In Manitoba, support payments in court orders (including recalculated child support orders), family arbitration awards, and some written agreements, can be enforced through the Maintenance Enforcement Program. The Program receives and monitors payments, and takes steps to enforce missing payments (arrears). The Program with the assistance of Family Law Services lawyers can take maintenance enforcement action in enforcement court at no cost to the person owed support.
Recent changes to The Family Maintenance Act, Part VI, have improved the Maintenance Enforcement Program’s administrative options for ensuring that support is enforced in a fair and reasonable fashion. Among the new powers allocated to the Program are changes which:
- allow the Program to conduct child status reviews to determine whether support for adult children should continue to be enforced
- permit the parties to a court order to agree to change the amount of support being enforced without obtaining a further court order
- permit the Program to review a paying person’s circumstances and to suspend enforcement for a period of time
Fillable forms and further information about these changes can be found on the Family Maintenance Act Amendments webpage.
No one is required to have their support payments enforced through the Maintenance Enforcement Program (unless they are receiving social assistance and assigned their payments to social assistance). If a creditor does not want to be enrolled in MEP, they should consult a lawyer to see what steps to take to enforce the order if payments are not made as required. While there are many enforcement options available to private individuals, they are more limited than those available through the Maintenance Enforcement Program.