Maintenance Enforcement Program temporarily suspends in-person client services
Mar 18, 2020
The Manitoba Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) has temporarily suspended in-person (face-to-face) client services to may limit the exposure and spread of COVID-19. There may be some delays with services and response times and we appreciate your patience.
The Brandon MEP office is entirely closed to the public. The Winnipeg Office is able to accept in person debit or cash payments. To minimize risk to clients and staff, we encourage clients to make electronic payments through their financial institution or by submitting the Pre-Authorized Debit (form).
The MEP is experiencing higher than usual telephone call volumes at this time. To help us efficiently managing your inquiries, please contact us and submit documents by email at ManitobaMEPInquiries@gov.mb.ca.
PAYMENTS TO CREDITORS
The MEP has committed resources to maintaining the timely delivery of support payments to creditors and to reduce any disruptions that may affect the delivery of support payments.
Payments may be interrupted if the debtor has been affected by COVID-19 related issues, such as being laid off or being unable to work. The MEP will make efforts to work with debtors to maintain payments or to resume payments as soon as possible.
If you are a debtor and financially affected by circumstances related to COVID–19, the MEP cannot change your support payments or Court order. We may be able to suspend or partially suspend enforcement if suitable information is provided. For more information, please see Administrative Suspension of Enforcement webpage.
Please note that assessment of enforcement and Administrative Suspensions of enforcement will be determined with the intent of meeting both the needs of those required to make support payments, and the needs of support recipients and families that may also be facing financial difficulties.
In Manitoba, support payments in court orders (including recalculated child support orders), family arbitration awards, and some written agreements, can be enforced through the Maintenance Enforcement Program. The Program receives and monitors payments, and takes steps to enforce missing payments (arrears). The Program with the assistance of Family Law Services lawyers can take maintenance enforcement action in enforcement court at no cost to the person owed support.
Recent changes to The Family Maintenance Act, Part VI, have improved the Maintenance Enforcement Program’s administrative options for ensuring that support is enforced in a fair and reasonable fashion. Among the new powers allocated to the Program are changes which:
- allow the Program to conduct child status reviews to determine whether support for adult children should continue to be enforced
- permit the parties to a court order to agree to change the amount of support being enforced without obtaining a further court order
- permit the Program to review a paying person’s circumstances and to suspend enforcement for a period of time
Fillable forms and further information about these changes can be found on the Family Maintenance Act Amendments webpage.
No one is required to have their support payments enforced through the Maintenance Enforcement Program (unless they are receiving social assistance and assigned their payments to social assistance). If a creditor does not want to be enrolled in MEP, they should consult a lawyer to see what steps to take to enforce the order if payments are not made as required. While there are many enforcement options available to private individuals, they are more limited than those available through the Maintenance Enforcement Program.