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What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support in Canada?

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In Canada, every parent is liable for taking care of their child until they turn 18 by law. And failure to pay this child support on the due date without any valid cause can land you in troubles that you can only wonder about.

It thus ultimately brings us to the question, “What happens if you don’t pay child support in Canada?”

Well, several things can happen depending on your province’s laws if you stop paying without any legitimate reasons. A court might tell you to pay a fine and cover all the expenses related to enforcing the support order or agreement in writing. In serious cases, the court could even decide that you have to go to jail if you don’t pay the support.

Want to know in detail? Keep reading with patience to get all the answers.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support in Canada?

This is the most frequently asked and popular question among those who have just undergone the divorce process. In the beginning, not paying child support is not a good choice. It is, without a doubt, a felony under Canadian law. In some instances, if you fail to pay child support, you may face jail time for this offense.

Every year, about 1 million divorces occur in Canada alone. And the majority of them are parents. As a result, child support becomes a big concern following the divorce. Canadian law is very strict regarding child support. And doing this kind of activity without any valid reasons is enough to land you in prison. That’s why it is more than necessary to pay your child support regularly and on time.

However, if, for any pertaining reasons, you cannot pay them on time, then you must inform the court about your condition. And if needed, get legal help from the experts.

Don’t have any knowledge about what happens if you don’t pay child support in Canada?

Let’s dig into the details:

Salary Garnishment

Garnishing the wages is one of the most common penalties that one gets for not paying child support on time in Canada. Such as, for any reason, you failed to pay the child support and didn’t even tell the valid reasons for not paying it. So, the authority will take the necessary action against it.

As a result, upon missing the dates, you will automatically find the court contacting your workplace to deduct some amounts from your salary.

After then, the deducted amount will be transferred to the custodial parent’s accounts. They can also collect interest based on your past-due amounts. So, if the court wants to do this, they will reserve all the right to cut money from your paycheck if you don’t pay the child support on time.

License Suspension

Nearly in every state of Canada, suspension of the license is a common thing that occurs if you don’t pay the child support on time. It can be the suspension of anything from your driving license to any other professional license.

Every area has its native agencies that handle all the child support cases. They also provide regular reports to the motor vehicles division regarding the on-time payments for any delay; nothing gets missed in their reports. It makes sure whether they are paying the child support on time or not.

Now the question may arise when a report is sent against my name? Well, it happens in the case of two scenarios:

  • You missed three or more payments
  • You are behind by $3,000 or more

So, if any of the two things happen without valid grounds, then the authority reserves the right to suspend your license.

Seizing bank accounts or properties

This happens when the wage garnishment cannot cover the amount you owe. As a result, to cover the due, the court starts seizing the bank accounts or other essential belongings to balance the amount.

It can be anything ranging from your stocks, savings, house, vehicle, motorbike, or any other properties that you own. In the event of failure to pay child support without any valid grounds, the court will reserve all the power to seize your properties or bank accounts.


It is not widely practiced in all areas of Canada. However, in some areas, based on their rules and regulations, the court can charge you little to a ransom amount of fines for not paying your child support payments. Before appearing in court calculate the amount of child support.

Besides, the court can also charge you with additional fines if you don’t pay the child support within the due date without any valid reasons. The amount tends to vary from state to state, depending on their laws.

Reporting lack of payments to credit agencies

Whenever you miss your deadline of paying the child support and don’t even notify the authorities about the reasons, then automatically, a report will be sent to the credit agencies about it.

This single thing is enough to tarnish your credit rating, which will directly affect your credit or loans. It will either be declined or delayed.

Passport delay

According to Canadian law, not paying child support without valid reasons is considered a criminal offense. So, if you are not paying them in time while, in the meantime, you have applied for a passport, then the chances are high that it will be disqualified or delayed.

The same goes for passport renewal. The jurisdiction will prevent your one from renewing if there is any evidence that shows you are not paying the child support regularly.


Well, sending one behind bars is the last thing the court resorts to. This kind of situation also happens rarely, depending on the severity of the condition.

The prison time differs from case to case depending on that province’s rules and regulations. However, the good news is you will get your bail whenever you are eligible for clearing all the previous dues of your child support payments.

The Bottom Line

Canadian laws are extremely stern regarding child support. And any kind of irregularity in paying this child support is considered a criminal offense.

Hence, try your level best to pay them on time. Instead of thinking of it as a burden, think of it as your duty. Otherwise, be ready to encounter the above penalties.

Hopefully, all your queries regarding “What happens if you don’t pay child support in Canada?” are cleared now. However, if you are still having any doubts lingering in your mind, then feel free to seek help from an experienced lawyer as they can guide you properly in the right direction with their expertise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you go to jail in Canada for not paying child support?

If this occurs, you might face a fine of up to $5,000 or a prison sentence of up to six months, or both. The Department of Justice Canada cannot lift a suspension of a federal license or passport unless it receives a request for lifting the suspension from the Maintenance Enforcement Program.

How can I get out of paying child support in Canada?

The only legal means to terminate child support payments is by an agreement between both parents or through a court order. Both the mother and father of the kid might mutually agree to discontinue support payments after the child can support himself or herself or has completed their schooling.

Is child support mandatory in Canada?

Regardless of the outcome of their divorce, both parents are legally expected to financially support their children. The primary tenet of Canada's child support legislation is that all children should continue to benefit from both parents' financial resources as if they were still married.

Can you avoid child support?

The Child Maintenance Service system is burdening many parents who are responsible for children. Parents who do not willing to contribute reasonably to their child's support may do so lawfully under present standards.

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