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A school board's message: Women good, men bad

National Post, by Barbara Kay, May 30, 2007

The Peel District School Board is one of Canada's largest, as its $1-billion budget, 13,000 academic staff, 145,000 students and 226 schools attest. Imagine the burden of responsibility felt by its trustees, knowing so many tender and malleable young minds are in their hands.

So if signing off on an official school board document, a pamphlet say, tasked with guiding thousands of teachers in negotiating sensitive domestic issues with certain students, such a board would to a man and woman rigorously interrogate its text to ensure the accuracy of the facts and the objectivity of their provenance. The last thing the trustees would want is to perpetuate falsehoods or half-truths, certainly not any calculated to arouse teachers' prejudice against half the student body for no good reason.

In 2000, the Peel District School Board accepted a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ontario Women's Directorate, specifically tied to programming around violence against women. The context of the chosen project was determined to be domestic violence. Breaking the Silence was construed as a teachers' guide for identifying and helping children who witness violence in their homes.

If the teachers followed the guidelines, however, they would only be alert to children whose fathers abused their mothers -- not the other way around -- as witness the following representative statements from the pamphlet:

"Women abuse is a serious problem"; "Violence against women is a crime; it is never justified or acceptable"; "Woman abuse is about ?a husband or partner controlling a woman's behaviour ? and may condemn a woman and her children to suffer in silence"; "Children who witness violence in the home?may feel guilty for not protecting their mother"; "In Ontario, as many as six women are murdered each month by their current or former male partner."

The board seems not to have done any independent research at all before putting its name on this document. For example, even though unsourced, the last absurd "statistic" symbolizes the fecklessness of the entire enterprise, implying that Ontario saw "as many as" 72 women murdered by their male partners in 2000, when the national 2000 spousal homicide total was 67!

Now it may be that the Ontario Women's Directorate -- like all feminist groups I know of -- equates "domestic violence" with "violence against women." But in fact, of course, "domestic violence" has been unequivocally identified as a bilateral problem, statistically initiated by men and women partners in almost identical proportions, with women at higher risk to commit child abuse.

So where did the Ontario Women's Directorate's one-sided findings on domestic violence come from, which the board accepted for the pamphlet without demur? Not from peer-reviewed sociologists or StatsCan. No, the Peel Board simply downloaded information provided by Interim Place, the Salvation Army Family Life Resource Centre and Family Transition Place, women's shelters about whom the most charitable thing one can say regarding their bogus "research" is that it is uncredentialed, guilty of selection bias, ideologically driven, patently skewed and utterly unreliable.

Breaking the Silence encourages teachers to assume -- and in a trickledown way, communicate to children -- that females won't be held responsible for any violence they initiate, that males' characters are inherently worse than females', and that the pain of all children who witness abuse of their father by their mother, or who themselves suffer abuse by their mother, is socially inadmissible. Breaking the Silence is the misandric equivalent of racism: "We" are blameless; "they" cause trouble.

The Ontario Women's Directorate's grant was one Read More ..rtie in a radical feminist drive to (further) entrench anti-male bias amongst educators. But when dealing with such an important issue as gender bias (imagine the outcry if the pamphlet's implication of sole responsibility for domestic violence were gender-reversed), it was the school board's responsibility to verify that they had received credible information, after which they should have printed the whole truth -- half truths in this case are as good as lies -- or foregone the funding and dropped the project.

Breaking the Silence should be withdrawn from use, and teachers informed of the reason. Then the Peel Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education should apologize to the boys in their care for the gender bias they have been exposed to that we know about -- like this pamphlet -- and the myriad other "educational" anti-male strategies that we have yet to discover.

© National Post 2007

National Post

Ontario's child financial support collection agency has big problems

Ontario's Family Responsibility Office has many problems

Quote from Ontario Government Ombudsman -"an equal opportunity error-prone program,."'

Support recipients not getting their money.

Men who've been meeting their court-ordered obligations have trouble getting the FRO to stop taking payments when it's supposed to.   Read More ..

National Post logo

Pilloried, broke, alone

March 25, 2000

Divorced fathers get a bad rap for not supporting their children. The truth is, many can't. And, tragically, some are driven to desperate measures, including suicide.

In his suicide note, Jim, the father of four children, protests that "not all fathers are deadbeats." Jim hanged himself because he couldn't see any alternative. Even now, his children are unaware of the circumstances of their father's death. Meeno Meijer, National Post George Roulier is fighting to regain money wrongfully taken from his wages by the Ontario child-support collection agency. Chris Bolin, National Post Alan Heinz, a Toronto firefighter, has gone bankrupt fighting for the return of his daughter, 3, from Germany. No one will help him, but German authorities are trying to collect child support from him.

Whenever fathers and divorce are discussed, one image dominates: the 'deadbeat dad,' the schmuck who'd rather drive a sports car than support his kids. Because I write about family matters, I'm regularly inundated with phone calls, faxes, letters and e-mail from divorced men. It's not news that divorced individuals have little good to say about their ex-spouses. What I'm interested in is whether the system assists people during this difficult time in their lives, or compounds their misery. From the aircraft engineer in British Columbia, to the postal worker on the prairies, to the fire fighter in Toronto, divorced fathers' stories are of a piece: Though society stereotypes these men relentlessly, most divorced dads pay their child support. Among those who don't, a small percentage wilfully refuse to (the villains you always hear about).

What you haven't been told is that the other men in arrears are too impoverished to pay, have been ordered to pay unreasonable amounts, have been paying for unreasonable lengths of time, or are the victims of bureaucratic foul-ups. Read More ..

Calgary Sun newspaper logo

Non-dad on hook for support

Edmonton and Calgary Sun
Feb 5, 2005

EDMONTON -- An Edmonton judge has decided a divorced dad has to make child support payments, even though the child isn't his. Justin Sumner had an on-again-off-again relationship with the woman he eventually married, Dawn Sumner.

She already had a child from a previous relationship with a man named Rob Duncan, and as she and Justin broke up and reunited, Dawn was sexually involved with both men.

When she found she was pregnant, she called Justin, who recognized there was a possibility that Duncan was the father, but later concluded he was the dad.

Father Committeed Suicide after calling Family Responsibility Office

Andrew T. Renouf committed suicide on or about October 17, 1995 because he had 100% of his wages taken by the Family Responsibility Office, a child support collection agency of the Government of Ontario, Canada.

He asked for assistance for food and shelter from the welfare office and was refused because he had a job, even though all of his wages were taken by the Family Responsibility Office.

Andy was a loving father that hadn't seen his daughter in 4 years.

A memorial service was held in October, 1998, for Andy in front of the Family Responsibility Office at 1201 Wilson Avenue, West Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is in the Ministry of Transportation grounds in the Keele St. & Hwy 401 area. All members of the Ontario Legislature were invited by personal letter faxed to their offices. Not one turned up. The Director of the Family Responsibility Office and his entire staff were invited to the brief service. The Director refused and wouldn't let the staff attend the service although it was scheduled for lunch time. There was a peaceful demonstration by followed by a very touching service by The Reverend Alan Stewart. The text of the service will soon be able to be read below.

The service made the TV evening news.

It was Andy's last wish that his story be told to all. YOU CAN READ HIS SUICIDE NOTE

Auditor General Ontario

Auditor General of Ontario

Disasterous Report on the Family Reponsibility Office FRO 2010

80% of Telephone calls don't get answered

Payers and recipients do not have direct access to their assigned enforcement services officer

"There is only limited access to enforcement staff because many calls to the Office do not get through or are terminated before they can be answered."

"The Office is reviewing and working on only about 20% to 25% of its total cases in any given year."

"At the end of our audit in April 2010, there were approximately 91,000 bring-forward notes outstanding, each of which is supposed to trigger specific action on a case within one month. The status of almost one-third of the outstanding bring-forward notes was "open," indicating either that the notes had been read but not acted upon, or that they had not been read at all, meaning that the underlying nature and urgency of the issues that led to these notes in the first place was not known. In addition, many of the notes were between one and two years old."

"For ongoing cases, the Office took almost four months from the time the case went into arrears before taking its first enforcement action. For newly registered cases that went straight into arrears, the delay was seven months from the time the court order was issued."

Ottawa Citizen

Ontario agency admits to overbilling on child support payments

The Ottawa Citizen
January 14, 2012

TORONTO - Ontario's controversial Family Responsibility Office has been overbilling 1,700 parents, mostly fathers, for as long as 13 years, the province admitted Friday.

The 1,700 parents were overbilled by an average $75 each month, after the agency wrongly applied a cost of living adjustment that was eliminated in 1997.

Those who were overpaid will not be forced to give the money back.

Instead, taxpayers will foot the $5.3 million bill for the agency's mistake.

"This error's been found and it's being corrected," said Liberal cabinet minister John Milloy. "We're going to be reaching out to those individuals (who were overbilled) and talking to them about their situation, formally alerting them."

The Family Responsibility Office, or FRO, is responsible for ensuring court-ordered child support payments are made. Read More .. than 97 per cent of all payers overseen by the office are male.

Milloy said the agency discovered the problem at some point in 2011. No one will be fired for the mistakes, he added.

"I see this as something very serious," he said in an interview. "I'm not trying to minimize it, but … there's been lots of action taken to reform FRO, to update computer systems, to update customer relations and it's on a much firmer footing."

The billing mistake is only the latest controversy to engulf FRO.

Women's Post Newspaper

"Canada's national newspaper for professional women"

The Family Responsibility Office Under Scrutiny

On June 9, 2005 the McGuinty government announced the passage of Bill 155, legislation that promised to increase enforcement, improve fairness and enhance efficiency at the Family Responsibility Office (FRO).

However, the legislation did not address the problem of accountability and, as things now stand, the FRO is a threat to every Canadian affected by a government regulated support and custody arrangement system. Think of George Orwell's 1984 and you'll have a good picture of how issues are handled at the FRO.

They have legal power to extort money from Canadians, but are not responsible or accountable for their actions.

Last year an FRO staff member decided not to wait for a court date to review the financial status of an out-of-work truck driver and took it upon themselves to suspend his license because he was, understandably, behind on his payments, having lost his job earlier in the year. Although he was looking for work, the FRO cut off the only way he knew of to earn a living. His suicide note explained how he'd lost all hope. Is this what we want FRO to be doing?  Read More ..