Phase 2 of the Survey of Child Support Awards: Final Report



On May 1, 1997, the Federal Child Support Guidelines came into effect with the amendments to the Divorce Act. (The amendments to the Income Tax Act concerning the tax treatment of child support payments took effect on the same date.) The amendments to the Divorce Act required the Minister of Justice to review the operation of the Guidelines and report to Parliament before May 1, 2002. This report has now been tabled in Parliament.[1]

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force on Implementation of the Child Support Reforms established a Research and Evaluation Subcommittee to help develop the comprehensive program of socio-legal research to support the review required by the 1997 Divorce Act amendments. Given the profound change in the way child support order amounts are calculated under the Guidelines, the Task Force and the Research Subcommittee members agreed that the first research priority was to collect information about support orders and variation orders made on or after May 1, 1997. This analysis is based on data reported from the project's inception, and provides analysis of ongoing periodic collection of information from the courts designed to monitor the use of Child Support Guidelines in Canada and their implementation in family law cases across the country.

This report summarizes the interim findings of Phase 2 of the project, which began in the fall of 1998. The report presents the results of the analysis of data collected from the fall of 1998 through November 14, 2003. This report does not include any data from Quebec or Nunavut.

Highlights of the findings of Phase 2 data are as follows: