Federal Funding of Provincial and Territorial Child Support, Support Enforcement and Child Custody and Access Projects

QUEBEC

PAA 1: PROJECT COORDINATION

Federal-Provincial Planning (Enforcement)

Duration
1999-2001
Goal
To share relevant information concerning support enforcement with other jurisdictions and participate in federal-provincial planning.
Description
The Ministère du Revenu du Québec allocated federal resources to allow its representatives to participate in meetings of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force, directors of maintenance enforcement programs and other federal-provincial-territorial work groups and committees. The department also allocated resources to planning and managing projects receiving federal funding.

PAA 2: FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL-TERRITORIAL CONSULTATIONS IN FAMILY LAW

National Consultations on Custody, Access and Child Support

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To participate in federal-provincial-territorial consultations on custody, access and child support.
Description
Quebec undertook a series of focus groups involving separated and divorced parents, and another set for youth who were younger than 18 when their parents separated or divorced. Nonprofit organizations and other agencies involved in family justice matters then met June 8, 2001, for a conference in Quebec City.

PAA 3: FAMILY JUSTICE ENHANCEMENTS AND INNOVATIONS

Mediation Services

Duration
1997-2001
Goal
To provide pre-hearing mediation services.
Description
Under provincial legislation, parents who have no agreement or are seeking a judicial ruling are required, with some exceptions, to participate in an information session about mediation paid for by the government. Private practitioners or Child and Youth Protection Centre personnel deliver the mediation services. Following mediation, the mediator files a report with the family mediation service. Between September 1, 1997 and December 31, 2000, 146,885 people took advantage of one or more mediation services. Of this number 36,578 (25 percent) participated in an information session with the other parent, and 17,738 participated in a group information session. More than 17,000 people (12 percent) were exempt for "serious cause" and 75,192 (51 percent) attended voluntary or required mediation.

Guidelines Implementation: Enhancements and Training

Duration
1997-1998
Goal
To provide the administrative support, infrastructure improvements and training required to implement the child support guidelines.
Description
In anticipation of the coming into force of the Quebec model of child support guidelines, the province designed and produced forms, guides and related documents. It also acquired and installed new computer applications, provided training to court staff and mediators, and delivered legal aid services.

Administrative Enhancements

Duration
1999-2000
Goal
To provide the administrative support and technical infrastructure to implement the guidelines.
Description
The preparations for implementing the guidelines required a significant outlay of funds for computer and office equipment, mainly for the use of the Aliform-MJQ child support calculation software. In 1999-2000, the Quebec Department of Justice developed a database of all family-related cases involving the determination of child support and mediation.

PAA 5: SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES

Special Court Clerks

Duration
1997-2001
Goal
To ensure rapid processing of proposed child custody and support agreements filed with the court.
Description
Quebec's special court clerks (greffiers spéciaux) ensure rapid processing of proposed child custody and support agreements filed with the court. All proposed agreements are sent directly to the clerks and do not require a hearing. Clerks review proposed agreements that involve separation or divorce matters that must be submitted for judgment, including applications for granting a separation or nullifying a marriage or divorce. Following a review, a clerk takes one of three actions. First, he or she may ratify the agreement. When the clerk has concerns that, for example, the agreement is not safeguarding the children's best interests, he or she may ask for additional information from the parents or refer the application to the court.

Links to FOAEA

Duration
1997-1998 and 1999-2001
Goal
To implement links with the federal FOAEA system.
Description
The province implemented an interface with the federal office in 1997-1998, allowing for online applications for licence denials and suspensions in cases of default. In 1999-2001, the Ministère du Revenu du Québec renewed its security and encryption licences and increased the number of sites within the Maintenance Enforcement Program. It also made a number of modifications and refinements to the system in light of an evaluation of the project that was completed in 1999-2000.

Information System Improvements

Duration
1997-2001
Goal
To respond to the Ministère du Revenu du Québec's information needs at all levels, including for integrated reports and operational indicators, to reduce response time, to increase collection rates, and to promote more regular and stable payments.
Description
The Ministère du Revenu du Québec's projects have brought about infrastructure improvements that allow staff and managers to generate data from the computer system to produce ad hoc and standard reports.

Program Improvements

Duration
1998-2000
Goal
To respond to the Ministère du Revenu du Québec's information needs at all levels, including for integrated reports and operational indicators, to reduce response time, to increase collection rates, and to promote more regular and stable payments.
Description
In 1998-2000, the Ministère du Revenu du Québec hired 12 recent graduates, 8 specializing in family law and 4 in accounting, to do outreach work with its departmental workers and clients through face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and other means. The outreach activities were intended to provide information on the Maintenance Enforcement Program, address concerns and gather suggestions for program improvements. The department also hired 186 new staff in 1999-2000 to reduce delays in the issuing of support payments to a level acceptable to the creditors. At the same time, the department began a study that identified the current system's deficiencies, defined client needs, examined work processes, evaluated the current structure and system, suggested solutions and proposed models. The project had three phases: a work process study, a short-term action plan and an implementation plan. Finally, the department conducted a study on the implementation of the Act concerning the payment of child support in order to evaluate whether the program meets its original goals.

Accounting Standards

Duration
1997-1998
Goal
To ensure the Maintenance Enforcement Program's computer system meets accounting and audit standards.
Description
The work involved modifying the Program's financial system to ensure accurate reports and acceptable financial controls. The modifications were implemented in June 1998 and an evaluation assessed whether the project objectives had been met and identified deficiencies.

DPPPA Intranet

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To improve the delivery of work-related information to maintenance enforcement staff and management.
Description
The Direction de la perception des pensions alimentaires (DPPPA) continued to develop its Intranet, which it had begun the previous year. The Intranet offers DPPPA employees ready access to up-to-date user guides, procedures manuals, forms and the other material they require to perform their duties.

Increased Productivity

Duration
1997-2000
Goal
To control operational costs and minimize errors in calculating child support payments.
Description
The province's maintenance enforcement computer system was modified in 1997-1998 to provide for automatic calculation of support orders and variations and to provide staff with a consolidated report of relevant information from a number of data sources. The development work was completed in the fall of 1998 and an evaluation was done in 1999-2000.

Enhancements to the Maintenance Enforcement Computer System

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To improve the maintenance enforcement computer system.
Description
Enhancements to the system were put in place to respond to client needs and to improve information management. The enhancements will improve financial information in particular, officers' productivity and the quality of client service.

National Data Requirements

Duration
1999-2001
Goal
To develop an interface between Quebec's maintenance enforcement system and the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics's National Maintenance Enforcement Survey.
Description
Quebec allocated a portion of federal resources to modify its automated information management system to generate the data tables required for the national survey. The work program for this project called for development, testing and implementation of system improvements in stages over two fiscal years.

Pre-authorized Payments

Duration
1999-2000
Goal
To assess the feasibility of using pre-authorized payment for support collection.
Description
Given that pre-authorized payment arrangements could reduce collection costs and delays in payments to creditors, Quebec planned to conduct a study of the requirements for and costs of implementing such an approach.

International Monitoring

Duration
1999-2000
Goal
To learn from the experience of enforcement programs in other jurisdictions.
Description
Using the Internet, the Ministère du Revenu du Québec has been monitoring child support guidelines internationally. The department seeks to improve its Maintenance Enforcement Program through awareness of the latest developments in the field and the workings of a maintenance enforcement program worldwide.

PAA 6: RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES

Reciprocal Enforcement Improvement Planning Project

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To reduce delays in the handling of reciprocal enforcement files.
Description
Quebec's Maintenance Enforcement Program reviewed reciprocal enforcement files and procedures to identify problems, optimal work processes and system development requirements. This effort was intended to produce short- and long-term improvement plans.

PAA 7: POLICY, RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

Research and Evaluation

Duration
1998-2001
Goal
To monitor the implementation and operation of child support guidelines and enforcement enhancements.
Description
In 1998-1999, Quebec's Minister of Justice announced the creation of committees to evaluate the family mediation program and the province's model for determining child support. The committees were to assess whether the province's legislative objectives had been met, as well as evaluate implementation of the guidelines and related services. In 1998-2000, the province allocated federal resources for research officers to provide technical support, develop and administer data collection tools and prepare reports. The report of a follow-up committee and a second report outlining the steps to implement mediation were presented to the Minister of Justice in March 2000 and June 2001, respectively. The reports are available at http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca.

PAA 8: PUBLIC AWARENESS AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Child Support Implementation Communications

Duration
1997-2001
Goal
To provide the public and separated or divorcing parents with information about the child support guidelines.
Description
In 1997-1998, the Quebec's Department of Justice worked with the Ministère du Revenu du Québec to send brochures to 185,000 payors or receivers of child support and to place brochures in family mediation offices. Radio public service announcements were made on mediation processes and services. Information about the guidelines (e.g. regulations, forms and tables) is available at all court sites, regional offices of the Ministère du Revenu du Québec and Communications Québec, and on the Justice Québec Internet site. Throughout 1998-2001, the province continued to distribute information on child support and related programs.

Awareness Campaign (Enforcement)

Duration
2000-2001
Goal
To improve understanding of maintenance enforcement among family justice professionals, organizations concerned with family law and the public.
Description
The communications and education campaign of the Ministère du Revenu du Québec used presentations at workshops, conferences and similar events to deliver information to lawyers, members of the judiciary, notaries, mediators, counsellors, community organizations and the public. In the course of the campaign, staff prepared inventories of concerned professional and community organizations in each judicial region of the province.

Communication Plan (Enforcement)

Duration
1999-2001
Goal
To better inform clients, reduce workload and process files more quickly.
Description
The Ministère du Revenu du Québec produced and disseminated information to its clients on the objectives and content of the provincial support enforcement legislation and related measures. Communication plans aim to educate the public about the Maintenance Enforcement Program, focussing on parental responsibility for child support. Activities include the promotion of support enforcement services offered by the Ministère du Revenu du Québec, as well as the development of information tools for staff.

For more information about Quebec's services and programs, contact:

Maître Pierre Tanguay
Coordonnateur des matières familiales
Direction générale des services de Justice
Ministère de la Justice du Québec
Gouvernement du Québec
1200, route de l'Église, 7e étage
Sainte-Foy (Québec) G1V 4M1
Telephone: (418) 644-7706

Madame Lise Bernier
Directrice principale par intérim
Direction principale de la perception des pensions alimentaires
Ministère du Revenu du Québec
3800, rue de Marly Secteur 1-1-3
Sainte-Foy (Québec) G1X 4A5
Telephone: (418) 652-5225

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