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e-2664 (Justice)

Initiated by Robert Armstrong from St. Albert, Alberta

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The Federal Child Support Guidelines have not been significantly modified since their adoption in 1997;
  • The guidelines do not reflect the necessary and true costs of raising a child using data from Canadian families and instead use an arbitrary formula and ratio;
  • The guidelines do not consider the child rearing costs for both parents when one parent has less access;
  • The guidelines do not consider the many government programs and benefits in the development of the tables;
  • The guidelines do not consider parents with children from two or more divorces; and
  • The guidelines include costs such as daycare and extra curricular activities even though these costs are doubly accounted for as Section 7 expenses.
We, the undersigned, Canadian parents, call upon the Government of Canada to form a committee to update the Federal Child Support Guidelines based on the true costs of raising children in Canada.
The committee must examine data from Canadian families, engage economists to interpret the data, and make recommendations to update the Federal Child Support Guidelines accordingly.

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable David Lametti

Child support is the right of the child. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that children and families get the support they are entitled to receive by law.

The guiding principle of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (Federal Guidelines), which are a set of rules and tables used as a basis to determine child support amounts in divorce cases, is that both parents share the responsibility to support their children financially based on their ability to do so. This responsibility continues even if parents remarry or have another relationship. Children should continue to benefit from both parents’ financial means after separation or divorce, just as they would if the family were still together.

The child support amounts included in the Federal Child Support Tables (Federal Tables) under the Federal Guidelines are based on a federal child support formula that takes into account income as well as federal/provincial/territorial tax rules to produce child support amounts that reflect parents’ capacity to pay as opposed to the cost associated with raising a child. This is because in intact families, spending on children is directly related to family income, that is, the means of both parents. Spending on children is not fixed; it changes as the income of either parent changes. Benefits and credits related to children are generally not included in the calculation of the Federal tables, as they may vary depending on each family’s specific circumstances. These amounts are deemed to be government’s contribution to children.

The Federal Guidelines provide that an amount for special or extraordinary expenses may be added to the amount set out under the applicable Federal Tables to form the final child support amount. These expenses could be added if they are found to be necessary because they are in the child's best interests, and reasonable given the means of the parents and the child and in light of the family's spending patterns before the separation.

The Federal Guidelines recognize that in some cases, an amount of child support, combined with other circumstances, could create undue hardship for a parent. When there are significant access costs or the obligation to support children from another relationship, there might be undue hardship for a parent. If a claim for undue hardship is successful, a court may order a different child support amount.

The Federal Tables are monitored on an ongoing basis and updated approximately every five years to take into account more recent tax rules and to ensure that they reflect parents’ capacity to pay. The Government of Canada works closely with provincial and territorial governments on an ongoing basis to monitor the application of the Federal Guidelines.     

Open for signature
June 18, 2020, at 4:28 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
October 16, 2020, at 4:28 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Michael Cooper (St. Albert—Edmonton)
November 18, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00240)
Government response tabled
January 25, 2021
Photo - Michael Cooper
St. Albert—Edmonton
Conservative Caucus