Nova Scotia

Premier Stephen McNeil wants support from premiers on child support

When Canada's premiers gather in Newfoundland next week, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says his main sticking point will be about child support and deadbeat parents.

More than $60M of child support payments in arrears; 65 per cent who owe are outside province

Premier Stephen McNeil says too many parents owing child support payments are able to leave Nova Scotia without consequences. But, he says the trouble is knowing how to track them down. (CBC)

When Canada's premiers gather in Newfoundland next week, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says his main sticking point will be about child support and deadbeat parents.

McNeil says he will be voicing his concerns that too many people are skipping out on their child support payments and that it's too easy to hide out by leaving the province. 

Right now, more than $60 million of child support payments are in arrears in Nova Scotia, and 65 per cent of those who owe money are not in the province — up from 58 per cent in 2014.

"We need to make sure that when the court determines a particular parent owes maintenance for their children, that we have put in place all the protocols required to ensure that maintenance is paid regardless of what province or where that person is working," said McNeil.

Chasing after child support payments — or maintenance enforcement — is back in the spotlight after a Nova Scotia judge recently issue​d a warrant for the arrest of Vrege Armoyan, a Halifax developer who left the country before being found guilty of failing to pay $1.7 million dollars in child and spousal support.

The provincial government is looking to tighten up the rules to force those who shirk their responsibilities to pay up. 

Although maintenance orders can be enforced outside the province where the caregiving parent lives, the challenge is tracking down the deadbeats.

McNeil thinks it should be easier, which is why he's trying to enlist the help of the other first ministers.

"Making sure there's no impediments across jurisdictions when it comes to enforcing child maintenance enforcement orders," said McNeil.

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