Vol. 145, No. 25 — December 7, 2011
SOR/2011-267 November 17, 2011
Guidelines Amending the Federal Child Support Guidelines
P.C. 2011-1321 November 17, 2011
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, pursuant to section 26.1 (see footnote a) of the Divorce Act (see footnote b), hereby establishes the annexed Guidelines Amending the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
GUIDELINES AMENDING THE FEDERAL CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
1. Note 3 of Schedule I to the Federal Child Support Guidelines (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:
3. Income is set out in the tables in increments of $1,000. Monthly amounts are determined by adding the applicable basic amount and the amount calculated by multiplying the applicable percentage by the portion of the income that exceeds the lower amount within that range of income.
Province: British Columbia
Number of children: 2
Annual income of support payer: $33,760
Basic amount: $510
Lower amount of the income range: $33,000
The amount of monthly child support is calculated as follows:
$510 + [1.48% × ($33,760 - $33,000)]
$510 + [1.48/100 × $760]
$510 + [0.0148 × $760]
$510 + $11.25 = $521.25
2. The federal child support tables of Schedule I to the Guidelines are replaced by the federal child support tables set out in the schedule to these Guidelines.
COMING INTO FORCE
3. These Guidelines come into force on December 31, 2011.
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REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Guidelines.)
Issue and objectives
These Guidelines amend the Federal Child Support Guidelines (Federal Guidelines) that came into force on May 1, 1997, pursuant to section 26.1 of the DivorceAct. The Federal Guidelines consist of a set of rules and tables used by the courts to determine child support. The Federal Child Support Tables (Federal Tables) were last updated on May 1, 2006, based on 2004 tax rules. An update of those Federal Tables is required to maintain their current value while upholding the fairness, consistency and predictability of the Federal Guidelines.
The updated Federal Tables were generated using the same child support formula as the one that was used for previous versions of the Federal Tables (1997 and 2006). The amendments are the result of the application of more recent tax rules and do not constitute new policy.
The amendments accomplish a number of goals that include
- — maintaining the fairness of the child support amounts by reflecting more recent tax rules;
- — upholding the fairness, consistency and predictability of the Federal Guidelines by ensuring that child support amounts are based on parents’ current ability to pay; and
- — establishing a fair standard of support for children while ensuring that they continue to benefit from the financial means of both their parents after separation.
In addition, the update gives effect to the recommendation contained in the report entitled Children Come First: a Report to Parliament Reviewing the Provisions and Operation of the Federal Child Support Guidelines tabled in 2002 and in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Family Law Committee Report, Putting Children First, released in 2002. Both reports recommended that, with the agreement of the provinces and territories, the Federal Tables be updated every five years or more frequently if there are changes to federal, provincial or territorial taxes that would have a major impact on the table amounts. FPT governments monitor and discuss the Federal Tables on an annual basis and they all recognized the need to update the Federal Tables in 2011 in accordance with this recommendation.
The Federal Guidelines are a recognized and well-established access to justice tool. Updating the Federal Tables supports the implementation of the Supporting Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce Initiative (SFI), a five-year family law initiative that began in 2009. The SFI has been created to help reduce the emotional and financial stress on families when parents separate or divorce and to ensure that Canadian families continue to be well served. One key objective of the SFI is to facilitate access to justice for families going through separation or divorce.
Description and rationale
1. Schedule I — Federal Child Support Tables — Note 3
Note 3 to Schedule I explains how to determine the child support amount for a given income and jurisdiction, using the Federal Tables. The Federal Tables set out the child support amount based on income in increments of $1,000. The note provides an example of how to calculate the precise child support amount when the applicable income amount falls between two $1,000 income intervals. The amendments revise the amounts given in the example to reflect the updates to the Federal Tables.
2. Schedule I — Federal Child Support Tables
Schedule I of the Federal Guidelines contains the Federal Tables. There is a separate table for each province and territory to reflect their different tax rules. The Federal Tables set out the amount of monthly child support payments based on the paying parent’s income, the number of children for whom support is sought and the paying parent’s province or territory of residence.
The amendments replace the current Federal Tables with updated tables based on more recent tax rules (2010).
The Federal Tables are based on a mathematical formula that takes into account parents’ incomes as well as FPT tax rules to produce child support amounts reflecting parents’ ability to pay. A software program that uses this formula generates child support amounts for families of one to six or more children, for income levels in $1,000 increments (up to $150,000) for each province and territory. Because of differences in provincial and territorial tax rules, each province and territory has a separate set of tables. When changes to tax rules affect parents’ disposable incomes, it may increase or decrease the amount of child support that parents are able to pay. Accordingly, due to various changes to tax rules in most jurisdictions since the Federal Tables were last updated in 2006, child support amounts in the updated version of the tables may have either increased or decreased from those set out in the previous Federal Tables. Overall, for all jurisdictions, at all incomes and for any number of children, compared to the 2006 Federal Tables, the updated amounts, on average, do not increase by more than 3% or decrease by more than 4%. The changes in the child support amounts can be attributed to increases in the federal basic personal amount and amount for an eligible dependant; the introduction of the amount for children born in 1993 or later; the introduction of the working income tax benefit; and provincial changes in tax rules (provincial tax rate, credit, etc.).
Each province and territory has reviewed the table for its jurisdiction and supports the amendments. All Federal Tables are amended simultaneously to maintain fairness and uniformity across the country and to reduce any confusion that may arise as to which tables apply.
3. Coming into force
The amendments will come into force on December 31, 2011. Until that date, the 2006 version of the Federal Tables continues to apply. Courts and parents, however, may want to consider that the Federal Tables will change on December 31, 2011. If applicable, orders or agreements obtained between the date of this registration and the coming into force of the amendments could include a provision outlining what child support amount should be paid as of December 31, 2011.
Where the amount of child support includes a determination made in accordance with the applicable Federal Tables, the coming into force of the updated Federal Tables constitutes grounds for variation, by the courts, in respect of a child support order where application of the updated Federal Tables results in a different child support amount.
Consultation and collaboration took place between federal, provincial and territorial governments in developing the updated Federal Tables. All provinces and territories closely reviewed their respective updated tables and consulted with their finance departments, when appropriate.
All provinces and territories have incorporated the Federal Tables by reference into their respective provincial child support laws, except for Quebec (which adopted different guidelines and tables to determine child support) and Ontario (which reproduced the Federal Tables in their provincial child support guidelines as opposed to incorporating them by reference). This means that in most jurisdictions, the provincial or territorial child support tables will be automatically updated when the updated tables come into force in the Federal Guidelines.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
These amendments are meant to assist parents and the courts in complying with the objectives of the Federal Guidelines.
Work will be ongoing with the provinces and territories to ensure that family justice services, such as provincial recalculation services and maintenance enforcement programs, are properly advised of the updated Federal Tables in order to best adapt to them. In addition, various access to justice tools, including communication products, public legal education and information material, will be updated as needed.
Family, Children and Youth Section
Department of Justice
S.C. 1997, c. 1, s. 11
R.S., c. 3 (2nd Supp.)