Ontario deadbeat parents face double jail time in new bill

Last Updated Fri, 03 Dec 2004 13:53:49 EST

TORONTO - Parents in Ontario who refuse to pay child support could face up to six months in jail under a new bill introduced in the legislature.

The proposal would double the current three-month maximum jail sentence, which isn't enough of a deterrent according to provincial Community and Social Services Minister Sandra Pupatello.

"We don't want to send people to jail ... but we do mean to send a message that we are serious about this," Pupatello told the Canadian Press, adding that sending a person to jail is the last resort.

Deadbeat parents in Ontario owe more than $1.2 billion in support payments to their ex-spouses and children and about 1,500 of them spend time in jail every year.

Renate Diorio of Families Against Deadbeats questioned the need for more jail time because it takes the person out of the workforce, which can be used as another excuse for not paying up.

The bill would also give the province's Family Responsibility Office the ability to post website pictures of those who are dodging payments.

Pupatello referred to the Alberta example saying that province set up a website in 2000 and officials are able to locate 60 per cent of those whose photos are posted.

Diorio supported the website idea and urged the province to add a separate investigations unit to look for deadbeat parents.

The new legislation also:




Written by CBC News Online staff