Albertans owe some $573 million in family support payments, according to the CBC.
The report said that 66 per cent of all case files are in arrears in Alberta. It is one of the highest such bills in Canada — $3.7 billion is past due across the country. Nearly two-thirds of all support orders in Canada are in arrears.
Barb Barber, Women’s Outreach executive director in Red Deer, said unpaid child support puts a financial strain on the custodial parent and has direct implications on the quality of life for the children and that shouldn’t be when the responsibility of the children is on both parents.
“Definitely that is a concern of some of the folks who seek services,” she said. “Child support when it is not consistent or when it is absent causes a huge strain on the financial level of the family. That’s always been an issue. That does affect our clients and the people that we serve.”
Barber said whichever parent is paying child support, they have to remember that this is for the children and the support is helping to provide for their children.
Amanda Ens, community facilitator for the City of Red Deer, said a living wage for single parents in Red Deer is very high.
She said a single person would need to work 40 hours a week at $14.75 per hour to earn enough money for a decent and dignified life.
“This figure does not allow a family with one child to ever own their own home,” she said. “This figure also does not account for maintenance payments. In conducting our research, we chose not to include maintenance payments, based on two reasons — they are unreliable sources of income and there is significant disparity in amounts received per household.”