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Revamped site targets child-support defaulters

There’s no bailout for child-support defaulters in Alberta despite the global economic downturn.

There’s no bailout for child-support defaulters in Alberta despite the global economic downturn.

On Thursday, Justice Minister Alison Redford unveiled a redesigned 10-year-old website to help crack down on thousands of child-support defaulters across the province by having citizens tip off the government anonymously.

“Paying child support in full and on time is a responsibility and not an option,” Redford said.

Since 2000, more than 330 debtors have been posted on the website.

More than 200 debtors have been located and referred to Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP), the group that administers the website.

Last year, MEP collected more than $212 million from debtors previously posted on the website, according to a spokesperson for the program.

Debtors wind up on the website if they owe at least six months of arrears, fail to attend a default hearing or have assets and employment that cannot be found.

Once child-support defaulters are located and their financial circumstances have been disclosed to MEP, said Reford, they’re rem­oved from the website.

There are currently 48,000 active files, said MEP, with the worst debtor owing $1.2 million.

 
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