Can a child support recipient sue FRO? Recent case law

The answer to this question, as determined in the case of Ashak v Ontario (Director, Family Responsibility Office) 2012 CarswellOnt 11102, seems to be “maybe.”

In this instance, Ms Ashak sued FRO, alleging that its negligence allowed her husband, who was in default on his child support payments, to have his passport suspension removed, at which point he left Canada forever. FRO brought a motion to have her case dismissed, which failed, and the case proceeded to trial.

While we do not know the outcome of the case at trial, we at least know that FRO was not able to stop the case from going to trial, which is an important first step in ensuring some measure of accountability for the body that has the enormous responsibility of collecting and dispensing child support in Ontario. According to a recent CBC investigation, “Nearly two-thirds of all support orders in Canada are in arrears. In Ontario, that number jumps to 80 per cent….”

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