Alberta targets 'most wanted' dads on revamped website
Alberta has placed photos of its 10 most wanted "deadbeat dads" online as part of a new interactive map that is meant to help track down parents owing child support.
The redesigned website was launched Thursday and has a photo gallery and names of 10 men the province describes as the "worst debtors" in Alberta. The men were chosen on the basis of several criteria, including the amount in arrears and the number of months in debt.
Combined, the 10 fathers owe $1.6 million in child support, with the top offender alone owing $1.2 million.
Users can also search for wanted deadbeat parents by region or city. The website not only has photos and descriptions of the parent, but also information about the last known address and occupation.
"We are not talking [about] people who understand their responsibility and may be having some difficulty paying. We have systems in place to deal with that," said Alison Redford, minister of justice and attorney general.
"What we are talking about here — and it's been my experience in private practice — is people who intentionally go off the grid because they want to avoid the responsibilities and they are breaching court orders that require them to pay child support to pay for their children."
Anyone with tips for the authorities is asked to call (780) 201-8477 or submit them online.
However, visitors to the website on Thursday encountered error messages or lengthy delays in loading the front page.
'Deadbeats' first featured online in 2000
The province's maintenance enforcement program has special investigation units, which can conduct surveillance and order debtors to appear for hearings. Its members work on difficult cases across the province.
Deadbeat parents can have money taken from their wages, bank accounts, GST rebates, income tax refunds, employment insurance benefits and pension payments. Their personal assets can be seized, liens placed on their property, and their driver's licences and registration withheld.
The program manages almost 50,000 files per month, and serves about 100,000 clients and more than 65,000 children.
Alberta first started putting photos of deadbeat parents online in 2000. The site has helped the province find about 200 parents who owed child support,