Phase 2 of the Survey of Child Support Awards: Final Report



  • [1] Department of Justice Canada, (2002). Children Come First: A Report to Parliament Reviewing the Provisions and Operations of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice Canada.
  • [2] Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985 (2nd Supp.), c.3.
  • [3] Department of Justice Canada, (2002). Children Come First: A Report to Parliament Reviewing the Provisions and Operation of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice Canada.
  • [4] This committee has been replaced by the Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials—Family Law Research Subcommittee.
  • [5] Some sites have also collected data from cases proceeding under provincial legislation. For purposes of analysis, these cases have been omitted from this report.
  • [6] As Quebec's system of determining child support awards is different from the Federal Child Support Guidelines, a separate study was designed to collect and analyze data in Quebec. See: Linda Goupil, Rapport du Comité de suivi du modèle québécois de fixation des pensions alimentaires pour enfants, Québec: Ministre de la Justice, procurement générale, Ministre responsable de la condition féminine et de l'application des lois professionnelles, Mars 2000. (Report of the Follow-up Committee on the Quebec Model for the Determination of Child Support Payments, in press.)
  • [7] A total of 5,285 cases were excluded from the database for purposes of the analyses presented in this report. The majority of these cases (n=3,793) were excluded because the file indicated that they had proceeded solely under provincial legislation. A smaller number of cases (n=1,492) were excluded for one or more of the following reasons: cases in which the child support award amount was based on a previous order dated prior to the implementation of the Federal Child Support Guidelines on May 1, 1997; cases representing variations that resulted only in termination orders and dealt with no other issues; cases relying solely on affidavits for data capture and not including information on whether the case represented a divorce or a variation; duplicate cases as determined by examination of whether the case was a divorce or a variation, the court file number, the date of judicial decision and the date when the order was issued and entered; and test cases that were entered during beta testing of the data entry system.
  • [8] The majority of the cases silent on child support are from Ontario, because at some court sites, child support orders are not included in divorce orders.
  • [9] Cases with monthly child support award amounts in excess of $6,000 were examined manually in order to determine if these awards were accurate, given the other information available on the case. As a result, monthly award amounts in excess of $10,000 for 36 cases were excluded from these analyses as they were determined to be anomalies, outliers or inaccurate.
  • [10] This represents the total child support award amount, which includes any “add-ons” for special or extraordinary expenses.
  • [11] It should be noted that if special or extraordinary expenses are not specified in an order, then the expenses are not enforceable by the provincial/territorial Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) agencies. MEP can enforce based on receipt-based expenses, not specified in advance, provided the category or nature of that expense was identified in the order.
  • [12] Monthly special or extraordinary expenses amounts in excess of $1,000 were examined manually to determine whether these amounts were accurate according to other information in the case. On this basis, thirteen cases with monthly amounts greater than $1,500 were excluded from analysis of this variable. In addition, 36 cases with a monthly amount of $0 were also excluded.
  • [13] See Section 3.6 for a discussion of the limitations of this estimate.
  • [14] It should be noted that the data probably do not accurately reflect the number of cases in which undue hardship is raised. If a claim for undue hardship is raised in an original application and subsequently fails at a court hearing, there may be no record of the application in the court file that was available to the data capture clerks.
  • [15] It is possible that the child's name would be missing in some cases with only one child, since in these cases the child to whom the order relates would be clear.
Date modified: