What’s The Family Responsibility Office?
What’s The Family Responsibility Office?
The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) was established by the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act (the FRSAEA). FRO is mandated to strictly enforce Support Orders in the Province of Ontario. FRO will collect amounts owed under Support Orders and ensure that support is paid to the person to whom the amounts are owed.
The program becomes involved in a case generally speaking (a) when a Court makes a Support Order or (b) when you or your spouse files a domestic contract containing support provisions with an Ontario Court.
When making an order for support, an Ontario Court will, at the same time, issue a Support Deduction Order (SDO). An SDO is an order which allows FRO to require that a payor’s “income source(s)”deduct support payments from the income of the payor. The SDO contains crucial information, such as the addresses of the recipient and the payor, the name and address of the payor’s income source(s) and the payor’s social insurance number. The SDO is then sent directly to FRO. FRO staff then uses the information contained in the SDO together with its powers, to attempt to collect support monies from the payor’s “income source(s).”
FRO can demand records from any person which includes a corporation or public body. In addition, FRO can access all records in the possession of any government of Ontario office, board, commission or agency to search for records concerning payors. FRO can also enter into an agreement with other provinces to obtain similar information. So, if a recipient knows of any records that might be in the possession of any person or corporation, private or government (i.e. a payor’s solicitor, an insurance broker or company, a bank or trust company etc.), inform FRO.
FRO may use any enforcement mechanism necessary to enforce Support Orders or Support Deduction Orders if the payor defaults on their payments. Below, while not exhaustive, are examples of some of the measures FRO may take to enforce Support Orders.
FRO can garnish wages, pensions, bank accounts, rents, amounts owed to the payor by the Federal Government and other amounts owed to the payor from third parties.
FRO can file a notice claiming a lien and charge under the Personal Property Security Act as against any interest the payor might have in personal property. So, if the payor owns a car, for example, the FRO can register a “lien” against the car, and if there are arrears of support, the FRO could possibly seize and sell the car to collect the monies. So inform the FRO if a payor owns any property at all. Another significant power is FRO’s authority to direct the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to suspend a payor’s Driver’s Licence if he or she is in arrears.
FRO may also report the name of a payor and other information to credit bureaus, making it difficult for defaulting payors to obtain loans, mortgages or any other kind of credit. As well, FRO may refer a case to a collection agency for collection.
In addition, another enforcement remedy available to FRO, although only used in rare circumstances, is the arrest, and following a default hearing, possible imprisonment of the payor.
FRO was established to respond to the high rates of default on support payments in Ontario. The failure of payors to meet their obligations under orders for support has significant detrimental effects on the often vulnerable parties to whom they are owed. As such the FRSAEA has afforded FRO a great deal of authority to enforce delinquent support payments.
For more information on FRO visit their web site at:
Or contact them directly at:
24 Hour Automated Information Line
(416) 326 1818 or 1 800-276-7263
Customer Service Unit
(416)-243-1909 or 1 888-851-2757
Enforcement Call Centre
(416) 326-1817 or 1 800-267-4330
Fax Number for Correspondence
(416) 240 – 2401
Mailing Address For Correspondence
(Not for financial payments)
Family Responsibility Office
P.O. Box 220
Downsview, Ontario, M3M 3A3
Mailing Address For Financial Payments
(not for correspondence)
The Director, Family Responsibility Office
P.O. Box 2240, Station P
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3E