Ontario website aims to shame deadbeat parents
Deadbeat dads and moms in Ontario could face a new embarrassment as the province aims to shame them into paying outstanding family support by posting their pictures online.
Ontario's Family Responsibility Office has more than 180,000 active cases of deadbeat spouses with over $1 billion owing in child support.
Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said the site is just one more tool to track down parents who don't live up to their legal and moral obligations.
"My message is, why should children pay because you don't pay?" Meilleur said Friday.
"And this website will be an extra tool to find you, and we hope we will."
So far, Alberta is the only province with a similar website. It started posting photos of deadbeat parents seven years ago.
So far, the "Help us Find" website has proven extremely effective, said Manuel da Costa, the executive director of Alberta Justice's maintenance enforcement program.
"We've been ableto findjust over 60 per centof the200 photos we've published during the program," da Costa told CBC News Friday.
'You're losing whatever dignity you've got left'
It worked for Sandra Mayr-Corden, a single mother in Port Perry, Ont., who used the internet to go after her ex-husband who owed her tens of thousands of dollars in child support.
After she posted his photo on a website, she said he spotted it and didn't like it.
"That was his worst thing,' Mayr-Corden told CBC News. "[He said]'You've got to take the poster down. It's ruining me, ruining my job, ruining everything.' I said, 'Well, pay up.'"
She said he did.
But support groups for non-custodial parents argue the website is an invasion of privacy and counter-productive.
"You're losing whatever dignity you've got left," said Stacy Robbs, the president of Dads Canada, told CBC News onFriday.
"And you are going to go out and try to get a job. It's like advertising, 'This guy is a deadbeat.' So right away your prospective employer thinks, 'Well, he doesn't pay his child support. Maybe he won't come to work on time.'"
The Ontario website won't be up and running until late February, giving those behind on their child support payments a few more weeks to pay before seeing their photo on the internet.