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September 20, 2021

The ongoing search for deadbeat parents

Unpaid child and spousal support now tops $2.7 billion across the country, according to recent Statistics Canada data. 

As of March 31, 2010, there were roughly 408,000 cases, most involving children, registered in various provincial maintenance enforcement programs, which process cases and ensure support.

The province with the highest compliance rate was Quebec, at 80 per cent whereas Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta had compliance rates of 62, 63 and 64 per cent, respectively.

Officers in these enforcement programs can suspend driver's licences, cancel passports, revoke hunting and fishing permits and even seize lottery winnings to get a delinquent debtor's attention.

That’s if they can find them, of course – which brings us to a rogue's gallery of the worst deadbeats the country has to offer, parents who haven't helped support their children for at least six months, pulling a vanishing act at the same time.

Each profile of a deadbeat – the vast majority of whom are men – features a name, photo, physical description, last known location and the person's usual occupation.

Alberta and Ontario are alone in the publicizing of parents who won’t pay up but other provinces are considering following their lead.

Critics, however, argue that dire circumstances and unfair rulings force parents into arrears on child payments and that publicly shaming them does little to reconcile families or ensure compliance.

Clearly, some noncustodial fathers who fall behind on child support simply can't afford to settle, either because they’re unemployed or on sick leave. But what about the others?

Do you think non-custodial parents often get a raw deal? Or does looking after your kids’ welfare come first, no matter what?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money 



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...