estate.
  4. Reporting to credit bureaus: If a payor is in arrears, the FRO can report them to the credit bureaus, which could make it difficult for the payor to get a loan.
  5. Suspending passports or driver’s licenses: If a payor is in arrears, the FRO can ask the court to suspend their passport or driver’s license.
  6. Incarceration: As a last resort, the FRO can ask the court to send the payor to jail for up to 180 days.

It’s important to note that the FRO cannot change the amount of support that is owed. Only the court can do that. If a payor is having trouble making their support payments, they should go to court as soon as possible to ask for a change.