The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House will resume on
April 25, 2017.

Bill No. 44

Maintenance Enforcement Act (amended)

An Act to Amend Chapter 6 of the Acts of 1994-95, the Maintenance Enforcement Act

Introduced by:
Honourable Diana C. Whalen
Attorney General and Minister of Justice

First Reading
Second Reading Debates
Second Reading Passed
Law Amendments Committee
    Meeting Date(s) October 31, 2016
    Reported to the House
Committee of the Whole House
Third Reading Debates
Third Reading
Royal Assent
Commencement Upon proclamation
2016 Statutes, Chapter 24

Explanatory Note

Clause 1

(a) expands the definition of “maintenance order” to include support orders as defined in the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act; and

(b) adds a definition of “persistent arrears”.

Clause 2

(a) authorizes a person other than the Director to enforce a maintenance order filed with the Director when enforcement is taking place on behalf of the Director in a reciprocating jurisdiction; and

(b) authorizes a recipient, who has obtained the Director’s consent, to take additional enforcement measures on the same parts of the filed maintenance order being enforced by the Director.

Clause 3 creates a new category of persons known as “investigators” who must gather information, including video surveillance, under the direction of the Director to enforce maintenance orders.

Clause 4

(a) adds the requirement that every maintenance order forwarded for filing with the Director be accompanied by current contact information for the parties; and

(b) authorizes the Director to request from, and the prothonotary or officer of the court to provide, the financial information relative to the parties to a filed maintenance order.

Clause 5 clarifies that support orders, and not maintenance orders, are made pursuant to the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, and recognizes that these support orders can be made by either a court or an administrative tribunal.

Clause 6 provides that where a recipient, without the Director’s consent, is taking measures to enforce a maintenance order, the Director may decide not to enforce the order.

Clause 7 authorizes the Director to enforce a maintenance order notwithstanding that an arrangement or a revised arrangement is in place for the making of payments required by the order.

Clause 8

(a) authorizes the Director to receive funds in excess of the amount necessary to pay an enforced maintenance order and provides for the distribution of the excess funds;

(b) requires the Director to provide a payment statement when enforcing an order upon receiving a request from a court, a prothonotary or an officer of the court; and

(c) requires the Director to provide a current payment statement when it is requested.

Clause 9 authorizes the issuance of a garnishment for the amount of arrears, of future maintenance obligations if the payor is in persistent arrears and of costs and fees.

Clause 10 simplifies the process related to enforcing a garnishment order or other similar document issued outside Nova Scotia by removing the requirement that the Director issue a Nova Scotia garnishment for the document received, and authorizes the Director to serve the document received.

Clause 11 expands the authority of the Director to seize money in a payor’s deposit account and to issue an order for the seizure and sale of the payor’s real or personal property to satisfy persistent arrears on a maintenance order.

Clause 12 clarifies that the variation of a maintenance order does not affect the priority of a lien filed with respect to the order.

Clause 13 sets out the actions that can be taken against the payor by the Director and the Registrar of Motor Vehicles when a payor is in arrears on payment of a maintenance order.

Clause 14

(a) expands the list of information that may be collected by the Director relating to a payor or a payor’s spouse;

(b) adds law enforcement agencies to the list of entities the Director can order information from for the enforcement of a maintenance order; and

(c) prohibits the investigator from issuing an order for the production of information.

Clause 15 identifies the persons who must disclose, at the Director’s request, information held by the court.

Clause 16

(a) expands the list of circumstances when the Director may disclose confidential information obtained pursuant to the Maintenance Enforcement Act; and

(b) authorizes the Director to impose disclosure conditions on persons to whom the confidential information is provided.

Clause 17 establishes an offence and penalty for persons who fail to comply with confidential information disclosure conditions imposed by the Director.

Clause 18 authorizes the Director to examine a defaulting payor by electronic method.

Clause 19 authorizes the Director to take additional steps to obtain financial information from the payor if the payor fails to appear on an examination.

Clause 20 requires the payor and recipient to advise the Director of a change of address and electronic contact address.

Clause 21 authorizes the Director to provide certain documents to the payor and recipient by mail and electronic transmission.

Clause 22 clarifies that orders made pursuant to the Maintenance Enforcement Act by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia may be appealed to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

Clause 23 provides for the holding of money collected by the Director, the transfer of the funds to the Minister of Finance and the disbursement of the funds.

Clause 24 provides for the Director’s fees and costs to be a debt to the Province.

Clause 25 corrects a cross-reference.

Clause 26 provides transitional provisions.

Clause 27 makes a consequential amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act.

Clause 28 provides for this Act to come into force on proclamation.