A commentary on Alberta's Maintenance Enforcement Program

by Mark Zaugg 23. November 2009 23:30

On Friday, November 20, 2009 the Executive Director of the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program, Manuel da Costa, was interviewed on the Calgary Eyeopener

The interview was preceded by an unfortunate woman who was having difficulty collecting child support from the father of her child.  She had lost her apartment and had to move back with her parents.  The father was, in her story, doing drugs and avoiding his role as parent to the child.  It's a disturbing story, a compelling story, and not at all unrealistic to be exactly as she portrayed. 

The interview itself was framed around the $2.5 billion dollars owed to parents in arrears.  The interview may be available from the Eyeopener website, available only in Real Audio format.  I make no promises if it will be available or for how long. 

I was angry.  Even before the interview I started firing off tweets of complaint on twitter to @eyeopenerbob. 

@eyeopenerbob Hold up! I'm a "beat dead" dad. I'm living in poverty paying child support for my kids. I have reported MEP for abusing me 
@eyeopenerbob There is endless frustration dealing with a mindless, heartless bureaucracy that hides behind cherry picked stats and no... 
@eyeopenerbob no responsibility for their own abuse or the abysmal way they treat parents - BOTH parents. 
@eyeopenerbob They do not live up to their own code of conduct. I want fairness and balance. I expect none. 
@eyeopenerbob Please, PLEASE stop using the term "deadbeat" parents. It's a huge black brush tarring everyone with a strawman argument. 
@eyeopenerbob There is an entire department in place to enforce the financial half of the court order. Where is enforcement of the rest? 
@eyeopenerbob How about the way MEP throws out penalties for late payments? I'm struggling enough. Penalties just add to my burden. 

At this point, the interview started.  Some of these tweets are direct rebuttals at Mr. da Costa's comments. 

@eyeopenerbob How about the equity behind the statistics? How valid are they? You cross the line, you get tarred and there is hell to pay 
@eyeopenerbob "No matter how much pressure we put on them." The first thing that happens is they take your license. 
@eyeopenerbob They have a single big hammer and slam it down relentlessly. 
@eyeopenerbob They go after anything and everything. If you don't fit into their preset pattern, they assume you're a "deadbeat." 
@eyeopenerbob NONSENSE! I talk to them and I get abused on the phone or told, "You have to meet your resonsibility." 
@eyeopenerbob Payment arrangement? Pay now, pay by direct withdrawal, or we're going after you HARD. 
@eyeopenerbob Money is enforced. The rest of the court order does not matter. I don't have the money to cause enforcement. 
AWGH. Odds of me getting back to sleep after THAT interview are nil. Might as well get on with the day. 

It was not an easy interview to listen to.  Mr. da Costa sounds very suave and makes the situation seem unfathomable that anyone could possibly be in arrears without willfully cheating the system or lying to the Collections Officer.  I know very well the situation on the ground is very different and the treatment I have received from MEP most definitely does not meet their mission statement or their values statement.

I have personally run across Mr. da Costa previously.  When I complained about exceptionally poor treatment I received at the hands of the Maintenance Enforcement Program's Collection Officers, the end result was that my concerns were brushed away and the 'apology' I received from Mr. da Costa was, "We're sorry that you feel that way."  It is, without doubt, the least sincere non-apology I have ever received in my life.

So when I heard him in an interview talk about how fair they were to debtors and how easy it was to set up payment arrangements with the department I was very upset and cynical.

Happily, I received the message, "Thanks for the note.  Could one of our show producers call you for your side of this story?"  Absolutely, yes.

My story is long and complicated, like pretty much every single other divorce story out there.  It's filled with two villains and two heroes (both the same people, by the way) and is virtually impossible to fit into a ten minute description.  My encounter with MEP runs just about as long as my separation and is every bit as complicated.  After trying to explain as much as possible, the producer asked if I would consider writing a commentary in response to Mr. da Costa.  The script I wrote follows the clip.

This isn't about paying Child Support, this isn't about my divorce, this is about the horribly shoddy treatment meted out by the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program - to both parents.  They've done a terrible job as an organization, reform is warranted and long-past due.

zaugg_commentary23nov09.mp3 (2.65 mb)

I am a divorced father of two and pay child support monthly. Parents who do not pay their allotted child support anger me, because they make my dealings with the Maintenance Enforcement Program much more difficult.
On Friday's Eyeopener, Manuel da Costa said that in times of financial distress, one could simply call the MEP and make payment arrangements. My experience has been quite different from what he described. When hard times have come and I have had to speak to a Collections Officer at MEP, I am at their mercy. The majority try to be helpful and cooperative, but I have been treated unfairly and discourteously when I felt I most needed help.
When experiencing financial hardship, I have been held under a suspicious microscope, accused of hiding money, accused of dodging my responsibility to my children. I have not been offered payment plans, I have been threatened with the withdrawal of my driver's license and garnishee of my wages.
Collection Officers are brusk, rude and sometimes offensive towards me. Those same people are polite and professional when speaking with my lawyer or payroll manager.
The amount of arrears owed to parents is staggering. That number comes from the court orders in the divorce or separation process. The Maintenance Enforcement Program actively and aggressively enforces the court-ordered child support payments. But there is no government program for the non-financial part of the court order. If non-custodial parents are having problems such as access to their children, their only recourse is expensive legal help.
Mr. da Costa minimizes how difficult it can be to have meaningful, significant communication with the MEP. By focusing on only financial issues, the MEP has a very narrow view of the issues at hand, and great power to enforce collection. It isn't working well for either custodial or non-custodial parents. It is time for a meaningful discussion on the program as a whole.

For the Calgary Eyeopener, I'm Mark Zaugg.


Comments (141) -

12/9/2009 7:19:38 PM #

if you have no job, few assets and no income (a position in which former oil & gas CEO's, retired cops, farmers and pharmacists can find themselves) MEP has you over a barrel. In my case, they placed writs on my few possessions, forced surrender of my passport, suspensed my driver's license and registration (meaning I could not insure my leased vehicle) etc. etc. Plus, you aren't even allowed an Alberta ID card --- which essentially means that you can't cash a cheque, open a bank account or provide ID to an airline. My debt is only a few thousand dollars, but trying to find a job without a car for interviews is tough. If I get one, MEP requires that I ask HR to write 2 paycheques - 40% for MEP and the net balance (likely less than their 40%) for me. The entire concept is illogical. They do everything possible to prevent you from working to earn money to pay a debt that you are not disputing.

Mike | Reply

1/25/2012 2:21:08 PM #

I am in the same boat. I just want to pay my disputed debt for my children. But little do my children know i don't have the right to bank, drive, vote or travel because i had them and i want to give them money. It is craziness. No employer you go to wants to deal with garnishing because they then think you're a bum.

JEff Canada | Reply

2/26/2017 1:37:58 PM #

Having observed the mep process from afar, i think this is bs.  The amount of opportunities given to satisfy the debt before they take steps to garnish is laughable.  I am unaware of any other organization that would provide so much time to pass before taking action.  Try not paying your mortgage for months- think the banks accept a 10/month payment plan?.  You decide to have children.  Be responsible and support them.

m | Reply

2/27/2017 4:33:33 PM #

I agree... my ex owes me several thousand dollars just because he decides to be a jerk every year or so and not pay. Try being a single parent working your ass of and unable to pay child care so you can work because the other parent with the six figure income takes a break from making payments.

AJ | Reply

9/19/2017 4:43:57 PM #

Does the government impose upon you as a custodial parent a court order directing that you shall spend X number of dollars on your kid per month based on line 150 of your tax return + "special expenses too" or else be punished?  Do you have laughable parental rights (the term joint custody isn't worth the paper it's written on) as most non custodial parents do?  Do you get your child tax credit $$$ deposited on the 20th of each month to spend as you wish while an involved non custodial parent gets squat, pays his own parenting expenses, and also pays the tax on the child support money he gives to you?  Perhaps if you negotiated a fair amount of child support out of court with your six figure ex instead of relying on the charts, he'd feel better knowing you were co-parenting instead of profiting.  The Canadian Child Support Charts would have never seen the light of day except the 1990's Liberals took advantage of a PR opportunity after they won a Supreme Court Case upholding the CRA's right to tax CS payments as income.  The Liberal's crafty way to deal with the media backlash and negative publicity from women's groups was to take advantage of the situation and take the screws to non custodial parents.    Those stolen tax refunds from non custodial parents were given instead to the provinces to fund MEP programs and the provinces were more than happy to sign up to a new federal system that sent them more cash.  The Canadian CS guidelines are pretty lucrative if you have a six figure ex and > 60% custody.  Who wouldn't want an ex to pay their mortgage for 20 years? I sure as heck wouldn't complain if I was a custodial parent with a six figure ex who pays through MEP as ordered!!  Those charts cause bitterness, resentment, and I've yet to see them "ease tension" between parties, which is their stated goal! LOL  

Mr. Truth | Reply

5/4/2018 2:01:03 PM #

Agreed.I won't get into the nitty gritty of my issue but my ex has been anything but easy or compliant with the court ordered support. We have to return every year to recalculate as he constantly lies about his income each and every year. A cost that far exceeds the support ordered. MEP does try their best to advocate for me and my ex currently has a garnishment order in place but in order to get that we had to go all the way to a default hearing. So while I understand the plight of some of you that have struggled with MEP, what I don't understand is the reasoning that just because the children may reside with parent "a" (mom in most cases) why parent "b" (father normally) should be held above the law and given a fiancial break when it comes down to supporting children both parties I will assume for arguments sake, you agreed to have together. Just because your relationship ended doesn't mean it negates your financial responsibility as a parent.

I can 100% assure you the amount my ex paid in support didn't even come close to covering a 1/4 of what raising our chold cost a month.

I think many of you focus the blame on MEP, yet they are following their guidelines with respect to collection on overdue accounts. If your amount you pay is to high due to a change in circumstances then get your butt back to court and prove it to them using what ever means they may ask for. If you stall and delay and ignore the issue how in the world is that MEPS fault. A variance to an order to decrease it cant be done by MEP and they notify both creditors and debtors of that fact. Stop delaying, my brother isnt a lawyer he's a mechanic and hes also a single father who has quite successfully navigated the family courts self representing and been very very successful.

I know from personal experience if youre at the level for MEP to seize your passport, license, bank account etc. you've been either ignoring their attempts to contact you, not replying to their requests for your financial statement or you've just chosen to ignore the order as opposed to paying it. Before they take your license for example, as in my exs case he was given written notice 31 days prior to it happening to make a payment arrancement. MEP isn't flawed, nor should they be abolished. What would ensure that the dead beat parents in fact pay for their children.

Sorry, I do understand that many of you have had issues but you need to self advocate and get back to court. Not bash MEP. They are trying to do a difficult job.

JL | Reply

5/1/2013 12:23:36 PM #

I have no money owed to the my agreement with the my Son,his Mother and the (Court order).  MEP is bullying me to pay their fees 1256.11 or so.  I have been trying to, for over a year to negotiate a settlement.  They say no and continue to add $25 a month and every once in a while the hit me with a (Statement of fiances) charge of 200.

MEP is a Bully and should be thrown in Jail.

Bill Ellis Canada | Reply

2/7/2017 10:53:02 PM #

My husband is in the same boat(lost his job in the oil and gas massacre)  and just lost his licence, registration and now has a writ against his few assets.  His ex has no children to support and is working and making money.  Do you know how long will it be before he loses his passport?

Elle | Reply

2/8/2017 2:21:03 AM #

He's already in trouble if he's lost his license.

Your first step is to contact MEP and get a conversation started about his situation.  Only his, the ex has nothing to do with it for now.  He may need to set up a payment plan - that can be nice and vague, but the MEP will want to see something in place.

That should be enough to get him started on getting back on his feet.  The MEP ought to lift his license restrictions if they can be convinced he's on the up and up (and revoking his passport should hopefully never come into play).

As I advise everyone, be truthful, be factual, be polite and be to the point.  As MEP says they will not tolerate abuse, do not accept abuse from their collection agents either.  They are supposed to serve him as well.  If you need help, contact ECMAS (www.ecmas.org) in Edmonton or MESA (www.mesacalgary.com) in Calgary.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

1/31/2010 7:12:08 PM #

My partner and I have learned that MEP is a law unto themselves.  Several months ago my partner was granted a Stay of Enforcement for 3 months while he looked for work.  MEP was served with the Order and didn't say anything.  Just before the 3 months was up they sent us an arrears notice in full, ignored the Order and took away his license.  MEP said they didn't have to obey the Order as they are a Federal program.   To top it all off because the Order had expired he had to go through their Mediation program.  What a joke.  Afterwards he got a bill for $589 for a one time fee; no explanation.  Now we are in a position where he was laid off January 4/10, but has been accepted into a training program for February 15/10.  He doesn't have his January payment and he knows that MEP will not offer any alternatives, except to take his license.  Hopefully he can finish his course before they do that as it is his Class 1 training.  

Sandra | Reply

3/25/2010 11:03:54 PM #

Zaugg, I would like to "mobilize" discontent of MEP.  What do you think we should do?  I know a couple of guys who feel the same but no one does anything except pay and whine.  Where is our backbone?  email crljones [at] yahoo.com

crljones | Reply

4/1/2010 3:13:07 AM #

MEP only looked at one side of the evidences.  I didn't know my ex. file through MEP and requested child support from me.  I deposited the child support payment to my ex wife's bank account every month.  I provided MEP email my ex. send to me request me to pay for child support and her account number, deposit slips made to her account, bank's location where she opened the account and the bank I deposited in.  MEP turned around and said information provided is not good.  They can't verify with the bank to prove the account number. This its redicious, according to the bank institution they have to release information to government or court order.  

They kept saying the program is fair. What fairness are they talking about? No one replied you when you called or you email.  They completely ignored all debtor and treated us like ***.  They can obtained all the court enforcement against you but never obtain a letter to prove the evidence you submitted.  

Is there anyone out there have any suggestions?  This its a long battle, I had been deal with them for 3 months.  

Andy | Reply

4/9/2010 5:46:23 PM #

Whoa, Andy!  STOP!

Perhaps you missed my point - or you understand it all too well.  These people are not your friends, they don't care about you or your problems or your situation.

It's painful to hear, but MEP did not listen to one side of the evidence.  They looked at the court order in front of them and enforce according to how they interpret it.  They don't care what you have to say, they don't care what your ex has to say, they only care about the court order.  That's a good thing - except they only enforce the financial half of the court order and that means you are targeted alone.

Step one:  Start making your payments through MEP immediately.  Treat any money that's been spent already as temporarily lost.  By and by you should recover it.

Step two:  Get help.  Real help, you cannot do this alone and battling MEP is counter productive.  Get a lawyer, get in touch with a men's group - send me an email and I'll help you out as much as I can.

I was warned by my lawyer from the outset about your situation - why you weren't is a terrible shame.  Many people have been through it before, it's a known situation.  Get active, get solving it and stop wasting energy butting heads against a department that doesn't care.  You have a long, tough road ahead, start focusing your energy where you have an easier time getting returns.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

4/7/2012 12:39:50 AM #

Hey Mark,
I noticed you mentioned men's groups. I have tried everything. I currently have 5 children between my wife and I and am trying to support 2 from a previous relationship. They have taken my license, my tax returns, my whole life. I can barely work without a license in a place runs by the rigs, and am struggling to support this family let alone my other 2. I have spoken to lawyers and they all say the same thing, they don't care about the kids at home, only about the ones in the order. I have signed over wages and lost my job because they said after 3 months of payments I would get my license back, and they did not keep their word and w/o my license, my boss couldn't keep me on board being chauffeured to job sites. I am stuck and the hole is only getting deeper. I need help and have run out of places and people to turn to. So if you know of anyone/a group in grande prairie I can talk to I would really appreciate it. Hope to hear back.

Lee Koenen Canada | Reply

4/7/2012 8:25:26 AM #

The toughest part of forming a "men's group" around this falls specifically in the realm that we tend to spend all our time fighting and scraping and struggling to get through and we don't tend to band together, often through lack of time and energy.  I say "men's group" because it's not really just men, usually it's our second wives, mothers, sisters and friends who support us and a "men's group" is often filled with as many women as men.

When it ends, we're tired and burnt out and just happy that we can finally pick up what's left of our lives and try to re-establish ourselves.  We have to play catch-up and prepare for retirement, but we're doing so after our prime earning years.  I want to point out we don't all rise up the pay scale as we near retirement - some of the assumptions made by "the powers that be" are abysmal and wound some of us horribly.

In the smallest of degrees - and in ABSOLUTELY NO WAY is this meant to minimize your situation - I have found the MEP to be a little bit more receptive to guys in your scenario.  But it takes endless persistence, endless patience and you have to bite your tongue more than most.

This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about when I criticize Mr. de Costa's words that us guys only have to call the MEP and inform them of our situation.  The entire department can be willfully deaf, dumb and blind until you place it in front of them in start black and white.

Waste their time.  Tell them over and over again of your scenario.  Be polite, be firm, do not stop.

They make a big noise about taking away your license, but there is only silence when they give it back.  I had to call three times before I had ANYONE up there polite enough to say they actually gave my license back a month previously.  They used stupid language - something to the effect that they withdrew the revocation -  that made it even harder to know what the hell was going on.

We have an election right now.  Get in front of all the candidates for MLA and tell each of them your story.  Make a point of it.  Treating second families different than first families is obscene.  That's a legislative problem.  Find anyone who's willing to listen and talk.

After all that, I'm going to mention one nice thing about the MEP.  They will actually tell you of any men's groups willing to help, but you have to ask them explicitly.  They tend to be stingy on offering help - but you know that already.

I don't know the state of organization in Edmonton, I'd be surprised if there was more than a handful of guys organizing in Grande Prairie.  On the other hand, about half of marriages end in divorce and you are NOT the only one going through this on your own.  Let's find each other, start talking about the hell we get put through, and help each other out more.

I'm staying right here, by the way.  May not be able to give advice, but I can share my experiences.

  - Mark

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

6/20/2012 6:04:11 PM #

Is there anything we can really do? Im paying to much and have lost three apartments in the last three yrs.Forced  to live in my vehicle.im emotionaly drained........there only seems to be one answer out.

tony Canada | Reply

6/8/2016 8:41:19 PM #

My spouse has the same issues been addressed here. Im committed to attacking these problem. I agree mep is sexist. Maybe the parent that can support children while in their care should have custody. Its not for supporting children but why do you have to support to households.your already paying and supporting while they are with you.anyway i have file a complaint mep the obsurman and the mla i have also emailed cbc marketplace to bring more attention so mep practices and abuse that is happening to so many. I will continue as far as i have to. There is also an online petention to show support  
On taking action on mep please sign it fathers website mep debutes. There is already 159 lets make this happen.we can change this.

Heather Mcvicar | Reply

1/16/2013 2:10:33 PM #

I fully agree its counterproductive, its time to bring lawmakers into this fight, and change MEP's ability to stop a human being from being able to make a living and to take away their human rights, we should start a movement to do exactly that. Email me.

Santino Canada | Reply

4/25/2010 1:35:32 AM #

Hi, well, I have no kids, I married a filipina, after 3 years of being verbaly and physically abused, and her cheating, getting pregnant by her bf, I left. I then tried many times to offer a settlement, as much as 40k, she lawyer(lyer'd) up, I went to court thinking it was a joke for her to go for child support, cuz the kids were not mine, to by disbelief, the judge ignored the fact that she purgured herself 3 times, lying about her expense report( 5500/month) while living for free at her bf's home, saying he wasnt helping her financially, and that she was living off her(maxed) credit cards. The thing is, I study law, I put alot of time ito it, and I also run a business, the reason why they can take your licence, bank account, and passport, is because the have owned it all along, these are corporations made by the Gov, in your likeness, without full disclosure, and any contractthout full disclosure is null and void ab nesio, there is a way to correct it through a claim of right, and by claiming each individual tight. I fired my lawyer, because I did not want to be a ward of the state, I want to go to court pro se, ( on my own) which is a right I claim.

alex | Reply

8/8/2010 5:52:41 PM #

I have been a non-resident of Canada since Jan 2007, I had made my child support payments via another province(where I resided before moving overseas) program that was linked to Alberta MEP.
Granted the child support was reduced by the Alberta court in 2000 due to costs associated with visitation. I just now find that the payments have stopped and Alberta MEP wants complete finacial disclosure, how is this possible?
Since I am an expate what should I do? I will only pay through the MEP otherwise I will consider it "lost monies", yet my Ex has given me no information or contacts.
I only recently recieved the letter threatening $2000 3 months jail for non-compliance, which is already over three months old.
Will I be jailed if I enter Canada? will I be charged $2000 because she didn't supply the MEP my proper address?
What should I do?

Shaun | Reply

8/8/2010 11:19:11 PM #


I'm not a lawyer and I don't have advice specific to your situation.  Particularly when you're dealing with different jurisdictions you have to understand you have a very complicated situation.

First, be careful about what you post publicly.  It can only bring you harm.

Second, everything in my experience says that the MEP is a heartless, brainless bureaucracy.  As I've stated, they only care about the financial side of the court order and they will interpret it as they wish and you will have to deal with the fallout whether you are in the right or in the wrong.

Soo...  As far as MEP is concerned, you are strictly and completely in the wrong if you do not get child support to them on the date in your court order.  You must get that fixed immediately.  Next, how can it possibly by someone else's responsibility to provide your proper address to MEP?  That's your own responsibility.  Fix that yourself, now.  Don't rely on anyone else to do the right thing.  If you have no contact information for your ex - let MEP figure that out.  The money's going through them first anyways.  Worry about your situation now.

Absolutely and most importantly, you must document every single thing you've done and are doing now.  Everything.  Your notes have to be meticulous.  Names and times of each contact.  Document *precisely* what was said.  Get into action at once.

In all honestly, your best bet is to get professional help.  Lawyers are ridiculously expensive, but they know what they're doing and MEP will treat them respectfully.  When I have tried to deal with MEP directly, I am regularly treated with scorn and contempt.

Tread very carefully, they probably consider you guilty of violating your court order and that is all they care about.  Your first step is to right that, then protect yourself from ever letting it happen again.  Then don't stop working until we've fixed this lunacy.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

12/12/2012 6:45:12 PM #

I have to first start right off by stating what I think of MEP. I am a recipient and not the payor. Although I feel for some of the respondents that are currently battling MEP over arrears I have to impress that some deserve what is handed to them. I have been engrossed in my own battle with my ex/MEP and not overly impressed with either or so my thoughts are very biased.

I have twin girls with my ex. The twins are now 4, I left their father while they were 2 after years of emotional and sporatic physical abuse. After I left their father he became incessed with stalker behavior, emotional and verbally abusive.  After countless text messages and phone calls the RCMP charged with unlawful harassment and stalking. Things had become unbearable for me and the 4 children in my care. In one year the ex had accumulated over 7 charges and 4 breaches. I moved twice over the course of the year in order to find peace for myself and children. During this time a verbal agreement, put forth by him, not me, would see him paying $1200 amonth. I readily agreed to this because I wanted to keep stress levels low for the children and I. Over the course of 8 months that this agreement was struck, my ex had huge difficulties keeping up to his end of the bargin and it became difficult for me to keep a budget which caused a devestating chain reaction for me. My landlord became upset because I wasn't paying my rent on time and started the eviction process. My bills were a hit or miss, I was maxing out my cr. card just to pay rent and keep food on the table. I made a small income waitressing in a very small town with no childcare readily available, I struggled but made do.

After several run ins with the ex after he moved to the town I was living in that saw him charged with breaches, the RCMP recommended I move, which I did. I also secured a lawyer and started courts proceedings in order to have an agreement enforcable through MEP. I really didn't care if he was ordered $5 a month, a court order would mean I WOULD NEVER HAVE TO REQUEST MOENY FROM HIM AGAIN. I wanted no communication with him in any regards and thus would ensure that would be possible. I was awarded child support and child care costs.

During all this my ex struggled with the no communication order, questioning the children to the point my older ones didn't want to visit with him, I was dropping off and picking up in fron of the RCMP detachments, basically unbearable. It was almost like he was obsessed with making my life hard. It seemed like he didn't care about his children, just cared about messing with me. All through this I worked 2 jobs and was taking training in order to enter a different career that would see me working within the construction field driving truck without his help be it support payments or his part of the childcare costs.

Eventully I ended up with a job that saw me working 6 days a week, 14 hours a day with 2hrs travel time total for commute. My children were up at 4:30am and never saw home again until well after 8pm. My childcare costs and taxes saw 90% of my income gone.  Some pays I didn't even break $100 take home pay yet I kept with it, needing experience in order to find something more suitable. Again, I was struggling to make due, rent was behind, bills behind, unable to afford the fuel for my wood stove, working crazy hours with little to no food but I scraped by. No childsupport payments were made. I upheald the visitation ordered by the judge, driving the kids to their dad's over an hour away and never once bad mouthing him to the kids. I tried to keep it seperate which is better than what he was doing.

Eventually I moved out of the new place and into the city in an apartment that is on a secured floor.  With out access cards one can't even get on to my floor. I also had access to subsidized childcare, social programs and more kid friendly jobs which became increasingly important as time progressed.

Now 6 months from the day the court's ordered support I haven't seen a dime other than a few payments he directly deposited into my account which I had to put a stop to before MEP gave up my file. Recently MEP issued a suspension that will see his license suspended as of the 24th. He relies on his license so this is a big deal for him. He even went as far as having his mom contact me trying to get me to have collections stopped with a letter to MEP or removing my file from there office. I laughed and hung up. On Friday he contacted the social worker that is working with him to encourage better behavior, asking her to get me to accept a payment directly from him. I explained to her about MEP's mandate to which she told him to pay it to MEP.

Today I contacted MEP because there is a deduction notice on file and after 3 months I was curious as to why they haven't been garnishing his wages. The lady on the other end told me that he no longer worked for that employer which is a crock. She also rudely told me that I should find his other source of income, their hands were tied. I tried several times to expalin that, yes in fact he is working there, even living on his boss's property. Again, she rudely informed me that I needed to find his source of income. No matter what I said or worded it, she refused to even acknowledge that I had said anything on the matter.

Once I got off the phone with MEP I contacted my MLA. There is a government social worker that works with our family that will verify he has held steady employment and is in fact still employeed and working for the same company. I am not sure how this will affect his boss but have a feeling that if this is proved, he will be in trouble. I assume there is a company owned by his mother that is getting the funds and in return she is paying him. Either or, he loses his license until he is paid up in full and his little plot will be discovered, I will ensure that.

I whole heartedly think Alberta should adopt the same program that other more progressive Countries use which is the government pays and collects from the payor. I think there would be more incentive for collections if that was to happen. Talking to MEP is like talking underwater. They don't process what is being said, they just babble about things that rarley matter or make sense. I even had one tell me that I shouldn't look at MEP like an income. I could of reached through that phone and throttle her.

I am at a loss as to what to do. I moved to the city and promply lost all my furniture after it was discovered my apartment was infested with bed bugs, I have struggled with health related issues, I had my accounts frozen and closed because of an overdraft on a joint account with my ex that he defaulted on, and spent 2 months looking for work. Xmas is coming soon and I am without much for my kids to feed them never alone provide even a small Christmas for them. My ex has done a lot of crappy things to us over the past 2 years but this is the hardest of all to swallow.

I am unsure if the defaulting parents even realize what kind of pressure they put their children under when they don't make payments. I find it hard to sympathize with the stories on here. I have a feeling 85% act with the same mind my ex does and I have not one ounce of sympathy. Its just as hard on this side of the fence too.

Anne Canada | Reply

12/13/2012 1:18:42 AM #

An excellent comment, I wish I had a better way to promote worthwhile comments here.  Not that I don't disagree with many of your points, but we can happily debate them in the open.

Well, on reflection, I think there's only one thing I'll argue with.  I don't think that anyone deserves the treatment that is handed them from the MEP.  Not the "debtors" nor the "recipients."  I said right off the bat that men who behave inappropriately piss me off and your story matches some of the most inappropriate behaviour I've heard.  There is no question in my mind your ex has behaved poorly, the MEP employee who spoke with you was beyond inappropriate - there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for you or me or anyone else to be treated rudely.  Please report it, let's get some pressure into better hiring practices, better training, better understanding and better treatment from a department that supposedly serves us all for the betterment of our children.

When a single person from the MEP talks to any of us rudely, why are they not put on the carpet to explain how treating us rudely is in our children's best interest.  It has nothing to do with our kids' best interest!  There's no excuse to be rude, they need to behave professionally at all times.

Look, I do know the pressures on both sides of the coin.  It can be unbelievably hard too.  We have to get a better system functioning here.

I like the idea of a pay-then-collect system, but we absolutely require a more responsive system for when incomes change.  I'm sure many will worry about the taxpayers left on the hook, but honestly it's better to share the burden through taxes than to leave a kid in poverty, isn't it?  It's eminently possible solution, we have to sit down and figure out better ways to make this work.

Honestly, great comment.  I wish I had more stories like yours to bring home the point of who's getting hurt the worst by our broken system.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

12/18/2012 12:16:00 PM #

The system has always been flawed. I am thankful that MEP is involved because it places the burdens on to a socail program that is designed to help despite its flaws. I am just sick and tired of the non custodial parent playing the system, If my ex was to treat the matter seriously and with due dilligence none of this would be happening. All he needed to do was follow through with his idea of the $1200n a month and be consistant without all the undue bullshit he kept playing during this time. I am not a rabid female looking to take his life away. I left him the house, the cars, all the possesion except the washer and dryer. I am just a tired mom trying to give my kids a better life is all.

His behavior is what dictated the outcome. He has stepped in every shit pile. The man even gave a 10yr old papers to serve me this weekend for mediation to reduce his arrers and payments. The courts will not look kindly on this alone. He claims the cost of driving the kids to and from work Edmonton is costing him over $400 a month. Considering the kids are moved back and forth by social services there is nothing out of his pocket. I wouldn't of had to move in the first place if he hadn't been harassing us or paying his support to help maintain the children. I paid over $3000 in childcare just for 2 months. I am underwater, not even treading anymore. The stress of all this interfers with my quality of life and that of my children. We have been left to muddle around and never get anywhere.

MEP has always treated me with contempt and with disregard. Every time I call I am told that I shouldn't be calling them,I should be accessing the online portal to see what is happening with my file or not to use it as an income. Please tell me what I am suppose to use it for becasue my coffers ain't covering anything past their childcare and their needs that doesn't include a roof over their head. He even went as far to say that he provides them with clothing and all the other things a kid needs therefore he won't be paying support at all, and this was to a government social worker. She even tried to convince him to make a payment before xmas, his response, Nope I give them everything they need. I am at my wits end with the whole mess. I can only put one foot in front of the other and hope for the best. I hope beyond measure that my steady refusal to give in to the tempation to push the RCMP enforced order and have him arressted for not paying his support because I don't want to stoop to his level but its tempting.

We can blame MEP but ultimately MEP is needed to enforce the orders because one or both parents can't pull their head's outt of their asses. This isn't a MEP issue when you get down to the nitty gritty, its a people issues and their lack of caring for another when a relationship ends. My ex was my best friend at one time. He was who I went to for comfort, for laughs, for stress reduction and a shoulder to lean on. Its our fault that the relationship failed. We didn't maintain our friendship, we allowed it to dissolve. The children are a product of that relationship and need both parents to be involved, emotionally, physically and with support. His lack of taking resposibility has put him into this position, not me, and not MEP.

Out sourcing to another country may cost less but imagine the mess that would make of the system. Not racist but the call centre that Dell uses is in India, most of the time they can't understand my issue without a lot of explaining and constant mistakes hence why I won't buy another Dell. Pay the parents that have the custody and than go after the other party is the only way to ensure that the kids get what they need. I understand that some have changes to incomes however to me that would mean go get another job. We live in Alberta for bloodysakes, I even make $23 an hour, there is no reason for kids to be needing or parents complaining about the amounts of support that is ordered. It cost far more to actually raise the kids than the support payments. Stop wasting energy trying to get out of it and put the energy into co-parenting the kids which means out of pocket.

Anne Canada | Reply

11/29/2016 5:43:56 PM #

Hi Anne

I agree that in many cases, the payor makes his own "shit pile". If my ex paid and was up to date, he would likely never hear from MEP.

I registered us because he had two older children from a previous relationship (in another country) that he wasn't paying child support to. During our marriage I pleaded with him to step up for his older kids. He refused. I saw the writing on the wall when he left me to go to Alberta to live with a new woman (after draining me of all I had).

I think what rankles me, are people that complain that they should have to pay when they are out of work - or how this process takes their life away.

I have gotten up EVERY morning. Never, ever has it occurred to me that today I will not feed, cloth and nourish my child because I don't have the resources. It's not an option! Whether I have a job or not, I never treat caring for and raising my child as "optional - depending on the circumstances".
What makes men (mostly men) think that they can have a child, and then care for that child only when it is convenient?

Look - by way of comparison - I have an older son with my first ex-husband. I never asked him for a penny? WHY? Because he ALWAYS showed up. He never missed a day. Like, never. He and my son have an awesome relationship and to me that is worth more than gold.

The current ex-husband - father of my 5 year old - went and had another baby with another woman - when already he couldn't support the three kids he has. There is NO evidence that he is looking for work. He doesn't see our son regularly (despite generous and repeated offers). He has maintained an attitude that if he can't support them, he can't. And yet none of us baby-mommas ever have a day off. We never think "Today, I won't support my child"
That is the difference.
And that is why MEP exists.

If he had come to me and said, "Look - here is evidence of the 4-5 hours I spend a day, looking for work, the 80 applications I have done - I am really having a hard time..." yes, I would cut him a break. But he didn't do it that way. He decided to pretend like his child doesn't exist.

Anne is right - it isn't a MEP issue - it is a "how people treat people" issue and "how some folks see parenting responsibilities" issue.
When a parent doesn't contribute his/her fair share for raising a child, it DOES affect the custodial parent. I can't sign my child up for supports he needs (he also has special needs. It is extremely difficult to maintain a budget or plan for the future when you don't know if you are receiving support or not. And as Anne indicated, custodial parents can lose big as well. I also had to move from my apartment and into my parents' house when my ex stopped paying the first time. And I didn't register him until he did stop paying.

As for the rude treatment - no, that is not deserved in what is already a very stressful time for anyone in arrears. No one deserves to be treated rudely - we don't know other peoples' stories.

Laura | Reply

1/12/2017 10:25:05 PM #

so funny reading all of these , everyone is in the same boat , how do they get away with it !! I have paid and never miss a payment and yet they garnished my wages of 40% gross per pay chq , because my x said the 3800 hundred I paid in 3 months was section 7 expenses , so now they tell me I owe 38 hun in child support in 3 months ,I printed off all my bank statements but mep said they can take the transfers because they don't except it unless its in chq or email direct , serious , now they have suspended my dv licence so how do I go to work 80 bucks a day in a cab ?  I make 36k a year go figure , then she also moved my children to bc , go figure and not have seen them for 8 months when I used to see them all the time ,hmmmm , got a lawyer with what little I have left , crazy how they take control and and yet say there here to help both parties !!

james | Reply

8/9/2010 4:22:23 PM #

My experience with the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement, Ontario Maintenance Enforcement and Saskatchewan Maintenance Enforcement says they are Provincial and not Federal and have no jurisdiction to take anyone's passport.  To take someone's passport they require to commit a criminal offense and because the RCMP are presently in Mutiny mode and don't know who they answer to...possibly the MEP thinks  they are RCMP employees?   My quality assurance background coupled with 4 pieces of real estate and a $52,448.54 payout that got hidden by the Saskatchewan Justice Minister pretending he was my lawyer sums up my 14 years of looking for my complete asset base coming out of Provincial Courts and Federal Judges all working with Provincial Jurisdictions and the municipal governments foreclosing on people's assets for back taxes when the Statute of Frauds that I would work under as a B.C. Real Estate Broker sums up what this Department really does.....

It breaks every land law of this country.

It sucks us into a system, steals our real estate and then pretends it has a purpose....get rid of the complete system.  We need to change how real estate is sold, divorces are handled and taxes are assessed and collected.....the answer was filed with Mr. Ed Stelmach's office, January 7 - 9, 2007 and all we got is the contempt of court orders - still not put in place - to provide me with the disclosure of all the assets that passed through the Calgary Court of Queen's Bench January 1997 and the likes of MEP Alberta says they can't enforce the assets or the accountability and when the next door Justice Minister takes and starts up my divorce after a Judge says that the local lawyer - Mr. Dawe - will be the last lawyer on my file.......please see www.law.avva.ca and send it to your nearest - or I forgot to tell you - there is no one to send the problem to.

Try the World Court - !!!!!!!!  - Why do we even need elections, neither government wants to tackle the fact that we lose Agency Laws right at the Governor General's office when they accept a Budget without having any money - Are they nuts?

Well then we did get lawn bowling and the Stanley Cup - and what about Mr. Mark Carney, he uses the Banks to tell the fortune for the economics - What about Land Titles provincially having to provide the base for the Income Taxes by taxing the land documents every time they pass through their little hands - ?????

What about all those mortgages put on these lands by the Banks - should we not tax the banks for using our business base with no return for the surveyors work after the war.  That was suppose to be the base for Taxation for Revenue Canada.

Well let's get it clear - Instead of taxing the land and the mortgages, we have been taxing your paychecks, right? We are taxing the Labor force and that means your kids are supporting the system by eating macaroni rather than steak????

Let's bring the Financial Gurus to the table with us in the room......and ask some questions   -----    before they have another election.

Oh, by the way, The Supreme Court of Canada erred when they said Incorporations were persons - let's get it right........only Aboriginal and Canadians are persons for the record and only persons are allowed to own land in this country...maybe our High Court can tell us how they can now correct that problem keeping in mind:

We need to change how real estate is sold, divorces are handled and taxes are assessed and collected......

and get rid of Maintenance Enforcement in Canada - they don't fit anywhere in the Land Laws and Marriage Laws of this country.....do they?  Can they provide the Global economy with the laws for the transfer of land globally through a Common Law or Church marriage?  The answer is no and that is a concern for the World....

We have been sucked into a Global Economy and we have no Management for the transfer of land in our country and likely the world in the process of divorce - so Justice Ministers globally how are we going to change that process for the kids of this world......????

The kids of the world are the customers looking to be served so let's stop the circus and get direct answers for the real problem......

We need global management of land passing through each divorce before we get any more Free Trade????  We entered into free trade without the same tax laws, Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Bush - so I reiterate to the World.....

Help - Our Kids are being sucked up into your errors and that must be changed by getting rid of MEP because they cannot provide the necessary accountability as shown on my www.law.avva.ca and let's at least try to put in the contempt orders to see how great the court could be...if it really wants to be held in the high esteem the world has been led to believe....

Just so the world knows, The Canadian Real Estate Association is tauted as the means for errs on my B.C. real estate licence and fraud so why would all these other souls be involved in real estate without licences and no one to shut the offices down?

The Law Society of Alberta and all its followers please tell me that you have erred when I have brought a number of these lawyers in front of you for disobedience and now they are in contempt of Court and the Justice Minister that should have stopped it is now a Federal Judge in a Provincial Court proudly sponsored by the Alberta Gaming and Lottery foundation all appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada.

I can only finish by saying God save the Queen....and Oh, Canada...and I am glad that the Prime Minister didn't waste any more tax dollars in changing the song.

Marcella Jordan | Reply

8/9/2010 11:07:28 PM #

Well, I'm going to keep strictly within the focus of the MEP and leave the rest for a discussion somewhere else.  

I strongly disagree with abolishing the Maintenance Enforcement Program.  The MEP is a necessary and realistic response to the problems of the past where single parents were left at a substantial financial disadvantage after a divorce.  

My argument is that the MEP is out of touch with reality, and they are not respectful of either parent.  The MEP is dismally incapable of dealing with divorces fairly because of it's narrow focus on financial matters only.  There is desperate need for fair, balanced, and affordable enforcement of the entire court order after a divorce.

We don't need to return to the wild west.  We need a system that will do more than just spout platitudes and holistically examine what is well and truly best for the children.  Divorce creates TWO single parents, it is time to treat both parents as valued and important in their childrens' lives.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

2/9/2017 11:43:16 PM #

Thanks for creating and maintaining this blog. I am a recent victim of the very long (over)reach of the MEP and certainly have no respect for their approach and methods, yet I have yet agree with your comment that it should not be abolished. However the government of Alberta really needs to press the reset button on this agency. I too believe there needs to be a mechanism for the enforcement of support orders as, let's be honest, there are deadbeat dads (and moms!) out there who need to own up to their financial obligations. The problem with MEP is typical though, overcompensating for what came before it (nothing) and ending up going from one ditch to the other. I agree with your position and that of others that the MEP focus cannot be limited to the strict and narrow enforcement of support component of court orders. At some point things will change and there will be a balance but at what kind of human cost.

There are many distressing stories about MEP treatment out there and on this blog. Many are worse than mine and I truly feel for those trying to meet their obligations only to be mistreated by the MEP. My children are adults and my child support payments terminated several years ago. However I have an ex wife who still thinks she is entitled to $3000/month in spousal support, even though she works full time and lives in a house gifted to her by her father. MEP wants the money and won't listen to my pleas that between my company pension and CPP (which was already split with her at separation) I don't bring in $3000/month. Guess I will be saving money on gas and insurance when my driver's license is suspended in two weeks.

Their mandate may be to enforce court orders but this has to change.  

Doug | Reply

8/27/2010 4:36:31 PM #

I am recently seperated, well actually 1.5 yrs, both my children are with me, one child has supervised visitation with his father, the other not at all.  He has paid not one cent since the seperation (oh and he refuses to return any of my or my childrens personal property) having us start from scratch, he had the bennefit of Legal Aid, till his lawyer dumped him, I do not, not only do I have to support my children alone, I pay a lawyer 400 /hr, which has amounted to more than $25,000 thus far, to keep his abusive behavior at bay.  We just scrape by and I have now had to take on a second job.  He has no intention of ever paying child support, in fact he applied for spousal support, he actually felt he was intitled.  I am really sorry that good people who choose to support their children are or have been treated unfairly my MEP, I would hope that any change would be to differentiate good debtors from the bad.  However, my only chance of my children being supported is by aggressive enforcement. So take away his licence, passport, garnish his wages, send him to prison if need be, my children deserve the best of life, why should he get to live better than them.

Jan | Reply

9/16/2011 2:33:06 AM #

In my personal opinion, if those who wish to have custody of said children can't afford to live and eat AFTER divorce...DONT GET MARRIED OR HAVE CHILDREN IN THE FIRST PLACE. YOU chose to have those children (speaking of mothers), you chose to have the children live with you...YOU then become responsible for the care-take of those children.

I raised my daughter as a single mother, without child support. I CHOSE to go it alone, and thank GOD every day for my choice.

If you have to take a second job, then maybe you ought to blame the government and employers for s****y wages instead of blaming your financial woes on the father of your children. Your ex is not responsible for your lawyer fees, you chose to hire that lawyer, paying way too much in the first place.

MEP is a waste of money, and has NO PLACE sticking its nose into any relationship, current or divorced. They were not present at your wedding, or conception of your children, therefore, they should not be present after your relationship ends. Its a ploy for those wanting the children in their care to suck as much money from unsuspecting fathers. If you cant afford your children, give them to people who can and truly care about them, possibly the father. Maybe you paying child support to the father, and giving him custody would be best for the children. Often, I find, it is the fathers of those children who care more about them.

I think if MEP takes away his license, they should take away the mothers license, passport and anything else she has so they both are in the same position. What gives you the right to live life when you won't let your ex live it as well? F****ing greedy. If you think your ex is living better than you....in fact, if you think all ex-fathers are living better than you...take a look in the mirror honey, you have NO CLUE WHATS GOING ON.

As a single parent, no support, no whining about money, or this or that..I bet I can be a better parent on a low income than you can. In fact, I think I already have proven that. I am not, and never have, whined about child support, or lack of it...and made the best of my child's and my life. What are you teaching your children? How to be greedy buggars? How to scam people and take everything they own? People like YOU should be put in jail. This country would be better off without all of your kind.

justice4fathers Canada | Reply

6/7/2012 12:19:25 PM #

so if you seem to have it all together why don't you help those who are struggling by giving real advice.I was married for 13 years,my ex and myself owned a company together.He decided to sleep around and spend all of our savings before, I was able to get a handle on what was going on.We were broke.9 monthes he spent over 200 thousand.Now I raise my kids on my own ,sure we have a divorce agreement ,its not worth the thousands I paid to have the words written on the paper.Court of Queens Bench Ordered Document.o not all of us just sit around whin ing and complaining. But if you have real advice to help real people get by maybe you should speak up.

dogtired Canada | Reply

6/7/2012 10:39:42 PM #

The problem is that the entire structure is broken.

We can't count on the courts to fix monetary imbalances, particularly when enforcement is hit and miss.  $200k doesn't just disappear in 9 months with nothing to show for it - why can't the courts claw that back for some equity?

In the same breath, we can't count on the courts to guarantee access to our kids.  Why can't the courts actually enforce the access orders they decree equitably?

Hey, we can't count on fair and open access to the courts themselves.  A bitter divorce can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars without anyone getting any answers.  How is that justice?  How could that possibly be in the children's best interest?  Someone isn't being genuine and honest.

We have to have an open debate and figure out a new way of dealing with divorces.  This isn't the 50's anymore.  It isn't the 80's anymore.  We need modern, current, fair processes and decisions.

That doesn't mean throw out everything and start over, but it does mean that everything be open to discussion and we be free to raise all our issues.  It's far overdue.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

7/9/2012 3:36:43 PM #

Way to go Justice4fathers!!! Its about time someone else stood up and spoke for men when it comes to MEP and the cruelty towards men. My husbands ex is as F&*Ked up as they come and gets away with everything from trying to kill herself while the kids are in the house to refusing to let us talk, see or even write to the kids. I get everyones situation is different and there are those that need it but who do we go to when we actually want to do something but after years for mental abuse from their mother, the kids no longer want anything to do with a father that truly has their best interest at heart. Woo nice justice system Canada has

Mary Canada | Reply

9/17/2010 3:54:28 PM #

I agree with you Jan , I am a  hard working  mother of 2  amazing boys , there father  hasn't  spent a dime on them  since I left in 2008, he is presently  renting out our  house  after he harrassed me  beyond words. I have moved  and he has  full access to the kids  but  chooses not to see them,  He is hiding assets , money and has  quit his  jobs so he can run from his resposiblities of his  children ,  He  is hurting our  children so terribly much but  doesn't have a clue .  He is  in arrears  over $12,000.00 and I am  registered  with MEP. I will continue to raise and  support my children , I  wish that their dad  would see that he is not hurting me , but  he  has a life time  of hurt with our  children. He  also has wage garnishees, fedreal notices , licence  denials  and  continues to lie  to everyone , Happy running! I am confident that he will be  found and will be  forced to take resposiblity for his  children.

cathy | Reply

9/17/2010 5:31:12 PM #

I welcome both Jan and Cathy's comments.  

My very first response to them both is that our system remains horrifically broken.  MEP is not performing it's role adequately for either parent.  We should not accept this level of disservice from a government department.  Legal costs are too high and the family court system is far too adversarial.  Particularly when one parent is uncooperative.

When I can't pay child support, I'm in serious trouble.  I sure can't pay a lawyer to go back to court.  I'm not a dumb guy, but I don't know how to navigate the courts on my own.  And I struggle to make ends meet - I don't have the energy to go to court fighting against a lawyer who knows how to gloss over all the loopholes.  MEP doesn't distinguish anything, the just draw a line at "adheres to the court order" or "does not adhere to the court order."  If you're in the second camp, they go after you with all they've got every time.

Jan's husband very well may be entitled to spousal support, regardless of how Jan feels.  Should it be enshrined in court order, that becomes enforceable.  Financial terms are enforced.

Access is also written into the court orders.  Those terms are not aggressively enforced.  I have no idea when my kids visit a doctor.  It's written in the court order that I am to be informed, but enforcement does not exist.

Are you willing to accept that women who deny access or break their court orders should be subject to revoking of their drivers licenses, passports, garnishment of their wages, and prison terms?  Because it's the very same court order that's being enforced.

Where do we draw the line?  Do we apply a $35.00 fine and threaten one's license when a child misses a single court ordered access time with the non-custodial parent?  That's the threat I get should I be unable to meet a single CS payment.

I am completely willing to say it is preposterous that your childrens' fathers have not met their obligations.  If MEP can't perform even it's fundamental mandate, it needs to be seriously re-examined at once.  The approach they're employing is not working.  It needs immediate reform.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

2/14/2011 4:55:54 PM #

My husband has a court order that says he has to pay $315 a month for a child from a previous encounter.  He is in car sales and changes dealerships at least yearly.  So each year he has to complete a new statement of finances.  This has not been an issue in the past as his income has pretty much stayed the same.

However this month, he went to MEP to drop of the statement of finance and was given an immediate meeting, to which the woman at MEP demanded that he now pay $1000 a month in support for this child.  She said there was not negotiation.  He ended up walking out of there now paying $550 a month but my question is, how can MEP just up the amount by that much when there is a court order stating $315 a month????  I know it is based on income but his income did not jump by that much.

Maxiine | Reply

2/14/2011 5:17:21 PM #

Hi Maxiine,

Presumably they can read off the table where it should be, but a jump from $315 to $1000 seems extraordinary.

Take it to a supervisor and get an explanation.  Get advice and help from one of the men's groups - MESA in Calgary, I've forgotten the group in Edmonton but it won't take much to dig up.  Or send me an email and I'll help what I can.

  - Mark

Mark Zaugg | Reply

3/21/2011 9:51:54 PM #

I've been fighting with MEP for years now. I understand both sides of the story as far as both parents are concerned. There ARE people out there that dodge their payments, and quite often they are the same ones that never visit with their children.

I've had financial trouble in the past and have missed payments. After my divorce I went through a deep depression and didn't work for 6 months (I collected EI during this time and a portion of it was deducted for maintenance). When I went to court regarding my child support, I provided my financial statements showing my income for the year at $21,000, which was down from $80,000 the previous year. The judge simply said "this is Alberta. I don't believe that you only made that amount so I'm calculating your support to be based on $50,000, retroactively for 6 months." Nothing like complete disregard for the law that he "upholds". He had my tax return as well as my seperation slips in front of him.

A little insight into the income... I worked in the oilsands and the money there is good. While at work one day shortly after my divorce, I was in a man-lift about 100 feet off of the ground and had to fight the urge to jump. When I managed to get myself down, I went into my foreman's office and told him why I was quitting. I've been driving a truck ever since.

Between the time off of work, the lack of work due to the economy and the retroactive payments, my arrears quickly exceeded $12,000. I've managed to get them down to just below $7,000 so far.

Since my arrears have accrued, there is a restriction on my registry "priveledges", which require me to renew my license every year. Last year, I went to renew and was told that my license had been suspended 3 months prior (I hadn't received any notice of this and had been driving a company vehicle the entire time). I spent the next 2 days trying to speak to someone at MEP to straighten this out. The registry said that the code they had in their computer shows that it was MEP that did it. MEP says they had no such suspension in place. I asked the person on the phone (MEP) to speak with the girl at the registry (I was standing at the counter using the phone), and they refused, saying there was nothing they could do. When I asked who I could speak to that could help me, the response was "geez, I don't know. There's nothing I can do for you." and they hung up. I kept calling back and finally got someone that was willing to listen. Before he got the chance to refuse, I handed the phone to the manager of the registry. They talked for a whole 2 minutes and the situation was finally resolved. If I hadn't been so persistent, I don't think I ever would have gotten my license back.

As it turns out, there was an action to suspend my license IF I didn't make a certain payment by a certain date. When the payment was made on time, the note was deleted, but the "code" was never taken out of the system.

I'm having a similar issue again today. I went to renew my license, but now I have to take time off of work tomorrow to call MEP and find out why my license can't be renewed again, considering my payments have been made as per my arrangements with them. I'm missing more work, which means money that could be used to pay my arrears. I just hope this doesn't go on for two days again.

I think the MEP is fantastic in some ways. There HAS to be a way to make the "deadbeats" pay. The problem I see is that ALL debtors are being grouped together under one heading. Almost every time I speak to someone there, they make me feel as if I'm a piece of crap. After paying my regular monthly bills AND my maintenance payments, I'm left with about $200/month to cover any extra expenses. I live in fear that if my car breaks down or needs something like new tires, I won't be able to get to work.

I feel as though they operate without being held accountable when they make a mistake. I don't know who to file a complaint with, or if they'd even care. The MEP website is nice enough to have contact information if you have a complaint, but what's the point? You're complaining TO them ABOUT them. I doubt anyone there is going to penalize their lunch buddy. As it is, with the attitude I see there, I wouldn't be surprised if their lunchtime conversation started with "wait until you hear what I did to this ***!"

Any advice would be appreciated, as well as any links or info you may have for a support group. In my opinion, I think they violate laws ,as well as human rights, in so many ways. If it were possible, I'd definitely join a class action suit against the department for these violations. That would open some eyes...

BrianM | Reply

3/23/2011 12:22:28 AM #

Thanks for telling your story, Brian.  It sounds sadly familiar.

I'm in Calgary.  One of the groups down here is MESA.  You can reach them through http://www.mesacanada.com/

In Edmonton, the group I've been recommended to contact is ECMAS.  http://www.ecmas.org/

I'm sure there are others, anyone can feel free to post what they've discovered.  Your mileage may vary, experience can sometimes be vastly different.  Voice of experience - sometimes you're not in the right frame of mind to hear what you're being told.  It can be really tough some times.

We're guys that take it on the chin long and often.  It's pretty hard to get organized, keep yourself financially afloat, and still try to be a great parent to our kids.  It's important to try to organize and get something going.  Start small and let guys that have been through it guide you through the mine fields.

  - Mark

Mark Zaugg | Reply

4/13/2011 4:21:35 PM #

I am the debtor and unfortunately due to sickness and maternity leave partnered with economic changes I am behind in my support order, I have been slapped with every restriction MEP can put on me. It has taken 2 years to finally get a reply or contact from MEP other then further restrictions or demands for financial statements.

I have now learned that the wording of my order is an issue. I have 2 children, 1 is 19 and on his own for some time, but my order is per month.. not per child so I am being billed the amount for 2 children. I know now that I have to return to court to have the wording changed. I know now that I can apply in Alberta to a Saskatchewan court . The court houses have a family law center that can help parents fill out a Provisional Variation order from one province to another. It will take another 6 months to complete.. but this is what I must do. MEP has been no help at all.

I have lost my job, license , passport, ID, bank account and most importantly my children. Over the last 3 years of not being able to afford to both pay and travel to see them, and then losing my car and license I have not seen my children in 2 years.

There is no apology that can bring that back.. no form to fill out or pat on the head to make me feel better about that.

All it would have taken.. is someone to listen to my story and know the answer to my question. I went through MEP, law offices , MLA and every other source of information I could think of to fix my situation.

The system is flawed, no one is watching the watchers.. there is a HUGE crack in the system and not all but some custodial parents are using the system to punish and control.

Federal gov't says MEP is a provincial issue but it is not. Orders are enforced across provincial borders and |Federal ID and funds .. and CIVIL RIGHTS are being revoked by MEP

Shannon | Reply

4/14/2011 5:14:15 PM #


WARREN | Reply

4/14/2011 8:16:27 PM #

Now I have to disagree a little bit with Warren above.  

In the normal course, MEP works out okay for both parents.  Custodial parents normally do get paid.  I believe the majority of cases are trouble free.  But it requires both parents being cooperative and not locked into an adversarial battle.  Not pitting money against parental time.  Non-custodial parents have to be willing to accept responsibility for their children's welfare.  (Of course, if all parents were cooperative, we wouldn't have need for an MEP department.)

Clearly divorced parents attempt to be adult and cooperative, but it doesn't always work out even with the best of intentions.  

When it's a combative situation, MEP falls back to their standard policies.  Enforce the payment by withdrawing driver's licenses, passports, set out a garnishment.  But it's the same hammer for the same square peg into the same round hole.  Forget any sort of help whatsoever if your argument is in any other part of the court order other than the financial aspect.

Why do some parents game the system for years while parents like me get kicked in the teeth over and over again from the exact same department?  Something is broken in the way we approach this.  It needs to be addressed.

Once again, it is time for a truly meaningful discussion on the system as a whole.

  - Mark

Mark Zaugg | Reply

5/6/2011 6:02:39 PM #

Just an update. I had my day in court and my arrears have been adjusted to reflect my income and all fees and fines for the last 4 yrs have been court ordered to be removed from my MEP account. By court order my MEP balance has gone from over $11,000 to under $1000. The judge I got was very nice, understanding.. and even confused as to why and how the nightmare I have lived should have or could have happened.

My paperwork needs to make its way from province to province and from MEP to MEP but I think I am well on my way to putting 20 years behind me. Stick to your guns.. fight your fight when you know you are right.

I went through the wringer... I lost my registries for 2 years and my bank account, career and credit rating and my ID were lost.. but in the end I proved my case and at least one Judge has learned about an error in the way a law is written and being used against non custodial parents.

I feel like I have had my eyes opened to the system and just how far the system itself can be used to abuse and control a spouse LONG after the divorce papers are signed. I will never get back the relationship with my children and can only hope to repair the damage that has been done. Both mentally and financially.

For every time and every moment I ever thought of giving up.. I am now so glad I didn't.  The judge even commended me for continuing to fight for myself and was saddened that I had to go through what I have. To quote " A woman like you should be commended.. not punished for what you have endured"

My sunrise today was a little brighter and warmer then I have felt it be in over 11 yrs. Today.. I can breath.. and when paperwork is final I will feel free for the first time in 2 decades.

Never give up on your children or your fight.

Shannon | Reply

3/10/2012 12:03:22 AM #

just an update. \My ex has gone to court and had the Alberta decision changed to not only have me pay all I had owed.. but even more. They say regardless of my change in income due to losing my hearing I could have and should have been able to earn as much as I did when the original order was put into place and calculated what I would be earning today (raises and cost of living) for the previous 4 years . I am now back to right where I started and even further behind with no more options.

I have to make payments for the next 3 years at a level that would be for someone who earns twice as much as I earn. for children how are now 19 and 20.
The judgement states that the children were deprived due to my lack of income and payment.. and as such I owe...

funny though the money still goes to my ex.. not the kids. If they were deprived and I owe them .. then should the money not go directly to the adult children????

Shannon Canada | Reply

5/7/2011 12:22:49 AM #

Congratulations, and thank you for sharing that.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

5/7/2011 10:44:29 AM #

why after years of abuseing people cant this mep just be shut down!!!
How many people suffer from depression and committed suicide because of the mep program!! who suffers our kids!!
after 15yrs of dealing with this the end is near but not before they kick me down one last time!!! I went to pay the balance of the arrears a misprint on the cheque made it non tranverable instead of just asking for another cheque i,v been get everday notices of action writs federal stuff ,it makes me sick emotionaly and phyicaly....I ran back to pay this time with a bankdraft as good as cash right payed off so what happens now is all this stuff removed from my credit rateing or did they twist the knife in my back one last time the good news out of all this its more or less done I WISH THIS TO NO ONE I lost all respect for MEP

richard | Reply

5/10/2011 5:30:37 PM #

I have had lots of fun with maintenance enfarcement. As with everyone they have thrown the hammer at me for being the debtor. However in the course of doing thier wonderful job they have broken a few laws and of course overcollected. I am in Edmonton and am looking for a lawyer to fight maintenance enforcement any suggestions would be appreciated.

Truthfully the system is unfair but it is required perhaps in a different form. I have satisfied the court ordered payments and more and was taken advantage of by mep. I do know of cases where the dad/mom is unwilling to pay or won't pay which almost justifies the system. Unfortunately those that do pay fall under the totally uncaring eye of the disfunctional machine. I really am not sure how a government agency can get away with breaking the law.

Dwayne Dudiak | Reply

5/12/2011 3:31:58 PM #

I know this will not help.. as it did not help when it was told to me..

MEP says they are understaffed. They receive 1500 calls and emails a day, and can only reply to 300 a day.. MEANING 1200!! people are being ignored each and every day.. they tell us we have to contact them through the contact us on the website or to call and wait for a call back. Our lives, credit, jobs and more are "on hold" waiting for a call back that most likely will never happen. God forbid you work during the day or leave the house for any reason and miss your call back. You Have to start all over again. I personally sent over 50 emails 26 calls and 2 faxes  and according to my file.. they have 3 emails, 1 call.. and no faxes.

Shannon | Reply

6/6/2011 12:22:45 AM #

My husband's children from a previous marriage are 18 and 19...finally MEP believed us that the 19 year old (almost 20) was not attending school (his ex forged letters on a child status review)...our account was cancelled!  Finally!  4 months letter we are being told he still has to pay for the 18 year old...who does not live at home.....plus arrears from the day THEY cancelled it.  MEP is a joke!  We have a meeting with them tomorrow, and I am going with every bit of paperwork we have them to back up the mistake THEY made.......they could not even get the date on the court order right that the payments are due....my husband has paying been paying from a 1996 order with payment due on the 15th.  When they reinstated it they now say the payment is due on the 1st.  Thanks for the 2 days notice that you are reinstating it....for whatever reason we are not sure...get your payment date right at least.  Every aspect of this Program is horribly run......

Barb | Reply

8/15/2011 2:52:08 PM #


It's scary reading some of the comments here. I won't get into my story, not here online, but I have been quietly building a case against MEP and my access to them. I have recorded all phone messages left, have copies of emails and letters sent, and have tried to document as much as I possibly can.

I'm curious to see where others stand on some form of class action. Perhaps others have explored this option and discovered (as I expect) that MEP is judgement-proof. Still, it's an option I need to explore. I am a former journalist and communications professional. I am prepared and committed to telling stories of fathers fighting MEP, either in a blog or by some other means. Please forward your comments to me at nicholas@starnorth.ca.

Dads, we need to organize and stand together.

Andrew Canada | Reply

8/19/2011 5:07:42 AM #

Truthfully the system is unfair but it is required perhaps in a different form. I have satisfied the court ordered payments and more and was taken advantage of by mep.

dispute letters United States | Reply

8/29/2011 10:47:33 AM #

I am in Edmonton and am looking for a lawyer to fight maintenance enforcement any suggestions would be appreciated.

sökoptimering United States | Reply

9/16/2011 8:44:35 AM #

Perhaps others have explored this option and discovered (as I expect) that MEP is judgement-proof.

MBTI Career Test United States | Reply

9/17/2011 12:19:13 AM #

A couple of notes I want to add in here.

The new software put my photo for all the replies.  They're not all from me.  Read carefully.

I'm still leaving this open for comments, I'd rather err on the side of permissive rather than restrictive of discussion here.

I don't agree with all the replies, but I'll happily let you post your messages.

And if you're stressed out about using an email, I'll accept example@example.com.  I'm much more interested in seeing discussion in this post.

"Be respectful" is really the point of this.  We need to be treated with respect.  We need to treat others with respect.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

11/16/2011 11:33:52 AM #

I think MEP is often used as another tool for the creditor to harass the debtor and make their life more difficult..  I just received my first letter from MEP indicating that my ex is now wishing to receive support through MEP.  I was quite surprised by this as I have never missed a payment in 12 years and have always written her a year worth of cheques.  I have heard from lawyers that MEP is setup to fine the debtor as much as possible.  I can see that this is the case as it looks like if I have my direct withdrawal setup to come out the first of the month, I will be in arrears because they put a ten day hold on it.  Is this the case?

I am very welcoming of the fact that I can just setup withdrawal but very worried of being penalized even when I have paid on time.  I think MEP should only be in place for those people who do not pay or who have missed payments.  Now it looks like from these posts, I will be painted with the "deadbeat" brush anytime I have dealings with MEP.  I guess I will record all conversations and make sure I tell them that I am recording the call for quality assurance.

Thomas Canada | Reply

11/17/2011 1:59:23 AM #

Hi Thomas, I do have a couple of direct answers.

First, when MEP does a direct withdrawal from your account, the ten day hold is on the recipient, NOT on you.  The MEP only cares that they receive your money on the court ordered date, they don't care about anything else.

Frankly (and this is my opinion only), the MEP is pushing all Debtors towards direct withdrawal because it is the simplest for them to operate, certainly not because they intentionally want to fine you.  From my experience, if there's a mistake or an unfair claim against you, they will happily penalize and fine you along the way and leave it up to you to make amends.  In theory, the MEP is only a clearing house that contains a system of ensuring payments from one person to another are tracked.  In practice, it's a very dysfunctional system.

The biggest source of day to day stress in my life is absolutely the MEP.  My second greatest regret (behind needing to divorce in the first place) was letting the MEP manage my account.  Your mileage may vary.

I have heard stories of people paying through the MEP without problems.  I've also heard stories of divorces that were congenial.  Make of it what you will.  Definitely talk to a lawyer with your specific circumstance for proper advice.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

11/22/2011 2:15:03 PM #

I am extreamely sorry to hear of all the horror stories of MEP, all which I have known for the last 15 yrs from having worked in family law.  But for those who are the debtor and are not resposible for their children and the money would make a huge difference in their children's lives what other recourse is there?  I have finally broken down and registered with MEP as a last resort as I do not support their methods.  

The father of my kids has not paid in 3 yrs and I have worked 18 hr days to support them I have no life and niether do they because I'm alway0s working.  We buy all our clothes second hand, any activity my kids do are with help from family.  He wears designer everything, lives in a big fully renovated house, is constantly out  and thats fine but pls take care of your children as well.  On top of it he does not return their phone calls and has only made it for 4 visits in 3 years.  The divorce agreement was made up by him, I made no adjustments, agreed to the lower than calculated child support (in hopes that he might actually pay) and took nothing for spousal. I believe he is the type of debtor that all others have to thank for the unfortunate and disgraceful treatment that is given across the board.

Kori Canada | Reply

11/24/2011 12:03:46 PM #

Well, if you know all the stories then you'll know very well that MEP is not a silver bullet for collecting child support.

At best they can cause pain for the children's father, but they have great power to cause great pain and they use it indiscriminately.  On the other hand, there is absolutely no guarantee they will be an effective collector of funds and there are many people frustrated with the MEP's inability to collect support that is past due.

The MEP does not change the behavior of 'Debtors' in and of itself.  I truly wish you success, but past experience says you're unlikely to get satisfaction.

As for working 18 hour days and struggling to support your kids, I applaud your efforts and will give you the same harsh advice my lawyer gave me:  You need a better job.  This is Alberta, there is all kinds of opportunity.  Figure out a better way to live and get started.  I've been struggling for 10 years and the end is far in the future, but it's still worth the struggle.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

11/23/2011 12:04:24 AM #

It is definitely time to start a class action lawsuit against MEP and the Alberta Government. An Alberta Court judge (personal friend) has given me the name of a lawyer who would be interested in discussing it with me. So, if you want a real shot at justice and reform, write to me at timcaseycdn@yahoo.com.

Also, I have been sending stories to the Wildrose Party and they are willing to listen to us. Please find out who your Wildrose candidate is and talk to them.

I have given them a few suggested "reforms" regarding not only child support but also the RIGHTS OF THE CHILDREN. My favorite is that I would like to see children involved in a divorce/custody dispute have their own lawyer... paid for equally by both parents.

Tim Casey United States | Reply

11/24/2011 12:15:24 PM #

Children with their own lawyers?

No.  I cannot support that.  Not by default.

Guardian Ad Litem (GALs) are more common in the States and create a whole galaxy of their own problems.  It has created cases where the rights of the children trump the rights of everyone else which, quite paradoxically, works out to be not in the best interests of the child.  Cases are tied up longer, costs rise dramatically, parents complain about paying for the privilege of having a lawyer smear thems in court.

Everyone talks sweet talk about what's in the best interest of the child, but we all filter it through our own particular lenses.  Ultimately we rely on someone else's opinion on what's best for the child.

We never ask for that opinion when the parents are married, why does it only become an issue when parents divorce?

Our entire system is rotted and dysfunctional.  We really need to collectively discuss reforms and get the discussion into the forefront of the public.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

1/3/2012 12:28:07 PM #

Wow lots of horror stories, well what ever happened to people being honest and remembering, that is takes 2 to have children and should take the same to raise them.....regardless of laws its about morals/values but our society has forgotten about that.....well hopefully we as the next generation of parents can instill the importance of protected sex and being a responsible human that wants the best for the kids....

valerie Canada | Reply

6/25/2012 5:14:54 PM #

I have been involved with the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program for the past 16 years. It has been an exercise in total frustration. They lie to the creditors and debitors. They do not make payments in a reasonable timeframe and have many excuses for this. None are acceptable. When a payment comes in they don't seem to know how much it is, where it is, when the creditor will get paid, or how much they will be paid. And, they take part of our chld support for thier own purposes. And... they won't even tell us how much they are withholding. I have not doubt that if enough of us who deal with this department were to get together and compare notes, we could most probably look at a class-action lawsuit or something. We are treated very badly with absolutely no dignity or respect. If you are having problems with MEP please email me at cindy.husband@shaw.ca. I'd love to hear from you. I really hope that if enough people email me then maybe we can start making noises as a group in order to get some changes made to the system at MEP. They need to start being held accountable for the shabby way they treat us!

Cindy Canada | Reply

6/28/2012 9:46:57 PM #

   I have some questions. Do you have to give up your business banking information, when you share that business with someone else? I would think under the charter of rights and freedoms, there is an invasion of privacy clause in there
surrounding this information. The other thing I do not understand, is the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement seems more of a provincial govt. service than federal. I was under the understanding that only Revenue Canada had the absolute power to request your banking information.

Shawn Canada | Reply

7/10/2012 10:49:54 AM #

I just don't have an answer for you.  I can only recommend getting good legal advice.

Having said that, MEP communicates with the CRA (Revenue Canada) on a regular basis, and this is an order from the courts.  I expect that the CRA would say, "Court ordered? here you go!" anyways.

Mark Zaugg United States | Reply

5/31/2016 8:42:24 PM #

I don't know if anyone reads these anymore, whether Mark Zaugg is still monitoring this blog... but I can tell you that I had my income tax return done by H&R Block earlier this year, they figured that I was getting a $14.85 refund, which they sent to MEP because of the arrears I owe. Even though I'm making my payments, apparently I'm still late every month and they are charging me $25 a month + interest.

Rob | Reply

8/23/2016 5:33:30 AM #

Yes, yes I'm still monitoring.

No, I don't always catch every new comment. My apologies for not noticing this one until today.

Yes, there has been a notable increase in traffic here, both actual comments over the past year I attribute to the downturn in Alberta's economy, and a spike in SPAM that's hidden some important comments.

The $25 late penalties are particularly onerous because MEP does not give you warning until penalties have amassed over $100.  Yes, you get dinged four times without warning - unless they've changed their system.  I doubt they've changed their system.

My best advice is to try to slug through their terribly complicated and hard to understand statements and keep constant vigilance of your account.
Most importantly, schedule your payments for a few days after your pay periods so you have time for your payments to clear.  This is important: You HAVE to do this in the court order and I swear that NO ONE warns you about this ahead of time.

If you're paid the first of the month, I recommend scheduling your payments to arrive on fifth.  Now the catch is you still have to make your payments on the first, but that should give your payment time enough to clear and to avoid getting those stupid late penalties that do nothing but cause pain.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

8/1/2012 2:03:38 AM #

I have a court order from 2004 in which i pay $500 month child support. MEP has been garnishing this from me even though I have never missed a payment. I have not seen my kids since 2004 because my ex refuses to let me and her whereabouts are unknown. Occasionally MEP decides to garnish a full 60 percent of my wage and it is up to me to hire a lawyer to stop them from doing so. Ive been talked to rudely, and been told that the MEP is not under the jurisdiction of the law in Alberta. After I contacted the office of the ombudsman to investigate their behaviour, MEP straight out lied to me and stated that I had made one payment late in 2010 and therefore they were not bound to my court order anymore. They have been garnishing my wages so how is it possible for me to have a delayed payment when neither my income nor my place of employment have changed? Now I am hiring a lawyer again. On top of things they calculate only have my support towards my children, saying the other half is spousal support. There has been no court order for spousal support, plus we have been divorced or legally separated since 2004. But they decided without any court order that I am accumulating "arrears" of $250 every month because they have the "right" to read between the lines of the court order? Right now all my motor vehicle services are suspended, which will likely end up in me losing my job, since I have a 60km drive to work through rural areas. Then what? It borders on organized crime to have a government institution being able to run amok like this and not having to answer to anyone. What I forgot to mention, I even received a letter from them in 2008 in which they stated that they had become involved while there was a court order in effect so there might be a process available to have them removed but since I have "arrears" it would be unlikely?! There have also been a few times where they don't take it with the freedom of information act too seriously. I think there should be an advocacy group that can deal with "stray departments" like this.

Dirk Canada | Reply

8/1/2012 2:59:16 AM #

There have been many various advocacy groups.  I'm going to strongly recommend MESA in Calgary http://www.mesacanada.com/ and I will also recommend the online group People with Problems with MEP (I wrote about it at www.markzaugg.com/.../...ems-with-Alberta-MEP.aspx)

There are a couple major issues that are really sending up flags for me.  MEP gets all of it's power from the law of Alberta and simply cannot stand above it.  I'm very upset with the rude and demeaning behaviour MEP staff have exhibited towards me and seem to have done the same to you as well.  Take notes each and every time of every single time you call speak with a Collections Officer.

The specifics seem to require help - either a great lawyer or get in touch with MESA (you can email me for specifics if you wish) and I'll help as much as I can.

The are many issues you have raised that deserve a fair examination.  This is the very situation where Mr. de Costa said we only have to keep the MEP fully informed of our situations to arrange a payment arrangement.  Let's make sure they live up to their promised values.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

8/1/2012 3:37:50 PM #

Hello,im a divorced dad with 4 children,been involved with mep since 2002,and im all for a huge lawsuit.This is the most legally corrupt system there is,and nearly every story posted here i can relate to.Mep seems to be more concerned with creating arrears and problems than anything else,at this time im getting handy to the hundred grand mark paid to mep.
When mep was first called into action,i was less than two grand in arrears,but after a couple problems they had my vehicle registration.I was self employed,and that totally busted my business.I was bankrupt a few months later,severely depressed,then lost my license to drive.I went back to full time work,and had to drive for 3 MONTHS without a license(and mep getting their payments)before they would give it back.Meanwhile,my kids were going through hell,they only lived a couple blocks away,and after the initial blast of not being able to see them,they were with me a lot.During this time of me getting "back on track" the arrears had rose to nearly ten grand.I had lost everything,had to live in my parents basement just so the kids had somewhere to be when they came over,there just wasnt enough money left to ever rent even an apartment.
I was on my way to edmonton the one time i had enough money to take the kids there for a weekend,when i recieved a call from "linda" at mep.She was rude and ignorant,and could have cared less that my kids were in the vehicle listening to the conversation.She just wanted to get more money,she was concerned that the arrears werent going down fast enough,and even though my payments were being garnished off my check every two weeks,that i was still being charged a $25 late fee each month because it wasnt on the court ordered date.I was overwhelmed with kids and work,and there never was any money for competent legal advice.For the longest time i never qualified for legal aid,and finally when i got injured and my oldest daughter was living with me i finally qualified.They gave me a lawyer in calgary who did absolutely nothing.In the meantime,i had a renegade teenage daughter to look after,plus my other kids whenever they were over.I live in a small town 15minutes from gp,and was driving her into work,two trips a day,and being threatened with my license.I somehow made it through that,she is now on her own and will be manager at a well known grocery chain in grande prairie,and id do it again if i had to.
I mentioned i had been dealing with a severe injury,i had notified mep and sent in doctors notes,but finally they had my license again.I was undergoing therapy in town weekly,and finally had to stop going.I dont think there is anything more stressful than not being able to do a damn thing other than hope for the best.As well,at this time i had been driving my next daughter in and out to her work in gp,and when i lost my license she had to quit her job.(Yes her mom has a license and a way better car than il ever see,but she was always too busy).
I finally have my license back,and its still a tough go because of my medical condition.I want to live to see the day when these corrupt people are brought to justice.I could see if i had run away from my kids,never paid,or whatever,but mep is going out of their way to create arrears and cause as much upset in families as they can,and they are very good at it.They wont be happy until every divorce case in alberta can result in a "deadbeat" then they can go to work.
Just my opinion here,but mep and anyone else trying to profit off children and their demise in divorce and just making unnecessary problems should be left to rot in a cage,and when there is nothing left for the birds to pick at,throw another one in.These people are sick and sadistic,and they really enjoy their work.
Get divorced in Alberta,and your children can be used to the fullest extent of the law.

merv Canada | Reply

8/2/2012 3:30:07 AM #

Maintenance enforcement is a joke in Alberta. The employees there have the worst attitude and the look of judgement. On the phone they are rude and hide behind a " zero tolerance" rule and think they can treat people how ever they feel. I made all my payments as I was supposed to and work got short. First thing they do is take away a man's way to work with vehicle and licence suspensions. I don't believe they should have the authority to take that from someone. Now I can't get to work now that its picking up. Get talked to like i'm nothing either in person or on the phone, the level of professionalism there is a joke. Just once i'd like to speak to a nice person that doesn't make me want to blow up in there face and tell those snooty little bitches what I and alot of fathers think.
As for the "dead beat" part of it, I have never been called that. I am by no means perfect but the one thing I do not deny is my children. Court ordered or not I make sure my kids will always have food to eat and clothes on thier backs. Even offered to help pay for other things that have nothing to do with our child. I know most mothers take good men to court just to get money to support there drug habbits or alcohol addictions. All provided to them from the good people in the Alberta judicial system and goverment. Give yourself a pat on the back.

s.m Canada | Reply

8/10/2012 8:28:21 PM #

hi there, i am a single mother of three and have found myself fighting with maintenance monthly for the last nine years with STILL no resolve.. Its actually come to the point where i dont know if any of this fight is worth it anymore.... The constant battle to get what is righfully my childrens has been never ending . Ive worked 2 to 3 jobs at time to just make ends meet, and everytime i call maintenance to see what actions or being taken and when i may get money i get treated like dirt no one there cares about your situation and there is zero empathy just a bunch of heartless people who go home at night to there perfect families. What MEP preaches in there mission statement is a load of SHIT pardon my language.... Its made me sick and im just tired really and wish there were something that i coud do !!!!! They are the only ones capable of pursuing these deadbeat dads/moms but yet they always seem to want to help them out ...... Last conversation whit MEP which was just this morning , i was told that if he were to call in and make arrangements that no further actions would be taken , im going on 4 months without support(this time) my ex has previously had his license revoked as well as his wages garnished but yet im still waiting as they " have to give him an oportunity to make it right" however in that same statement i was also told that if he even would just make 50$ payments to catch up the arrears that they would allow that, really wtf.....
I fell like im constantly getting bent over and its just made me so bitter, MEP IS A JOKE AND THEY ARE AS USELESS AS MY EX!!!!!  makes me sick and someway somehow there has to be a way to make MEP responsible as they took on this role .....

This system is not just corrupt and disgusting it is helping these deadbeats get away with it , its not right and im not sure how any of them sleep at night !!!!

Julie | Reply

8/8/2012 2:52:02 PM #

Hello to everyone in this forum. I am looking for other complainants who are the CREDITOR.
I am looking for all information and stories relating to the abuse of the CREDITOR by this Maintenance Enforcement Program, as in my 5th year of dealing with them, I strongly feel that an audit of their entire system is necessary to deal their consistent abuse of power including:
1. Abusive behavior towards clients both Debtor and Creditor
2. Lack of competency
3. Corruption
4. Collections of monies *not owed
5. Practicing methods against protocol
6. Refusal of accepting responsibility for internal errors including staff and/or system.
7. Breach of FOIP and leaking of personal and private client information.
8. Numerous other issues!

Now the MLA Review of the MEP Program in 1998 justice.alberta.ca/.../MEPReview.pdf  
sites a number of these issues which to date have not been formally addressed by any governing entity. When dealing personally with MEP regarding these issues, they have stated that all complaints towards MEP are investigated internally. Outside of this clients have the option to make in writing a complaint to the Alberta Ombudsman. We must demand accountability from this program, and not be bullied by their "government power". Outside of this forum, you can contact me @ charliesdarkestangel @ hotmail.com

thank you for your interest,
Misty Wilkinson

MWilkinson Canada | Reply

8/10/2012 8:25:47 PM #

hi there, i am a single mother of three and have found myself fighting with maintenance monthly for the last nine years with STILL no resolve.. Its actually come to the point where i dont know if any of this fight is worth it anymore.... The constant battle to get what is righfully my childrens has been never ending . Ive worked 2 to 3 jobs at time to just make ends meet, and everytime i call maintenance to see what actions or being taken and when i may get money i get treated like dirt no one there cares about your situation and there is zero empathy just a bunch of heartless people who go home at night to there perfect families. What MEP preaches in there mission statement is a load of SHIT pardon my language.... Its made me sick and im just tired really and wish there were something that i coud do !!!!! They are the only ones capable of pursuing these deadbeat dads/moms but yet they always seem to want to help them out ...... Last conversation whit MEP which was just this morning , i was told that if he were to call in and make arrangements that no further actions would be taken , im going on 4 months without support(this time) my ex has previously had his license revoked as well as his wages garnished but yet im still waiting as they " have to give him an oportunity to make it right" however in that same statement i was also told that if he even would just make 50$ payments to catch up the arrears that they would allow that, really wtf.....
I fell like im constantly getting bent over and its just made me so bitter, MEP IS A JOKE AND THEY ARE AS USELESS AS MY EX!!!!!  makes me sick and someway somehow there has to be a way to make MEP responsible as they took on this role .....

Julie Canada | Reply

8/20/2012 6:20:21 PM #

WANT TO HELP ME CHANGE THIS?? Contact me. Do you already have an active group to bring this Tyranny down..contact me.
I declare war on the unfair system.
THEY HAVE Breached my privacy, they take my money even though so I work for 5$HR..they take my driver license so it's very time consuming to travel and look for a better jobs..they post stuff on my credit report so I can get a decent paying job in my field of education...TAKE TAKE TAKE..BREAK BREAK BREAK ..


Cliff Canada | Reply

8/28/2012 1:11:59 AM #

I've just been given a writg and garnishee for 153 dollars over an ex wife who has now
Been on welfare for 14 out of the last 16 yrs. I know it is because of her and her tactics
Of friends having friends in places of innfluence....simple as that

joe Canada | Reply

8/28/2012 1:18:59 AM #

Discrimination, against hard working people being female or male.
The parent that does nothing in life as far as working, deserves nothing from the one who does, I don't work
My back into the ground so she can pay her car insurance gas and cigarettes , the last 1000 dollar payment
My 15 yr old seen notta ..... and this is why she constantly phones MEP on me....some people just learn the system
So they need not work for a living
DISGUSTING.....SHAMEFUL wastes of human beings

joe Canada | Reply

9/10/2012 5:56:35 PM #

maintenance enforcement treats all males as if they are deadbeatdads and criminals.  They screwed up my payments so now they are trying everthing they can do to avoid me.  they dont return calls, emails nor texts.  I had to call my MLA to get help.  He informed me that MEP have called me several times (which my phone records state is untrue).  Now my address which has been right in their files for 5 years is apparently wrong.  So untill I change my address I can not access my files.  I have not moved and it is the same address as it has always been.  
MEP seems to answer to no one and has no controls.

Carmine Canada | Reply

9/15/2012 2:22:25 PM #

MEP has been harrassing me since moving to Alberta, Canada. I have moved various times because of my work. Other jursisdictions have given me ample time to pay once settled in, but here in Alberta it seems that they jump in with the court order and want the arrears paid off immediately. Who in the world has that kind of money floating around this time when economy is not good. I left my job due to "Stress" and couldn't do my job any longer, so I had to go on "EI", however, I applied for time off in lieu of "sick leave" then my employer did not give me cheque to go on leave. I then forced to reign & go on "EI". I feel that being in Alberta, we/I do not have adequate guidance to work constructively and be there for the best interest of the child. It shouldn't be about "Money" it should be for the child's best inerest and "Native Perspective" the child is a gift, nobody owns the child. The Creator has given "Parent's" the time to raise the child in their parenting ways in a good way. The Government will have to answer this all to "God". Marci-Cho, Hi Hi. all my relations.

Jack Canada | Reply

10/3/2012 4:27:39 PM #

i recently went into the registry office to renew my licence and found that MEP had placed a restriction on my licence despite the fact that I, the debtor, enrolled with them and have consistently paid up to date for 12+ years. Now I must ask permission from MEP to get my licence yearly. The day is coming when a person who has had enough of MEPs bullshit will rampage through the MEP office and leave behind a massacre and a large pile of dead worthless scum/MEP employees. Of course many people will be mystified by this and think it the work of someone perhaps disturbed but those of us who have dealt with MEP will fully understand and thank that martyr for doing what we all dream of.

grim reaper Canada | Reply

10/6/2012 12:22:20 PM #


This is a critical danger that I absolutely must stress now.

That is absolutely not the work of a martyr, that is the work of a coward and a fool.  Anyone who would even ponder such action needs serious help on several levels.

This also indicates a crucial point that MEP and the government must understand properly.  We have seen similar actions with kidnappings, standoffs and absurd and heinous behavior with the Worker's Compensation Board.

These are glaring examples of mismanaged, non-functional and unperforming government bureaucracies that are creating as much damage as they are performing good.

No one at MEP deserves that kind of treatment.  MEP must understand that we, the clients, do not deserve the kind of treatment we are receiving either.  There are actual solutions to stop the abusive, but we need people of courage who will accept responsibility for change, address the mistakes of the past, and create true solutions for the future.

The solution to your problem is to call MEP, demand an explanation for the cause of the restriction and if restrictions have been made in error demand an immediate correction.  In my opinion, MEP is fully responsible for levying these kinds of restrictions unfairly, without adequate notice, without any monitoring whatsoever, and without a legal hearing on behalf of the person suffering the punishment.

I have absolutely no doubt MEP is fully in the wrong in this circumstance.  Any reaction beyond calling out MEP on their injustice and presenting positive solutions is unacceptable.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

10/12/2012 10:59:09 PM #

Hi ,I  hope someone can answer my question, because I dont get any answers from MEP. I have left Canada in 2000, due to my divorce, me and my son moved back to my parents in LA.CA. Never got any penny for child support, although I tried to open a case with local Child support , well because they couldnt find my exhusband they closed the case. Few days ago i received a call from, mind you that my son is 18 now, and he was asking me to stop the child support. i was shocked, first I never received any money and now his demands. I called MEP, and to my surprise they have been collecting money since 2007. Now I have money for my son sitting somewhere and I cant get it.. I just want to get someones opinion,maybe someone was in this situation. Thank you in advance

Anna United States | Reply

12/6/2012 2:17:49 AM #

I am both shocked and horrified by what you've said.  That is a completely unreal situation.  The child support agencies cooperate frequently and this is the first time I have ever heard of anyone having that kind of difficulty collecting.  If Alberta MEP is collecting, how can it possibly accumulate?  They are not allowed to hold monies, they just pass it through from one parent to the other.  It makes no sense whatsoever.

My suggestion is to start from the beginning with a complete fresh start and pretend that you're going through this the first time.  Go to your authoritative agency where you live now and present them with whatever court orders you have obtained from Alberta.  If you do not have copies of your Green Sheets, it is WELL worth your time to re-order them from Alberta Courts.

You may need to send the same paperwork to Alberta MEP, so make copies and be prepared to answer any request.  I would be astounded and dismayed if you did not receive maximum cooperation.  This is the entire purpose for these agencies to exist, and to fail to provide you any less than the best of service is shameful.  Having said that, do your own homework, be prepared to answer each and every question they pass your way, and make sure that you can present to them evidence that you are owed the child support stated in a court order.  Otherwise anyone and everyone could be requesting money, right?

Do your legwork and feel free to post updates if you wish.

  - Mark

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

10/27/2012 12:17:53 AM #

Reading some of these comments is really putting some depression in my heart.

    I'm dealing with a court ordered child support payment totalling $30 000 from my Ex Wife in California.     She's not going after every single penny and has been pretty reasonable with all of this so i'll give you some background on my situation.

    Lived in California as an illegal immigrant when my son was born,  2 years later she cheated on me (I was still going through immigration to get a visa and so on) and she got pregnant from the affair.     I did everything I could,  councelling, supporting her through an abortion her mother paid for and demanded happen and I ended up coming home to Edmonton Alberta when I finally couldn't take anymore.

    The arguing was too much to handle, I couldn't talk to my son on the phone without her or her sister (living with her at the time) saying foul things to and about me in his presence so I cut off the phone calls and waited a few years to collect myself and rebuild from having absolutely nothing to my name and losing it all to her.

    Fast forward 10 years later and we are finally working things out.     I refused to send her money for many of those years because there was no way I could account for how it was managed or if I'd ever be credited for it (fully unaware of how MEP worked).     She set her self up as a creditor through Alberta MEP and I now make a 750.00 payment monthly with a $30 000 amount in debt for previous years owing.

  Now.   I have 0 visitation with my son.   We talk on Skype and thats it.     This whole MEP thing is new to me and i'm about 6 months in with payments and currently not making payments on the back child support.

   I'm starting to get the full on iron fisted hammer of the MEP and I don't know how to deal with it.    I'm extremely stressed,  my abilities at work are suffering and my job may be in jeopardy because I don't know what a restricted licence is or if my licence is completely gone,  I work with cars daily!   I'm super stressed about that.

    My biggest problem is that i've been sitting on this awful overexposing Financial declaration form.     Maintenance asked for it 15 days after May 22 2012 and I tried for a lawyer consultation and can't get a lawyer that fits my schedule or find info on how much it will cost to have a lawyer go through this with me.
    I'm not sure what to put in the form   I'm terrified about how much they will take from me and how my life will be affected from it.   Will I be able to survive?  What do they use to determine how much will be taken,  whats the maximum they can take?    Can my Ex and I determine the amount per month for child support?

    I'm so lost and stressed with it right now I've even thought about breaking up with my GF of 4 years because of it.    I won't even marry her because I fear of the burden she may endure because of this.

    I've left numerous messages to MEP,  Emails, phonecalls hourly and no replies asking if I can make arrangements but they want that financial form.     What can I do?   Just send it in?  Go to a lawyer and fill it out?    I don't like this system and after reading all these stories i'm freaked out.      I'm okay with paying back the child support and continueing my payments in the future but within reason.    I'd also like to see my son as well!


Greg Canada | Reply

10/29/2012 3:24:43 PM #

I am 51 years old, have nothing, laid off work a few weeks ago because of the hassles from MEP. They dont need the problems. 15 years of being controled every thing taken away. No driver license. no job and Mep still wants the monthly payment. Service charges penalties are all adding up. No life worth living dealing with an ex and MEP !!!!!! Served my country as a medic and this is the thanks I get

Lorne Canada | Reply

10/30/2012 7:10:24 PM #

Living in hell for 15 years no end to the problems with MEP. I was on track payment coming off my pay cheque. Then the recalculation program comes after me. They seem to have full power to do what they want change things with out any concerns. I was told to get a letter from my employer that they will garnishee my pay and I need my drivers license for work before they would allow me to renew my drivers license. Two weeks letter due to the admin burden I was let go for my work place. Now no job no drivers license. Cant pay my rent. %1 years old and no where to go !!!!!!

Lorne Canada | Reply

10/30/2012 10:41:17 PM #

Hello. I am a 51 year old male. I have nothing but problems for the past 15 years dealing with an ex and maintenance enforcement. To make a long story short, right now I have been laid off work due to problems from MEP. I live in Nanton, Alberta. I have no job no money no drivers license. Mep has refused to work with me. I can not believe the power that Mep has the system is abusive. I served my country as a medic and been around the world never to realize that I would be treated like a criminal. Sorry worse than a criminal they have rights. With Mep I have no rights. I have been advised to notify my local MP. I wish to make a formal complaint. Please check out the links to websites that show there is a problem with the system. As is I have no job, no money, no drivers license. Rent is due where do I go what is expected from a person that tries but the system says to bad jQuery1520958900026310523_1351815996774 I wonder in the end what it is costing the government to enforce a system that breaks people to the point of living on assistance. How many lives have to be taken because there is no balance, respect, consideration or system to promote fair effective positive out comes.  


Lorne McGlynn
[contact info redacted]

Lorne Canada | Reply

11/10/2012 5:23:07 PM #

like many of you i have had nothing but problems dealing with mep neither me nor my ex wants to deal with thees people we would much rather work it out between ourselves but we are forced to deal with them no mater what we do we cant seem to get them to listen anyways i found a face book page fore people to share there experiences there is only 5 people on it so far but maybe if more people join we will be able to pool are experiences and help each other out


brian Canada | Reply

11/12/2012 6:36:55 PM #

Off to court tomorrow to try to have a "stay" granted. MEP called me to inform me that the judge can not have my license supension lifted. So I guess I cany work need to be able to drive to and from work. Mep can't understand no drivers license no job. Faxed them a job offer and I need my license. They said only after three months of payments on time will they allow me to renew my drivers license.off to Alberta welfare after court. Rent and bills are do no job no money. Not allowed to get a job ??????

Lorne Canada | Reply

11/28/2012 10:57:08 PM #

I read the comments and as far as I can see,if you made it this many years without child support you don't need it.it took two parents to make the child! It's not about one parent and the other being a paycheck.maybe you should consider shared parenting and think of the kids?when you have a debtor and a creditor that's not a mom and dad!

Ivan Canada | Reply

12/6/2012 5:24:42 PM #

This is my first time online  regarding MEP. My daughter just turned 18 in November. One thing I want to make clear to anyone who refers to me as a "dead beat", is that I was the trriproudest, happiest and 1000%  committed to my wife and child. This was all ripped away from me when I was informed by my wife that she slept with another man. Long story short, I tried for a few months but I just couldn't accept that. she felt that leaving me with my daughter, and no help that I would have to keep her around. I worked long and hard to have my own home at 21 YO. I had great income at 27 when this happened. I had no problem making arrangements to accomadate my daughter, and I was happy to be able to buy a new bedroom suite I, mattress etc. To finally feel comfortable again in my own home. After 4 months she realized that we didn't need her. she proceeded to court, and even after a good fight, she took my daughter, my home, basically everything I worked very hard for for 10 Years. I was left with mortgage payment, two auto leases, and child support. All after spending all of my savings on lawyers, and court costs.
    Believe it or not, 4 Years later, I managed to purchase another home on my own. I met a women and life was good. We had a son together and I thought I was finally happy. She didn't come home one night, never called etc. that morning a weird feeling came over me, and I just knew that she was with her ex BF. I phoned her cell several times. No answer. I didn't have his address, but I knew his name. Called his parents and said I was a friend from out a town, and wanted to surprise him. When I got there I didn't see her car. I went to the garage and sure enough, there it was. There rest of this story is the same as the first one.

I'm 45 now. My entire life has been nothing but a fight with MEP!!! It has been one thing after another. They are the most unreasonable, rude people, and they make it almost impossible to support myself. My carreer

Vince A Canada | Reply

12/6/2012 5:38:32 PM #


My career is dependent on my licence. They have taken it the last time with out any notice. My pay stub from mid October for two weeks was 6280.00. AfternMEP and income tax was done with me, I took home 728.00!!  A crack head sitting on welfare makes more money that Indo on a 110,000 salary.Inasumed that I had a drivers licence until I was stopped by police, only to find out I didn't, along with no registration!  I am facing a minimum 12 Month suspension. I was fired as soon as my company knew I couldn't drive. It's Christmas. My bills are all overdue and my utilities are soon cut off. I have sent out over 150 resumes in the last two months and no one will even look at me without ability to drive. So here I sit, broke, hopeless, and completely defeated. I haven't seen my kids in months. I am having a really tough time finding something to keep living for.

Vince A Canada | Reply

12/6/2012 6:07:37 PM #

I am happy to see that I'm not the only guy going through this. I like how MEP refers to us as "dead beat dads" THE DEAD BEATS ARE THESE TRAMPS THAT SLEEP WITH ANY GUY THAT HAS MONEY JUST TO GET PREGNANT!! I met a doctor in Camrose who's wife was sleeping around. He now pays 18600.00/ month for three kids. Alot of these women, like my ex, have children with multiple men. Each one of us paying this pig thousands a month to provide her with luxury while we work our asses off to live in poverty! Our preimer, Allison, who very publicly, and passionately, backs this program, should be ashamed of herself. I know there are some guys that don't pay a cent and that's just wrong. But this system destroys already troubled families, I reversible damage to fathers relationships with their kids, and floods the courts with unnecessary cases.
There is only one way this will ever change and that's if we can pull together, get competent legal representation, and sue the government and their MEP for the loss of being with our kids, the emotional abuse, the financial impact, and the overall lack of quality of life. IT'S TIME WE STAND TOGETHER AND MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!  WE WILL NEVER BE HEARD AS INDIVIDUALS, THER MUST BE A FEW LAWYERS OUT THERE GOING THROUGH SIMILAR SITUATIONS. LETS GET THE BALL ROLLING AND TAKE BACK OUR LIVES!!!

Vince A Canada | Reply

12/13/2012 1:55:10 PM #

Everyone is frustrated with the over burdened system, so do the debtors or creditors want to pay more taxes or lawyer fees to have an efficient system? Think of how many government workers they would need to hire to just catch up on their calls. Its unrealistic to think they will just end the program or fix it with more money.

With computing power and software, someone should be able to come up with a better system for implementing, monitoring, assessing, collecting etc. Outsource the call centre to where you can hire 100 reps for the cost of one AB government worker; there are options. We need one really smart IT tech who can design a system that separates the problem debtors and creditors from the good, but unfortunately he or she will probably have to create the program for free and sell it to the government for free. Just giving them (the government) ideas only makes them set up committees to just consider your idea if you're lucky, someone needs to present them with an entirely new working model.

M Canada | Reply

12/14/2012 11:31:37 AM #

Then let's have a discussion about how many people they really need to get the work done.  Let's talk about what the role of the MEP needs to play.

Let's collectively decide whether they are going to be simple accountants ensuring that child support is paid in full and on time or let's decide if they are going to have powers to enforce the court orders.  If they are given the powers of enforcement, let's ensure that the entire court order is enforced and not simply the money half of it.

Let's decide how much we are willing and capable of outsourcing to a call centre - because from my standpoint we're getting poor call centre service right now.  There are *far* too many unmonitored accounts where a human only looks at the file when a computer alarm goes off now.

Certainly from my perspective - and that from many other posters here and folks I meet in real life - appears to be that the MEP works when you have an amiable split and a low-conflict separation.  When you're in a conflict-ridden divorce, it fails the 'debtor', the 'creditor' and most importantly the children.

If it's a choice between an inefficient system that abuses both parents and neglects the children versus paying a little more in taxes we need to make that choice openly.

We need to get the stakeholders to the table and figure out how to make it work.  The status quo quite frankly doesn't.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

12/26/2012 6:11:43 PM #

I was doing some research into MEP and found your blog. I am amazed at how many posts are similar to my situation and experience with MEP which does give me some hope, but also saddened that so many of your situations are a lot worse than mine. It gives me hope because I was begining to think it was all me; that I am the incompetent, stupid one. I will be reaching out to those who posted email addresses and to the organizations you mention here.

I have at least 4 years experience with MEP; sometimes good experiences I will admit but mostly a variation of the experiences described here. My 2012 dealings with them have left me so frustrated I contacted my MLA and I have now taken my complaint to the next level - the Alberta Ombudsman.
When I first spoke with the Ombudsman's office, I asked if they have had complaints about MEP before. I was told 'no'. It does not seem like that is the case from reading previous posts. My complaint focuses on the rampant bullying, harrassment and incompetence of MEP. If any of you have ever had to deal with "Amanda", you will understand the last one.

In July I received a request for payment of $2700 with 14 days deadline to pay. The letter was already 10 days old when it arrived at my house. Why does it take so long for a letter to leave their office? I think it is done so that your are immediately put onto the back-foot; their way of gaining the psychological upper hand.

It doesn't occur to them that most folks don't have that kind of money lying around. I called and asked for clarification on certain items but that took a further 8 weeks for them to get around to it. In the meantime, I was being harrassed with letters about reporting me to credit bureau, garnishee summons, lien on my house, removal of licence privaleges and eventually suspension of my licence, plus the bogus $25 per month penalty. The one threat I don't understand is the removal of my passport.

I documented every call, letter and fax. The threat letters from MEP usually stated that unless I contact them to arrange payment, they would do this and that. I was communicating with MEP frequently yet the threats kept coming. When I asked for them to stop, I was told that this was not possible.

Under duress, I paid before the date they were going to suspend my licence but asked for a review which is still ongoing. It's not about the money anymore, it's the bullying and harrassment of a decent law abiding, hard working citizen who has never shirked his duty to his children, morally or financially. If a business were to conduct themselves in this manner, it would be illegal and the owners would be prosecuted.

Additionally, I have seen my child twice in the last year, but this fact does not interest MEP.  

I am all for a class action lawsuit and banding together to form a group - where do I sign up? I am still going to press ahead with my complaint to the ombudsman. I will let you know how I make out.
Great to know there are others out there. In the words of another famous band of men: "let's roll."

George Canada | Reply

1/21/2013 9:33:48 PM #

i lived with my X for a few years, off and on relationship. i did have an out of province job in Saskatchewan and always tried to come home every weekend to pay the rent and to see my baby boy, All is the way it should be right ?.......
i came home to another man in my bedroom, and this is the day the x took everything from me.
here is the deal, i was in discussions with mep and as i was told by a mep agent (Dianne) here in edmonton that i can pay the X  directly as long as i get a signed receipt with her signiture ,  so this went on and was all good, but then it was agreed that since i was now living and working in Saskatchewan that i can pay her 3 months at a time, get my Receipt book signed and all is good, i even had my new girlfriend come with me a few times to the X's boyfriends trailer, ( the one i caught in my bed) and every time i had her sign the receipt book..  But later on in the month i got some letters and phone calls from MEP stating i did not pay the X for a long time,,, Well it turns out she (the X) told  MEP i was threatening her with her life to sign the receipts,.funny all these 28 times and there is no police report , even had my girlfriend there a few times while outside in the front yard getting my receipt book signed by the X........ and thats why MEP will not Validate what i have paid to her. so i have lost everything up to this point.  she didn't keep any of the receipt copy's but i have all mine with her signatures and witnesses,and they are put away and safe.

i did confront her about the boy even being mine and she did the clasic thing she always did when she lied to me.. so i guess its priority to see if there is a way to get a DNA test done,,

if you have any info that would be helpfull
im tracar (at) hotmail.com

travis Canada | Reply

1/21/2013 9:47:35 PM #

by the way i was so disgusted with the way MEP handled things i even made many appointment's to see them and work this issue out, all they wanted to do was a crap on my head for being a terrible human for not supporting my son, well i had it!!!  told everyone there to go Fu@@ them selves , and im not afraid of bullies like them.... that i want them to take me to court.. " Please take me to court " cause i know i will win. ....... its been many years of me begging the asshole on the other end of the MEP line to f them selves and get the ball rolling to take me to court ! with still no action from them.
i dont have the money to do it any other way. there is an endless amount of small details i could type here but this is the Jist of it

i lived for many years on the road traveling here and there, the free life, now i live back in edmonton , have a wife and want a child of our own,,but im afraid MEP will say i dont deserve it ....and really what can i do about it ??
what are your thoughts ??

travis Canada | Reply

4/5/2013 6:56:47 PM #

I could go on with stories for hours. Instead, I'll burden you with one quick one... I owe some $$ from when my payments were $2k a month for one son (my income was$40K) but I've been paying a court ordered amount and everything is fine UNTIL (!!!) I broke my foot at work. INSTANTLY, MEP attached to my EI Disability cheque to the tune of 50% of the cheque. May I also add the amount they take is actually more than the court order repayment plan?? Lets not even mention that my income is less then half of what it was... nothing can be done, I've been battling for two weeks now. We wage war against people on the other side of the world but don't give two sh*ts about what happens in our own back yards.

Its disgusting how much power these people have. One day some poor bastard will snap and I shutter to think what an angry frustrated and destitute father could do. Some people might be reading this asking where they can send this so far fictitious guy a donation???

GWC Canada | Reply

4/12/2013 6:07:08 PM #

You are far from alone.

See www.youtube.com/divorceinjustice for a re-enactment of two MEP interviews, with links to supporting documentation.  It was a very skilled lawyer and luck that got us the transcripts - they have been recreated to demonstrate dirty government scare tactics and bullying.

Not all non-custodial parents are 'deadbeats'!!

Divorce Injustice Canada | Reply

4/14/2013 3:06:20 AM #

I will not attest to the truthfulness of the interviews, I expect that you shall investigate them on your own and decide for yourself.

I will confirm that I have been threatened, indirectly and directly, with incarceration myself.  I will unquestionably attest before each and every person in Alberta that I have felt threatened, bullied and extorted by the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program who have taken it upon themselves to assume that I have been hiding assets, that I have perjured myself on court documents, and that I have intentionally refused work in an effort to avoid paying child support.  All of these allegations I have been subjected to have been categorically false.

I have a very difficult time reconciling the civic-minded, community oriented person I believe myself to be with the nefarious criminal the MEP makes me out to be.

I also have extreme sympathy to the single Moms who are desperate to collect basic child support from their former spouses so their children can have decent lives.

The problem is in the program.  I call for immediate reform.

We deserve to have an honest conversation about the program as a whole.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

4/25/2013 7:35:35 PM #

What can realistically be done ???,does anyone really care about the real abuses that happen daily to hundreds of both debtors or payees and far more importantly the children that MEP was created to help.Without being dramatic they really are a faceless gestapo type of organization.I am not an activist but this needs to change.There must be alot of us around that can attest to the fact that sometimes MEP makes bad situations far worse and EVERYBODY loses.MEP is the only government organization that I know of that fines you for earning less money than you did in the past.Statements of finance are a complete farce(they don't care if you have nothing they will tell you to pay more out of your nothing that you started out with) as is the notice on the stationary that if you find yourself having problems to contact them.Good luck with that,you have a better chance of going for a unicorn ride or shaking hands with a sasquatch after the aliens drop you off.The general public seems to see all debtors as deadbeats and losers.There are plenty of those out there but I am not one of them.Surely something can be done despite the bad optics of being a part of giant dysfunctional life destroying machine.

   MEP needs to exist and I should be a part of it because I have fallen behind and that is a fact.As any one who knows the MEP mailbox drill there is no worse feeling than the first "possible reporting to credit bureaus"letter lands in the box after 3 months of numerous and unsuccessful attempts to let them know that the money is coming soon.
Then the every other day MEP envelope for the next few weeks until the big one,the one that just cost you your job and means your daughter isn't going out of town to see her friends for a while because your the only one that drives.The license suspension with its own hidden fines built in.Someone please explain to me how this in any way,shape or form is an appropriate punishment for someone who is truly is unable to pay(and can prove it).

    When did it become alright to kick some one when they are down in this country.I am an open book to MEP ,all levels of government and damn near anyone else.I am not hiding money and would gladly permit full access to prove it at any time because I have nothing to hide.We are still people who have unexpected problems come up that are unavoidable and the system does not account for this perpetual fact of life.I was given the analogy that MEP was created to make sure it wasn't hot dogs at one house and fillet mingnon at the other for ythe children involved.They can make so its a tent on onside and still no payment for the other side.This does nothing but create a lose/lose situation again which is the one thing MEP excels at.

    No wonder some people can't take it anymore and make the final irreversible decision.When you become a file number and despite all your best efforts to pay,comply and do your best with what you've got, the machine continues to grind you up and no one who can make a difference cares,that kind of despair can be deadly not to mention the substance abuse issue(there no pain if you don't feel anything!!)

   Just to clarify my situation is pretty simple with no animosity between the parties ,I am more involved than anyone in my kids life and pay for most extras willingly.I am about to lose my license for being 4 months behind and I sent MEP payment over two weeks ago

scott strehlen Canada | Reply

4/27/2013 4:22:49 PM #

Hi Mark, thanks so much for posting and the insight.

The interviews are absolutely true...again, we have the documented court transcripts, as well as all supporting documentation (as submitted to the courts) to back up all claims and statements (I have the content; just have to post it online).  These are facts only; not opinion.

The opinion part comes in when one considers how the gov't processes the 'debtor'.  Is it fair?  Is it just?  What repercussions does it have on the rest of the 'debtor's life or family?

You are 100% correct when you say 'the problem is with the program'.  It seems the 'program' (meaning MEP) leaves very little recourse except activism and exposing their strategies.  MLA's, mayors, the press - none of them want to hear about it.  No one listens.  It is an extremely complex and opaque process resembling a dictatorship:  Do As I Say Because I Say So.

Thank you again for the exposure...it has tremendous value to those of us affected.

Jeremy Canada | Reply

5/2/2013 1:35:21 AM #

Hello again Mark,  and thank you so much for helping to get the word out.  Please note we have provided links to the transcripts below each video at youtube.com/divorceinjustice

You may have to click 'Show more' to see / click the links.

Many thanks again.

Divorce Injustice Canada | Reply

4/25/2013 9:03:20 PM #

    Sorry about that I am actually 6 months behind and I mean the license suspension is the next step. I received my first letter on April 9 2013 and sent payment on April 10 2013 and still no payment showing 15 days later and the letters keep coming and I can't speak to anyone.I cannot imagine the nightmare if the situation was complicated.My problem will be resolved but the system is unbelievably dysfunctional to the detriment of all involved.

scott strehlen Canada | Reply

6/9/2013 6:02:47 PM #

I am one father who believes the term "dead beat dad" is very misused and unfair. With the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program pushing unfairly hard and treating all fathers as one collective criminal, I fully believe they have taken lives. My personal saga has been a life of unrelenting parental alienation, a few years of less work due to a very real heart condition and FMEP coming at me hard with fines, leins, drivers lincence hold, and removing "all" monies from my bank accounts. Without the help of family and friends through this unrelenting stressfull time and outright bullying by FMEP and the courts facilitating my ex wifes crazy hatred, I would have taken my life by now to escape and make a statement. The Canadian Gov Website stats of male suicide proves this, as even they sum it up and strongly point to my findings and close call experience. Shame on Canada, Shame on all of us. This does not even touch on the males who drink themselves to death as they try and figure out why society is pounding them to death as they look through the fog hopelessly.

fatheroftwosons Canada | Reply

6/11/2013 8:24:20 PM #

I   just read  aa lot of  letters her and all legidament   complaints   but let me tell you  waht it is like when you are raising  your kids and MEP   pulls your drivers from under you    you  got no way to get to work  noway to get them to a doctor   .noway to provide a decent living  for the children and if I am not correct is there not a law in place that says  no one can take away your means to provide a proper education   ,health care  and other standards that we need  to feed our children  .  like you say   Shame on Canada   , sorry no shame on the efn Queen   that allows a law like this to be put in place  is she her self not a mother and grandmother   and are not  the people that work at mep parents as well  and know how difficult it is to raise a child with out  a job . not only that


Brian Skjaveland Canada | Reply

6/14/2013 1:20:37 AM #

well i am in the same boat as all of you, but something everyone forgets is the gov. work for US THE PEOPLE we all need to stand up and say enough is enough. MEP breaks every law..........treats us like bleep. no one is above the law.

chris Canada | Reply

6/20/2013 9:24:38 AM #

Our site aims to explore the truth about the Maintenance Enforcement Programs in BC, Alberta and elsewhere with video, interviews, dialog and facts about the programs overall ineffectiveness and the negative impact on many families.

This site was inspired by the National Film Board of Canada’s GDP Project (http://gdp.nfb.ca/intro), the many individuals and families who reached out and told me their stories and the Anti-Maintenance Enforcement Program Facebook Group.


The Maintenance Enforcement Project Canada | Reply

7/4/2013 5:19:21 AM #

My partner has also had a terrible experience with MEP.  We contacted both our MLA and MP.  The MP told us to work with the MLA first and if no results then to contact them back.  Well the MLA was awesome.  I demanded a Ministerial Inquiry and they had us put everything that occurred down in writing.  Once MEP was contacted by the MLA suddenly they were much more cooperative and even gave back thousands of dollars that they had helped themselves to despite having alreay recieved all payments.  They then spoke to my partner with kindness whenever he had to call and were very solicitous to him.  
Try this tactic.  They have to answer to someone!

Good luck!

DEB B Canada | Reply

8/1/2013 1:20:40 AM #

Please consider getting in touch with us, and keeping us in the loop. http://www.mep-project.com/cms/?page_id=2

Also please join the Anti-Maintenance Enforcement Program Group on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/2374072958/

Thank you.

The Maintenance Enforcement Project

The Maintenance Enforcement Project Canada | Reply

7/16/2013 12:02:41 AM #

Our site aims to explore the truth about the Maintenance Enforcement Programs in BC, Alberta and elsewhere with video, interviews, dialog and facts about the programs overall ineffectiveness and the negative impact on many families.

This site was inspired by the National Film Board of Canada’s GDP Project (http://gdp.nfb.ca/intro), the many individuals and families who reached out and told me their stories and the Anti-Maintenance Enforcement Program Facebook Group.


The Maintenance Enforcement Project Canada | Reply

8/1/2013 4:19:06 AM #

I have had an accident in 2006 where I fell 30 feet and i had to stay in the hospital for a month when i got home i had recieved a letter saying i was two payments behind. I called mep to find out what i can do as obviously i wouldnt be working for a long time i was told find a way to pay it and not be a dead beat piece of shit

Ryan Canada | Reply

8/1/2013 5:05:20 AM #

Few years later 2008 had shoulder surgery paid my ex she refused to give reciepts a year later she swears an oath i din't pay her they go after me for a years worth of payments and they went full extreme. She got the years worth of payments just by swearing to an oath and not reporting anything for the year. All tgecwhile i wad being treated like garbage called a dead beat threatened had everything taken awsy from me.
My next surgery was july 2013 same shoulder was told by my ex shevwould cancel arrears but she then turns around and tells me i need to learn my lesson they arenow pulling my license that i need for work which I  just started two weeks ago. I have been transfered to voicemails with no box to go to.  Called a dead beat yelled at. Contacted the mla and they just told me what maintnance fold me mean while my ex makes 50 000 a year and im making 14000 and raising a child full time i have faced eviction 4 times this year. And no grocercy but they abuse me with no one to control them and i recieve abuse from them and my ex who uses this to punish me for leaving her abuse in 2004.

Ryan Canada | Reply

10/27/2014 5:34:51 PM #


Help is on the way.

There is a rapidly growing alimony reform movement south of the border with very large states rewriting their alimony for life laws. New Jersey has passed their law on Sept 2, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Texas and Utah have also updated their laws. " In New Jersey ,the changes are a complete turnaround in public policy".The listed states make a substantial portion of the US population... roughly 70 million people and growing.


The reason for change?

Politicians are now being bitten by the very divorce laws they once endorsed.

Soon the sun will shine upon you again.

Keep it that way. DO NOT remarry or co habitate if you wish to live well with peace of mind. To invite perpetual discord under your roof and expect otherwise is not realistic.

Further, our society commands we treat women with equality but all self reporting by women shows they want entitlement not equality. In marriage, almost all women marry men who make more money. If he loses his job, the chances of divorce rise markedly; not so if she stops working. If two spouses make high professional incomes the women will usually self adjust earnings downward by less hours or leaving the workforce.

In other words, the men who follow society's advice and have equal marriages have the greatest probability of divorce. The more equal a woman self reports herself in marriage; the more unhappy she says she is, the Scandinavian countries reporting the most female unhappiness:

The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

Remember Chekov's truth: " If you don't like misery; don't get married "

Lifelong bachelor & student of marriage

Publius | Reply

3/16/2016 12:31:32 AM #

I am so sick of debtors crying how bad off they are.
I did not get a cent from my gainfully employed ex-spouse for my two children. Why? Because he knew there was not anyone who could make him pay. My children lived in abject poverty while he gained an even more comfortable lifestyle at the expense of his children. The loser did not even think to at least put away money so his children could attend post-secondary education.
Alberta MEP is not only a joke, they are a waste of tax payers money. Instead of me being allowed to decide how I can actively peruse support legally on my own, the hold me hostage. I'm not able to find alternate means of collection while the loser laughs at the pathetic MEP system we have.
MEP is a created entity to attempt to make the government look like they give a dam, but they don't. Unless MEP is capable of getting the money, the laws should be changed so that at least a person has the option to at least to take it to an effective collection method. Tax dollars are severely wasted by paying the unqualified MEP employees who don't give a dam. These employees know they have a gravy train, all they have to do is hit buttons, but not bother to enforce action. As each day goes by, the MEP employees get thier pay cheque while children are screwed over. Perhaps if thier job was dependant on the employees' success, this pathetically run program may b worth the tax payers money.

Ms Me | Reply

8/16/2016 11:55:18 AM #

I apologize, this post got missed in moderation.

This blog is not debtors crying how bad off we are.  It's that the system is broken and both sides of the equation have significant problems as it's been implemented.  I hear an equal number of complaints as to how hard it is to collect maintenance even though it's been granted in a court order.  These pages are littered with difficulties with hyper-aggressive over-enforcement and nonchalant under-enforcement.  It has harmed parents and families under both the "debtor" and "creditor" labels.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

4/21/2016 5:00:34 PM #

i dont know if anyone notice mep is all about the money especially all the fee that they add too all debtors. the more they can mess up a debtor the more money they can make

rod | Reply

5/18/2016 2:03:28 PM #

Hi folks,

Some of you have commented and I discovered this morning that although I have "Approved" them the way I used to, they have not been showing as approved on the website.  My apologies if you've been waiting - I will fix this before next Friday.

While I'm typing, let me take this opportunity to mention a few things about how I personally operate here:

1.  Use your name or a pseudonym at will.  I don't much care, and I appreciate the danger of using your real name on something permanent that could be used against you in court, even if it's only a lowly blog out here.  Please be safe, I recommend being non-specific and I absolutely insist on respectful conversation.
2.  BE AWARE!  Yes, the Edmonton Police have phoned me personally asking to identify a commentator.  I have no qualms confirming the IP address with which you posted from.  I'm also a technical guy and I know very well the IP address may or may not be identifying.  I presume the MEP is aware of this blog - they remain unresponsive towards me.
3.  I will absolutely approve comments that disagree with me.  This is also my blog and I reserve the right to having the last word.
4.  I do try to respond when someone is asking for help, but I'm not a lawyer or do this professionally - I'm just a guy.  I will guide you towards a couple of groups that do good work in Calgary and Edmonton and do what I can.
5.  Please be mindful, I'm still not out of the woods myself.  I'm keenly aware that MEP can (and will) make my own life a living Hell should they see fit.  That inequity remains the root of my complaint, I understand and appreciate many others have many different difficulties with the department.

Ultimately this should be about making MEP responsive to all of us as clients - mothers, fathers, custodial and non-custodial, and for the betterment of ourselves and our children and not merely making mouth-noises that the grief we are being subjected to is "in the best interests of the child."

Mark Zaugg | Reply

5/20/2016 10:36:44 PM #

I have been divorced now since 2012. When I left the marriage I had a pretty good paying job in the oil patch. We sold the acreage that I built with my own hands (cleared the lot, built the home as well as developed the basement, 4200 sq ft worth, and completed all the landscaping) all while she drove the kids to and from sporting events.
She spent money like it was water and I had to consolidate debts 3 times to stay afloat. After we split, she refused to stay in the same city and moved to Edmonton, 4 hours away with my kids. I was working shift work the whole time so my schedule did not line up with my kids school and intense sporting schedules some of the times while I was off. I did my best to travel down to meet them on days off, from 10 to 20 times a year, sometimes only seeing them one day or evening out of the 6 days off. All travel was out of my pocket because a judge believed that I consented to the move.
My payments to her for my 3 kids amounted to $4800 a month roughly. I was barely making ends meet. Despite giving her 70% of the proceeds of the sale of the acreage, paying off the debts she accumulated and the travelling all year I managed to get a new house, renovate it and have a buddy move in as well as a renter in the basement to help out with mortgage and expenses. I even kept a respectable credit rating for the first short while.
Due to work requirements, I was forced to work OT onsite during plant shutdowns that jacked my wages up substantially, and then the next year I was forced to continue getting OT to keep up with the new reassessed amounts from MEP because my payments were based on the year before. This started to restrict access to my kids so I took it on the chin and paid out the ridiculous sums and didn't take OT to supplement my income. I lived on very little income and even less sleep.

I took my kids camping, fishing, skiing, Disney World and the Bahamas, Arizona to see grandparents, etc, etc. My ex did very little of this, instead she opted to travel with them to skating competitions. I was responsible for 70% of section 7 expenses, of which one year was $33,000.00. Judge thought that was fair.
MEP has garnisheed my wages at the oil company, threatened every legal action known to man. I have asked repeatedly for receipts for the section 7 expenses myself and through my lawyer only to get a response that "they seem reasonable to us", with no paperwork to review.

Eventually I left my employment with the big oil producer to go out on my own and do contract work so that I could move to Edmonton to be closer to my kids, have a home they could come to visit,
I have been tacked on to a "special Investigator" at MEP to handle my file, which was news to me. I have sent him statements of finance to show him what my expenses and payouts were when times were lean in the oil patch. He said he would review them and get back to me, which he never did. Instead I got more threatening letters and penalties attached to my file for not paying all at once. Despite the over $60,000.00 tax free she received, each year I was greeted with anywhere from an extra $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 bill for section seven expenses which had to be paid in full immediately upon receipt of the letter. Who the hell has that kind of money laying around?? I had to let it build because I was mortgaged to the hilt and in debt on cards and everywhere else. I still kept going to see my kids though and do what I could with them while they weren't at competitions, which I frequently didn't know about and would show up to get them while they were out of town! Thank god I could stay at my parents place to mitigate costs.

Due to the rapid increase in housing costs, I made pretty good money on my house up north, but when I moved to Edmonton, I was faced with the equally high cost of purchasing a new one. I found one that matched the sale price of the one I sold. Much nicer than the renovated one of course because of the heated market up north. I sold every piece of furniture I had and many possessions so I could buy newer stuff for the new house and have rooms for my kids to stay over. My son stayed twice in 3 years and that's it.

When I sold my place up north, MEP took $68,000.00 from the sale and gave it to her. She made $116,000.00 tax free that year but MEP still put a lien on my new house just the same. Note: My ex works as a city manager and makes aprox $120,000.00 gross each year. Guess I must be a very bad guy! At one point when my oldest graduated school, I asked for a reassessment by MEP of the amounts I was paying due to a substantial decrease in salary. This was also associated with the fact that I was filling out yet another financial statement for them. I was attacked on all sides by my kids asking why I wanted to throw them out into the street. They all reiterated that their mom was saying I was hiding money!!How that was even remotely possible I do not know! My relationship with my kids was tenuous at best because of the crap my ex was feeding them all along but it got way worse then. I had to sit and discuss finances with my oldest to make her understand and even show her payment sheets from MEP to get the point across. I continued to make the same payments because now my eldest was in university so she was still eligible for support.

Soon after I moved to Edmonton to be near my kids, my ex decided it was best for my middle daughter to move to Vancouver to be with the best skating coaches in the country at 16 years old because the Royal Glenora skating club was closing. The fact that an Olympic skater and coach was still here in Edmonton did nothing to keep her here. Initially she stayed in a rented room in a house with other skaters at $750 per month. The coaching fees were enormous. She did do well and eventually got to the international circuit and was doing well there too. I was and am very proud of her and did my best to stay in touch and encourage her. I could only stay in touch by text or Facebook because they couldn't talk on the phone due to cost for their Mom. I certainly couldn't afford it. I texted before, during and after each competition as much as I could, to offer support and congrats no matter what the outcome and tell her how proud I was!

Then, after spending time with my son and creating a good relationship, I find out that ex has arranged for my son to join his sister in Vancouver for the same reasons. I had no say and if I did raise a concern about being on their own in a big city at that age, or the cost, or educational concerns, I was told that I was trying to interfere in their chosen sport and career and was being selfish.
I traveled to see them in Vancouver a couple times using Airmiles for flights and paying hotels and food and activities out of pocket just to be there cause their mom complained I was interested in seeing them ... through them telling me this. I continued going into debt from these jaunts but never ever mentioned my financial situation to them, except when I was accused of hiding money and even then I didn't expose everything to them.

With the collapse of oil prices I have had scarce contracts for work, sometimes being off work for months at a time waiting for a new contract to go to work.
I still managed to fly to Lake Placid New York to see my son compete in a prestigious international competition. My ex fawned at how wonderful it was to see me come all that way to see him and that he was very happy too. Again, airmiles and then a very very low rent fleebag motel while my son and ex stayed at the best resort in town along the main strip.

once again I find myself out of work because of low oil and now the fires up north with no prospects on the horizon. When I was off before I had to continue to dip into my RRSP's to cover off my support payments. The financial adviser did't withhold enough taxes like I asked, so I got nailed by Revenue Canada for $20,000.00 in back taxes for money I never even benefited from. On top of that, once my RRSP was completely depleted, MEP got a court order to go and take $46,000.00 out of my LIRA. Since then I recieved another letter from MEP saying I owe another $22,000.00 for new section 7 expenses. Despite paying off back debt each time I continue to be threatened by MEP and they have never lifted the lien on my new house. I called the guy who my file was assigned to and his voicemail says he is now on a new project and not to leave a message because it won't be returned. He listed a new number for the special investigations branch which I have called numerous times and it is never answered and there is no voicemail. This same Pr**k wouldn't even return my lawyers calls up till now.

After a year of university and tens of thousands of dollars, my 20 year old middle daughter decided to quit skating and move to Mexico to work on a resort so she could learn Spanish. The same resort my ex had taken them to on many occasions. She was subsequently cut off MEP support which was uncontested.

My son continues to skate at Junior national and Olympic level of which I am very supportive and proud. He is graduating in June but will be doing another year of school to upgrade for university. My eldest just graduated University and because I can never get a straight answer as to schooling, jobs, even competitions, I submitted a request to MEP to get a status update on the kids, mainly my eldest.
I also asked my lawyer, who i have now paid upwards of $50,000.00 to over the past 9 or 10 years, to make an application to the courts to put my payments on hold for 3 months while I try to get work. MEP and my Ex's lawyer have branded me a deadbeat Dad because of this and my kids are now furious with me, refusing to even talk to me. My son and middle daughter have even asked me not to attend my sons grad, despite the facty I have already booked airline tickets and rooms on airmiles for myself, my girlfriend and parents to attend.

On many occasions over the past few years I have had to shell out extra money to replace worn out shoes, clothes, computers, and other items despite the amount of support I have given. I have multiple notices from my bank about missed mortgage payments, credit card companies about overdue payments and over limit amounts, thousands in interest payments etc.

So despite doing everything I could to stay engaged with them, pay my bills and support them in every way I could while skirting bankruptcy all the while I am still being treated like an ATM machine by MEP, my ex and my kids with no end in site for the foreseeable future! This system that they have set up only tears families apart, it does nothing to help alleviate issues that come up, because the people put in place to make it work are callus cretins who have no sympathy or compassion and only see what they want to with not enough oversight or controls in place to keep them on track.They have far too much power and latitude to wield it and they all see it as just a public sector job dealing with pre-judged people.

R | Reply

6/15/2016 5:08:11 PM #

Hi there, I'm trying to figure out what to do in my situation in regards to my ex, so I was doing some research trying to decide if I should register him with maintenance or not. After 20 years of marriage he decided to leave, because the grass is greener on the other side I guess. We have 5 children together and I was a stay at home mom all these years, although I did watch other children to help out while he was going to school. I supported him and loved him, and forgave him over and over for behaviours and addictions that I won't go into details about. I told him that I would never divorce him, because in a strange way it kept my kids safe. In the end he decided to leave me and agreed that having the kids with me full time was best. He can see them whenever, but chooses to see them very little, maybe a couple of hours every two weeks, although he had the two youngest boys for a sleepover a few months ago, but that's about it. He is on 100% commission for work and was earning pretty good money, but now is hardly working and is saying that he's going to make really good money with real estate and some other scheme. His colleagues who he was on par with are still making good money even in this economy and there really is no excuse for not working and yet he has checked out. I've done training and am finally working 100% commission, but I also have five children that I'm running around to different activivities ( that we've scrimped,just so we could pay for it, because he hasn't) I've had to say no to my older two daughters for activities and they have been nice about it. They are wonderful children and we've had to pull together just to survive. They have used their babysitting money for groceries. We are baking bread and cookies from scratch ( which is healthier anyway), just so we can have a bit of money for fresh fruits and vegetables, and basically all our meals are made at home. We take short showers because the hot water tank is old and doesn't give enough hot water for a full shower. They are growing and need new clothes every few months, although we do get to hand down a few items which is awesome. I basically have stayed the same size for twenty five years, so I can add a few items to my wardrobe at very little cost and still look decent. I don't go the lu lu lemon route, which is all good. At Christmas time I got gifts for the children and said I would put his name down if he paid me for half. He hasn't, and I don't think he ever will. He owed me around 20 thousand by January but wriggled out of it, so we hit reset and have been going by the government calculater. He now owes me 17 thousand and that number jumps to over 20 thousand at the beginning of July. I'm doing everything I can to catch up on the mortgage and bills and I am scared. We live in a modest house in a modest neighbourhood in a nice part of the city, and I could sell the house, but rent is more expensive than mortgage payments, and I don't think I would ever be able to get down payment for another house, so I'm hanging on, and honestly the kids have done well, partly because they haven't been uprooted. When I try to talk to him about support payments, he gets angry and throws around words like "harassment", "nagging" etc... I'm so tentative about asking him about money now, and it is hurtful and emotionally draining. I feel like I'm begging him and I really hate that. Our divorce will go through in the next couple of weeks and I told him that I would have to register him with maintenance just so I don't need to talk to him about money anymore and he said" good, they'll only ever take 50% off anyways, so I'll be better off". I will never get lawyers involved because they just from what I've seen and heard, like to make money and prolong a fight. All I want is for my ex to acknowledge that he actually has children, by at least helping put a roof over their head, and making sure they are warm in the winter and have food to eat. I really want that man that I married, or at least the honourable part of him, to make an apparence and do the right thing without maintenance or government involvement, but I feel like I'm getting backed into a corner. I've been working with him on this since he left 16 months ago and all I get is nothing. Is my best route to register him with maintenance? I just don't know.

An ex wife | Reply

6/15/2016 5:20:11 PM #


This is the one thing MEP does somewhat well.  Don't expect stellar results to your satisfaction all the time.

Also, I really do understand that it's extremely rough in Alberta right now and I have noticed a marked rise in visitors to this blog, with more emails and comments.  My advice remains the same:

1. Use your name or a pseudonym at will.  Be non-specific and protect yourself.
2. Use your email address if you hope for a reply or example@example.com if you're just commenting.  I don't care.
3. Please remember, I'm just a divorced guy with some experience here, I am not a qualified professional.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

8/11/2016 7:09:46 AM #

Anytime I have been abused by MEP I send a letter to the Justice Minister. Things are dealt with in a day. Screw the MLA or Ombudsman go right to the top! The MEP is an abuse of power on the highest level. The system needs to change, I have been debtor for 13 and a half years and now that I am Creditor it's the same thing.

Look I'm not prejudiced, I own a colored TV. But most of the people that I have talked to with MEP are of a different culture, and are actually quite stupid. Can't read (the court order) and have no understanding of "Legalese" the language the court order is written in. When you want to get their name to complain about their treatment of you or the way they translate the court order you are hung up on because your tone is not to their liking or treated with contempt... and then hung up on. I have had security called on a few occasions also (when I actually went to their office) and that was a laugh! I remember one time a supervisor who was a really big black fellow came out (to try and bully me) and was no help with my problem so I asked him his name so I could send ANOTHER letter to the justice minister, he wouldn't give me it. So i told him that I gave him my name so he should give me his it's proper manners and he told me he wasn't going to. I started calling him Tyrone from that point, he really liked that. I have no respect at all for MEP and I let them know my disgust with everything they are about every time they have dealings with me. My thoughts are the system needs to change and I will make things difficult enough for them that they themselves will want to change it! I think everyone should tell them they are a waste of taxpayers money and they should all go find a job more suited for their skillsets like McD's or Timmy's.  

Long story short, I lost my job, a medical condition made it impossible to work 50 hours a week and my employer needed 65, I was let go. After 8 mnths of looking for work and falling behind 4 payments MEP took my license, passport and put every restriction possible on me. Why would they do that? Because I refused to play their game, I couldn't make payment arrangements because I had no job, I couldn't find a job because I lived out of the city and there are no buses to my town. Things were grim, thank god for my new wife and her keeping up with the bills. I was at the end of my rope.   I finally told my son that it was now or never boy, If he ever want to live with me. Now was the time. He went home told his mom he was moving and moved out. It was that simple. My son needed to grow some balls and he did. He had been asking his mother for 3 years if he could live with me and she always told him flat out no, and had no problem guilting him into not pressing it. She threatened with the cops, the cops can't do a thing, they'll try to bully you but if the kid is not in danger and wants to be there, THE CHILD has the right to be there. I went to serve her papers, with two witnesses and was promptly assaulted by her 11th domestic partner she has lived with since we split. I went to the copshop to fill out a complaint and they told me they don't take complaints at the copshop, I promptly told them off also, you know the usual, their Duty to "Protect & Serve" the people and I also threw in that the 8 of them standing around by then are probably missing their time at the Timmy's where all the real crime is. I called the "Complaint line to give my story, they took it and said an officer would call back. He did the next day to tell me they wouldn't be looking into it. I guess his buddies at the 50th St station let him know I went in there and raised hell. LOL they are just as useless in my opinion. I did manage to get her served with papers two days later when I snuck into her office and served her there. That was priceless, no gorilla to protect her from the big meany! I handed her the papers and smiled, her face went beat red and I knew she was sooooo angry at me for doing it at her work because SHE couldn't cause a scene.
I went to court on my own without a lawyer with an "abridgment of service"(so you get a court date in a week) for a court application for maintenance and to have my overpayment rectified. Guess what? Security was called there too! All because of some fat ugly diesal burning court lawyer who the ex snapped up on the way in. After a nice quiet discussion with a whipper snapper sherrif about his GAY haircut, how he won't get rich on $15/hr and how he also smells funny. (If you aren't violent they can't do shit!) The judge looked at the evidence and the "ARREARS" were cancelled due to overpayment the previous three years except for the "fees" of MEP for $229.The judge also said she needed to pay from May 1, 2016. Well doesn't that court order have so much weight? Here it is Aug 11, 2016 and she has not paid a red cent. I gave Maintenance the court order the day of the court date June 20, 2016 and they have not tried to collect a cent. But they did make a deal with her on the arrears at a repayment plan of $25/mth. How is it that a creditor doesn't make his own payment agreement? Next time I go to the bank I'm going to tell them that my 13 year old is going to make the repayment agreement with them. That should work... Anyways I still haven't paid the fees to MEP, the b*#@ch ex owes $1500 in arrears and MEP has taken my license again because they can't take their fees out of the money she owes me, FML the people at MEP are sooo USELESS! Has anyone seen what they make at MEP? It's an obscene amount for being stupid and worthless! I hope MEP is reading this thread, they can go F*@k themselves. They are worthless and stupid and they smell funny. Have I mentioned they can go F*@k themselves.
To wrap it up, 13 years of being a good "Debtor (at one time I had $2800 in credit with MEP due to padding every payment. The only one that had a credit, in all of Alberta MEP) The last 6 months have been hell but I will make it my unemployed-assed mission to be a thorn in their asses until they change their ways. You should do the same. Maybe I'll look into being a Freeman on the land and step away from this whole nasty system....

Elad | Reply

8/16/2016 10:45:59 AM #

There is an awful lot in this comment.  Some of which I really don't like and some of which I do.

Abusive agents working at the MEP has been an experience I've encountered far too often.  Once is far too often, and it has happened a great deal more than just once to me alone.  The MEP tells you that abusive treatment is not acceptable in pre-recorded messages, I strongly and vocally urge any clients of the MEP to take the same policy and refuse to accept abusive treatment by the MEP itself.  I have no doubt that the MEP and it's agents have acted inappropriately here.

On the other hand, misbehaviour on the part of the MEP and it's agents is no reason for carte blanche criticism in return.  Yes, there are some brutally terrible agents and should I ever get one identifying as "Vicky" even 10 years after the fact I will continue to hang up and call back later.  Not all agents are stupid or unable to read the court order, there are also agents that read the court orders with an extremely fine tooth comb and will nit pick it to the nth degree to the point where neither side is happy while ignoring the base arguments that lead to the dispute.  (Some day down the road I'll elaborate here, but not until I'm finished with the MEP.)

Acting like a dick to the Sheriff or court agents does not help our cause.  That's part of what is creating the hard feelings and getting in the way of actually solving problems.  I can't support or encourage that behaviour at all.  Call them out when they are acting abusive or unfairly, but be respectful in return.

What I do like is this shows the problems exist whether you are a debtor or a creditor.  I have no problem saying out loud that the system is broken when it's failing everyone involved.  This is not okay.

What I find most intriguing about this is the suggestion to go straight to the Justice Minister.  Frequent readers will know that the first Justice Minister I dealt with directly was Ms. Alison Redford.  My results were less than satisfactory -- I was literally told the system was working as intended, then I was figuratively patted on my head and sent on my way.

Dare I hope we have a responsive Justice Minister?  We can't have an unending line of people in the role blind to the harm that's being done on their watch.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

8/12/2016 1:17:22 PM #

I think this is great and i think mep is great and it actually gets the men who are lying out of lying because if you don't give them what they want they charge yah.  lol serve all you men right haha....I think all you men are thinking whowas me but are you thinking about your children.  ??? Seriously thats what mep is about, fighting for those children to have what they need, want and more because the child deserves the best and its in the best interest of your children.  You can't pay?, then hell yes I hope mep charges you like crazy because its not about you, its about our babies.  And they deserve everything.  Who cares if you are broke get your butt working and prove you are a good parent or you are exactly that.  A "dead beat"

belinda | Reply

8/16/2016 11:03:24 AM #

Some troll is not paying attention.

This is not a gender problem.

This is definitely not a "dead beat" problem.

This is categorically not the MEP doing what's best for the children.  Although it's an awfully nice line they can hide behind.

How is it in anyone's best interest to pull a parent's driver's license and prevent them from working?  It only makes it impossible to make the income necessary to support one's children!

How is it in anyone's best interest to levy fine after fine to a parent, directly taking away the ability of that parent to spend much-needed time with their children?

How is it in anyone's best interest to send creditors on never-ending goose chases trying to collect the court ordered child support in the first place?  It seems the sob story some creditors offer are much more effective for some people than others.  The unlevel handling of cases creates a very disproportional appearance in how cases are dealt with.  Some are getting the book thrown at them, others are skating away while the director decried the millions of dollars owed in back support.

How is this working for anyone?

How does one think that trolling here accomplishes anything beyond demonstrating the thick-headed stereotypical views we have to deal with each and every day?

Targeting the broke man and diminishing him as a dead beat only shows your ignorance of the topic.  You entirely omit the struggles of the custodial parent trying to collect maintenance granted but uncollected.  You entirely omit that women are non-custodial parents as well.  You entirely omit the effects a ham-fisted program have on blended families and the inequity of children covered by court agreements and those who are not.

If you can't understand, then Hell yes I hope you get educated quickly before you get thrown into this morass and need to claw your way through the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the system first hand.  We, the clients, are not being well served.  Custodial parents, Non-Custodial Parents, and especially the children you presume to champion.  

Mark Zaugg | Reply

8/12/2016 10:36:03 PM #

Hi There

      We are currently going through hell with MEP. We have proven that all these payments have been paid with bank statements, email from the ex saying she had received funds, receipts and pay stub from work, however they have still frozen the bank account. We have sent several complaints to the complaint line as well as letters to the MLA. We have even received an email from a MEP supervisor apologizing and saying that we are in fact right and recommending that the enforcements be lifted, that was more than a week ago. We have called and emailed several times this week about an update. Is there a Class action lawsuit in the works that we can join or are people considering going to the media in hopes that if enough of us ban together that a media outlet will pick up our story and investigate it. MEP is acting absolutely above the law and should not be allowed to continue with these methods. This is a life ruiner for sure and they should not have the right to wreck people's lives without consequences.
Anyways any advice would be appreciated. Does anyone know of a good human rights lawyer willing to take on MEP?

Shae | Reply

8/16/2016 11:20:35 AM #

I'm not sure I have a lot more advice beyond keep on it and stay dedicated until you get some action.

The sad truth is that after years of being ground down, most people are just grateful the fight is over.  Few have the resources or the desire to continue a costly legal battle and political battle that will need to change the mindset going back for years.

There are groups that try to do what they can.  I generally suggest www.ecmas.org for people around Edmonton and www.mesacanada.com for people in Calgary.  I am a member of MESA, they currently focus on facilitating supervised access to children, but they have a range of expertise.  There are a number of similar groups working on similar issues.  Not all organizations have the same focus or meet the same values, so do please look into who represents you best (and please, feel free to give feedback here to help others!)

Mark Zaugg | Reply

8/19/2016 5:30:28 PM #

Like many of us, me too have been through the ringer of MEP and their mistakes for years of me overpaying etc.
Reality is:
- divorce is a business, not much added value in general, but understand it is a bloody business, does not care about family, children etc.
- one has to pay according to the court order, follow that and keep at it.
- children as we all know are not served well through the system
- MEP is dysfunctional, has lots of anger from within, poorly trained employees, technical system issues, complete disconnect between lawyers, legal system, and MEP etc.

We can fight all of that, using the adversarial system. To date, that has not brought us much for various reasons. E.g. MLA's etc. do not want to burn their hands on this, people do not understand ( or do not want to understand) until they are "in the system". etc.

Reality is that section 5.1 ( the excuse for MEP not to be liable) will mature one day, just as the school issues with the native claims etc. So, yes that is a big tax payer liability.

For now, in my opinion, the only way to change the system ( lawyers, mep etc.) the best option is to stop feeding it ( so to starve, as they did in other countries, lawyers cut their rates up to 70%....) as reality is law is just an administrative task. Lawyers here are not trained to resolve issues, just to fight issues. I have played lawyer for myself, seen the inside of other lawyers and the way they work ( over charge, put gasoline on the fire etc.), it is a business....often no added value. I have to meet the first 'good" efficient "family" lawyer here in Canada ( and I have 20 plus year experience with lawyers in an international environment.....before I came here)

So how to stop feeding the system? to educate yourself, join groups like www.ecmas.org for people around Edmonton and www.mesacanada.com in Calgary. And not just attend when you are having problems, but go back on a regular basis, to share your knowledge, experience and vision.
Get rid of your anger, or make it manageable. We all have our moments, but one has to move on left or right. Anger is just feeding the system even more, understand that. Many "groups" feed anger, stay away from that as it is not a solution, it often destroys people.

We all have a story, and in my humble opinion our stories have similar red threads. Divorce is a bloody business for many, and should not be. Do not feed anger, lawyers etc. with nonsense stuff.

My five cents on divorce, learn, share knowledge, move on with your life as it is to short to fight a system which only changes when one stops feeding it. We can change the system, stay cool, educate yourself, share, get the help you need, stop feeding it, starve the system.

Rick | Reply

8/24/2016 6:43:18 PM #

Well I stand by my words, I will continue to be a pain in MEP's ass. I would get better results collecting myself than they ever will. Use the Justice Minister as your sounding board, believe me it works. As per the comments on Lawyers, they are useless and paid to keep things out of the courthouse. Who does it cost? Well You of course! I have never gotten anything but a bill from a family lawyer, I get better results myself in the courtroom. STOP USING LAWYERS! Do your own research and represent yourself. Take a "Mckenzie Friend" with you to take notes. The lawyers are part of the problem and the only thing we can put a stop to RIGHT NOW! Oh and have I said MEP can F@#K Off! Also "Belinda" can jump off a cliff into a vat of acid. She probably works for MEP and wants to protect her job...

Elad | Reply

1/12/2017 10:37:42 PM #

so funny reading all of these , everyone is in the same boat , how do they get away with it !! I have paid and never miss a payment and yet they garnished my wages of 40% gross per pay chq , because my x said the 3800 hundred I paid in 3 months was section 7 expenses witch I have not seen a recipte   or agreed to any of it, so now they tell me I owe 38 hun in child support in 3 months ,I printed off all my bank statements but mep said they can take the transfers because they don't except it unless its in chq or email direct , serious , now they have suspended my dv licence so how do I go to work 80 bucks a day in a cab ?  I make 36k a year go figure , then she also moved my children to bc , go figure and not have seen them for 8 months when I used to see them all the time ,hmmmm , got a lawyer with what little I have left , crazy how they take control and and yet say there here to help both parties !!

james | Reply

2/3/2017 9:22:56 PM #

M.e.p has been charging me for a job I lost in the separation battle between me and my ex over three years ago.

Thanks mep for charging me 890.00 a month or 40% for the three years.

I still haven't found a job, No employer will handle garnished wages.

Thanks to my beautiful wife for looking at my paper work and their Web page and fully understanding that they should have known.

I'm working on taking them to court for the recaalculations,

Thanks for noticing you forgot to recalculate my file years ago.....
32000.00 in debt.
You had a recaalculation program right???
Recalculate that.

Owen knuckle | Reply

3/7/2017 5:46:38 PM #

I am going through an insanely messy divorce, I caught my ex with my best friend left everything and moved into my trailer. I voluntarily paid 6200.00 tax free for the first 3.5 years and 8000.00 for the next year and all sports etc. while she worked part time (Francophone catholic school teacher who never applied for a full time job). The oil patch went bad as we all know and we cut our salaries. She did not like the new amount so she called MEP.

Well, they have froze everything took my license away. I am a businessman and I have been here for the kids faithfully. They are impossible to deal with and until I get the court order changed they said me and the kids (I get them 50% of the time)are in tough luck.

I was told unless I pay the 8k /month I cannot unfreeze my accounts and cannot have my license back.

I am appalled by this organization and its discrimination towards the man without any background or history.  I feel this is a violation of human rights and completely uncalled for.

I am not going to go quietly and I am going to fight for us! This is a reckless abuse of power by who? Are these common people? How do they get to be Judge, Jury and Executioner?

I have been in the system for two months and I feel sorry for all the people this complete embarrassment of a government run organization.  

Now society turns a blind eye to dead beat moms who take advantage of this, dead beat moms who choose to not contribute by working, dead beat moms who get a free pass through all this due to ridiculous old laws that cater to stay at home moms.

Mothers are not living in the 80's they are equals for the most part in jobs and contributions to society, so why do they always get to play the victim? still?

My two cents.

Kurt | Reply

5/4/2017 3:53:27 AM #

I keep getting punished and put to the bottom of the list because I ask why they hold support for days for no reason. I tried to reason with them that my bills and basic needs like housing is due on the first . They have had my money since the 27th every month but don't release until the 6th or later. In the mean time my services are cut off, I owe interest and deposits and get evicted causes a lot of stress for no reason but abuse of power.

Donna | Reply

5/6/2017 6:30:56 PM #

All I see is a bunch of excuses. I was a stay at home mom and I went to school ect for income. And a lot of these dad's on here complaining sound like every other deadbeat. First off a good stay at home mom is a 24 job tack on day care money for school lunches. Clothes and shoes for kids and literally every penny she makes goes to her kids. A stay at home mom devotes her life to her children and usually a judge will tell a woman with older kids to get a job. Why doesn't these sperm donars realize that you don't hurt the mom when you don't pay it's the kids that suffer. I have had to tell my kids they can't have stuff. Go on trips because every dollar I had went to bills food and clothes for them. I have had to get Christmas hampers even tho I worked. When you miss a payment and she is counting on it for a bill or food there is nothing worse then having to ask your parents for grocery money till payday because u paid rent and child care and didn't get the support that was supposed to cover the groceries. If you don't work call them my ex did he got it lowered. But why don't you work you don't have to worry about daycare or babysitters. What is holding you back? Are u too good to be a dishwasher so u would rather collect EI while your kids look at their mom like "why can't we do what other kids do.."
I waited 8 months before going to MEP and 6 years after break up I took him when I was financially unable to do it in my own. You can't tell your kids sorry. No food today cause your dad is unemployed. Get a job if you think they r too high don't just not pay them.. call MEP. Or better yet instead of giving nothing give what u can afford two Hundred dollars ect.. then tell MEP ur doing the best u can but if your too lazy to love ur kids like a real parent should meaning u make sure they are living good cuz daddy's got this then sign them over cause you don't care enough about their well being. Me? I would walk through fire for my kids. Give them my last breath. .the least a so called man can do is work. And yes times have changed where mom's can work but they didn't change enough where a guy should feel comfortable collecting EI like dome one on welfare. Bottom line is deadbeat mom's and dad's love themselves over their kids ...all u unemployed ppl complaining about MEP they need to be tougher and send them to jail. Too lazy to work too lazy to pick up a phone ...its sad..too much pride to make minimum wage but not enough pride to refuse government assistance. It's gross the way men are raised these days. I raise my step kid with a deadbeat mom and my two with a deadbeat dad. I wish for one second you thought of your kids first.  Excuses is mostly what I read. It's illegal for u to be fired because of garnished wages.plus it doesn't tell your employees if you requested it to be garnished or if it's enforced.. again too lazy to even read. If your embarrassed then pay it. You wouldn't have interest if u were on time. These are your kids what's more important.?? Work three jobs if it's for your kids unless evading helping them is your definition of good parenting in which case your no better then people who neglect to properly feed clothe and care for their kids. Sorry but not sorry had to be said they need harsher penalties for lazy parents. Three months and u get ur fed payments taken three months anywhere else u would lose whatever your paying for well behind on MEP u did lose something. The right to be called a parent !!congrats glorified baby sitter your appliances get cut off but who cares its just your kids right? That person you call down your nasty ex.. they got this. .  Selfish ppl is all I hear and read maybe I'm a rare breed but I would give my electricity if it ment my kids had it and my last meal if my kids needed it. But some ppl can't even downsize bills and help their kids nothing worse then when a kid grows up and sees for themself what was happening all along and realize for themself that they had a parent that didn't give care in the world only when it's convenient.  Just remember every penny ur ex has goes to your kids and real parents shouldn't be taken to court and forced to be responsible #mamarant

jamie | Reply

5/8/2017 9:24:43 PM #

No, you've entirely missed the point.  And your rant is just that - meandering and meaningless.

This is not about the amount of money that is or isn't paid. This isn't about how the money is spent. This is not about men vs. women. And this is definitely not the place where insults should be thrown about or parents be painted with mighty broad brush strokes.

This is first and foremost about a government run program that - at least in my opinion - does not serve the custodial or non-custodial parent very well. Collections can be harsh and unfair or unrealistic, and in the meanwhile payments can be meagre and slow to process.  The financial side of the court order is strictly enforced, the rest seems to be enforced depending upon how good of a lawyer you can afford.

A huge number of people have been hurt with the sudden economic downturn these past few years. Yes, we know it happens in Alberta.  People who thought they had secure, well paying jobs safe from the storm have been hit.  It happens.  When you're paying child support, the maelstrom is intensified by trying to learn the exact incantation you need to find relief.

The non-custodial parent should get sympathy and direction to get relief. The custodial parent should get warning and preparation to be able to plan ahead.  The aim should always be to get both parents back to the greatest productivity with as little pain as possible.

My reality was I was threatened and accused of ducking work even though I was trying my best to improve my income.  Custodial parents have told me they receive little to no warning of changes to their payments (granted, sometimes advance warning is simply not possible).

Telling either parent to work three jobs for their kids isn't necessarily good advice. It's a "Silver Platter Answer" that anyone can solve everything by working harder.  Sometimes you end up sleepless with no chance to dig yourself out of the hole.  That doesn't serve yourself or your children any better.  Econonic hardships don't just hurt the custodial parent and the children - they are devastating to both parents and the entire family.  We don't need an entire department (and an entire justice system) slapping penalties and legal fees along the way to make it even harder.

As for "real parents shouldn't be taken to court and forced to be responsible", well, the very best case scenario is if parents can be civil and respectful with each other and work it out amongst themselves.  That is not always possible and in some cases is flat out terrible idea. In fact, getting taken back to court is exactly the responsible thing to do!

That incantation from above is this:  When there is a change in circumstance, your first step should be contacting MEP to inform them and your second step should be to go back to court and update the court order.

There needs to be less ranting, less stereotyping, and a considerable greater amount of critical thought applied.

Mark Zaugg | Reply

8/24/2017 2:14:27 PM #

HI I have a question for anyone out there I am not good with social media. I had my licence taken away in 2001 and my wages garnished and just couldn't make it so as I am British I moved back to the UK. I got a letter from them but was not working so didn't do anything with it. Moved around a little and now just got another letter from them.
My question is can they seize my British bank account and other collection procedures in the UK. I have had my UK bank account since 2001 and never a problem.

Tony M | Reply

8/24/2017 2:22:24 PM #

I have a completely different perspective on MEP. I am a creditor whom is owed over $12,000. The amount payable each month was agreed to by myself as per the exes specific monthly payment request - I felt whatever he deems fair and reasonable is fair and reasonable. For years he does not pay, and when they take the process of restricting/suspending his licence (which takes 2 - 4 months and requires multiple letters from MEP and Alberta Transportation sent to him)he repeatedly calls - asks for a payment arrangement to have his licence reinstated. They always reinstate his licence, remove holds from banks and so forth. He never follows through and then I wait another 2-4 months minimal for the process to start again. My experience is they offer exceptional opportunity to make arrangements, reinstate licenses and void judgement against the debtor regardless of past history which shows repeatedly the pattern or game he plays to avoid paying and maintain his licence/bank accounts etc. At the end of the day, not paying hurts the kids. I could offer the kids a much better lifestyle if he paid even a portion. Instead he yells at me if I work 2 jobs to make up his half saying to me that I am not paying enough attention to the kids and if I work one job he complains I don't do enough extra curricular with them (which costs money to put them in dance, karate etc)Every time he gets another arrangement I find myself baffled that MEP continues to allow him this option as he employs this debtor right every 4-6 months in order to reinstate his licence and continually does not follow through and make so much as one payment. For all the debtors whom owe and honestly want and plan to pay - based on my ex track record - I do not see it as a difficult path as MEP is more than favorable to work with the debtor. This said, my ex is seemingly a highly skilled manipulator so perhaps he has found a way to bend MEP over which would prove difficult for honest debtors who truly want to pay? For creditors waiting for money - if your ex likes to play games and feels he does not have the obligation to pay, I sympathize as this only affects the child(s) quality of life. I will admit the redirect of gov't monies such as income tax is a welcome treat as every so often when someone does their taxes we get to order a pizza. I do believe their are good honest people hurt on both ends of the spectrum, however will say that despite all at least once every year or 2 kids and I will receive a deposit from redirected tax refund which is always spent on them and helps out. For this I am grateful of the MEP program

Michelle | Reply

11/20/2017 7:42:27 PM #

My husband is in the same boat!!

His ex uses MEP to punish him but won't even use the program properly. I will receive emails about chiropractor appointments that have occurred because she needs me to submit it to my husbands benefits and pay her back (this is after my benefits have already paid a portion) We have never missed a payment, there is no reason for us to use MEP (I can see why you would need it) I have also taken on the responsibility of my step daughters ortho costs putting the payment plan on my credit cards submitting the payments each month to our benefits to which she doesn't have to pay a dime.... which is not how you use to program. She should be paying for the costs up front, submitting it to MEP to which my husband would be billed and then we could submit it to our benefits after she paid her portion.

    Since we over paid her by 3500 we agreed that if she forgave the 2000 in arrears we would just call it a wash and move forward, because once again we should not be forced to use this program since we are decent good people who both work full time jobs and love our kids. After her lawyer submitted the new court order forgiving the arrears we receive a letter stating that we owe money and they have suspended his drivers license and is sending the ZERO balance (as this is what the balance is on his account on their website) to collections.... and when he called them he had to pay 135 in service fees to correct their mix up.

MEP is a horrible program which is run by computers not real people, they are a bully and are horrible at managing their files. Whenever we need to call because we received some letter threatening us their notes on the file are just a mess and it takes a good chunk of time to get each person caught up. Waste of time and they are just brutal.  

Lisa Frances | Reply

3/15/2018 6:23:32 PM #

good day parents

I would of like to start off this "rant" of the child maintenance enforcement program would justify it. But it just what really happens, here in the real world. The system itself is creating separation between fathers, mothers and children, I know to well the frustration as a "payor" the constant and endless encroachment on our human rights. I've been paying and contacting the enforcement program of any changes for the last 13 years, but just like you all "payors" the stress of licence suspensions, registries etc the list goes on. As of today I feel its pointless, to continue to live, as I never am able to see my children because of all the separation the government has created between me and my children. I do like to commend the lady "Jamie" on her opinion, its nice to know that there is "payee's" that do contribute in the growth of their children. the stats of what families is quite high in relation to job increases in the field of child welfare due to "payors" contribution, but more so in the debt spectrum, there are amounts out there of in the millions and hundreds of thousands. but in the last economic down fall thirty some years ago, there still aint no recovery, and rates just keep climbing and climbing, yeah we got a increase in minimum wage, but the increase in cost of living doubled. so I sit back and watch families fall apart just like the economy or market stats crashing, so when I have clients coming in for family repatriation and teaching healthy parenting skills, the majority of the time the stress and neglect in due to hardships from the government "FEES" and "LATE FEES" keep building, each parent falling and failing as the country falls and the government thrives. all families state their rotating between bills, and food, this is before they separate and become single parents hense " Payee" and Payor" now its just a single parent pulling and trying to make ends meet. so when fingers are to be point the blame should rest with the government and programs like the child maintenance
but I'll continue to pull for the sake of my children, I just want representation and justification to be treated with dignity and respect as a "payor" when I call in the Alberta Child Maintenance Enforcement Program, because if it weren't for the families they wouldn't have a job.  

leon | Reply

5/8/2018 12:47:02 AM #

My daughters dad hasn't paid me a cent in child support in 14 yrs unless MEP took it from him which since he's basically went underground wasn't very much. He owes over $40,000 and MEP can't do anything. I know that he had hidden money drives a BMW and got married which I thought he couldn't do with a federal license denial. He does this even see his kid or want to. And still refuses to pay I don't get how he an actual des beat dad can get away with these things when there are dad's/mom's out there that are actually trying to make payments and see their child(ren) and are being so screwed over I see no justice for anyone. Its ppl like my ex that ruin it for the parents that are trying

Tabatha von King | Reply

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