Department of Justice consultation on proposed changes to the Maintenance Enforcement Act

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As part of a larger effort to improve Nova Scotia’s ability to collect and pay court-ordered family support payments, the Department of Justice has reviewed the Maintenance Enforcement Act.  The Department of Justice is considering a number of changes to the Act and is seeking your input on three of those changes:

  • Using the Internet to ask for the public’s help in locating missing payors who have persistently failed to pay support
  • Recognizing electronic communication (for example, email) as a legitimate way to serve notice
  • Holding money seized from a payor for future payments after outstanding arrears are paid if the payor persistently fails to make payments and is unwilling to work with the program

The Department of Justice is conducting a public and stakeholder consultation on these proposed legislative changes in April and May 2016. As part of that consultation, meetings with the family law bar will be held.  

The department has also prepared a discussion paper for your consideration. This document outlines the proposed legislative amendments. Questions are provided throughout the paper to assist you in providing your responses. The discussion paper is available on the Justice website.

We are requesting your feedback on the proposals by May 31, 2016.  The department will use the feedback received to further assess the proposals and improve the legislation.

The province promised to amend the Maintenance Enforcement Act in response to a 2015 review of the Maintenance Enforcement Program. The review made 27 recommendations to improve the program.  For more information about the other legislative changes the department is considering and the work now underway to improve the program, please visit

In closing, we sincerely thank you for your anticipated review of the attached discussion paper. We hope you will take the time to share your thoughts with us by attending one of the consultation meetings and completing the questions in the discussion paper.