Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

The Canadian Press

Support payments must keep pace with pay

Canadian Press, by JIM BROWN, July 31, 2006, Found in the Globe and Mail ( Canada's largest national newspaper and various other newspapers across Canada

OTTAWA Divorced or separated parents who do not increase their child support to keep pace with their rising income could face hefty retroactive orders to pay up under a new Supreme Court of Canada judgment.

In a 7-0 decision Monday, the court said that, as a rule, people who do not keep their support payments up to date as their incomes increase are not fulfilling their legal obligations to their children.

The nuanced ruling also left plenty of room, however, for future decisions in the lower courts to vary based on the specific facts of each case.

For example, a parent in most cases the father might face undue hardship in paying a retroactive award in some circumstances.

The issue arose when four Alberta fathers challenged the retroactive awards made against them. The Supreme Court ordered two of them to pay up, while the other two were absolved based on the circumstances of their cases.

The legal principles involved extend far beyond the four cases and could affect thousands of couples.

Deidre Smith, the lawyer for the four fathers, said her advice to future clients will be simple.

Make sure they make financial disclosure whenever their income changes, and at the very bare minimum on an annual basis. ... Don't wait for the court cases to start.

Ms. Smith noted, however, that even with the best of intentions, where both parents agree on the amount to be paid, it can be difficult to sort out the legal steps necessary to stay up to date.

Most provinces have agencies that can deduct payments at source from salaried employees, but it requires a court order to vary the amount, and that can mean legal fees to deal with the paperwork.

I hope that we see some very quick changes by the various provincial and federal regulatory groups ... so as to streamline the process for families who are doing this on consent, Ms. Smith said.

All of us in the judicial system need to make it a little easier for them.

Federal law sets guidelines that tie child support to ability to pay and number of children.

But people often leave old jobs and take new ones as the years go by. Custody arrangements also change as children move back and forth between parents, so support agreements often become outdated.

In practice, the onus has typically fallen on recipient spouses usually the mother to go to court if they think they are owed more money. But they say they cannot do so if their ex-partners have not disclosed their new incomes.

In the two cases where fathers were ordered to pay retroactively by the Supreme Court, one man owes $22,000 to be paid off in $500 monthly instalments. The other faces a bill of $108,000 but has until 2010 to pay.

One of the two fathers who will not have to pay had been facing a claim of $15,000 in retroactive money, but he has never made more than $23,000 and would have faced financial hardship in complying.

In the other case where no retroactive award was ordered, the mother complained that she had never been advised of her ex-partner's increase in income. The court said parents have a responsibility to inquire into matters like this.

In cases where retroactive payments are warranted, the courts set a rough guideline of three years as the farthest back such awards should extend.

A Quote Worth Remembering

"We must vigilantly stand on guard within our own borders for human rights and fundamental freedoms which are our proud heritage......we cannot take for granted the continuance and maintenance of those rights and freedoms."

John Diefenbaker

A Quote Worth Remembering

About The truth

"All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed, Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as self-evident."

Arthur Schopenhauer

A Quote Worth Remembering

"In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect."

Bill Clinton
(William J. Clinton)
42nd President of The United States of America

Toronto Star logo

Smokers - the new deviants

The Toronto Star
Aug. 20, 2006

Smokers need not apply," ran a classified ad for a job in Ireland this past May.

"Why not?" asked Catherine Stihler, a British Labour party MEP, who posed the question on behalf of one of her constituents. Should women not apply, either? Or homosexuals? Muslims? What about high-functioning alcoholics, or fat people?

The answer, from the European Commission that oversees anti-discrimination legislation in the EU, came back to Stihler this month: Smokers are fair game for discrimination.

national "Child Day"

November 20th

Canada's "Child Day" is held on November 20th each year as designated by the Parliament of Canada in 1993.

It commemorates the United Nations adoption of two landmark documents concerned with the human rights of all children and youths.  Read More ..

United Nations

Canadian appointed U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights

Louise Arbour

Louise Arbour took up her duties on July 1, 2004 as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her term in office ended in June 2008.

Mrs. Arbour was a member of the Supreme Court of Canada immediately preceding her appointment to the UN as  Commissioner for Human Rights.

Law Times

Louise Arbour: a colleague we have failed

Law Times, Canada
22 September 2008

This profession - and all of us in it - have failed to protect, honour, and defend one of our most accomplished and distinguished members. We have let Louise Arbour down by our silence when she needed and deserved voices of support.

On July 1, Arbour stepped down as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, an enormously prestigious and important international position.

The gratitude and praise which greeted her at the end of her term was shamefully muted. Arbour was a courageous champion of human rights, and a bold critic of the erosion of those basic tenets in our world.

She was never timid. She was never chained to a desk, was involved, hands on, outspoken, and challenging. She breathed life into the enormous portfolio that she was asked to take on.

CBC logo


Day Care in Canada

CBC Television News Online, February 9, 2005

It was first proposed in 1970 a program that would provide affordable day care across the country. It was promised when Brian Mulroney and the Conservatives swept to power in 1984. And again four years later.

By the time Jean Chretien's Liberals did some political sweeping of their own in 1993, promises of a national day-care strategy had fallen victim to the realities of a government wallowing in debt. With budgetary knives sharpened and drawn, day care would have to wait.

But the economic climate began to shift and in 1997, Quebec introduced its own day-care system, offering spaces at $5 a day. Demand quickly surpassed supply.