The recent changes in the treatment of child support have increased the monthly support for almost 19,000 single parents in receipt of both social assistance and child support in Ontario.

Until this year, child support payments received by recipients of  Ontario Disability Support Program (“ODSP”)  and  Ontario Works (“OW”) affected the social assistance amount a recipient was entitled to, such that the child support payments would be deducted from any social assistant a recipient was entitled to.

Fist, commencing January 1, 2017 for ODSP recipients,  and February 1, 2017 for OW recipients,  child support payments are no longer considered income and are not deductible from a person’s social assistance. It means that now the recipient of the child support payment can keep the full amount of support without any claw backs.

Second, people individuals eligible for OW and ODSP are no longer obligated to pursue the child support as a prerequisite to receiving social assistance, however, the City of Toronto continues to claim an interest in the proceeding.

Evidence from other jurisdictions that have already implemented these changes demonstrate that parents who owe child support tend to fulfill their child support obligations it if they know that their children will fully  benefit from the payments, rather than the support amount being used to reimburse the government for social assistance.

By Kate Smirnova, Articling Student 2016/2017