PEI: Revoking driver’s licences proves effective for deadbeat parents

revoke-licence The province of P.E.I. has been getting serious about taking away the driver’s licences of parents who won’t pay child support, and finding it a good way to get the money flowing.
Suspending a driver’s licence is a last resort, after other enforcement methods such as garnisheeing wages, EI benefits, income tax refunds and GST cheques have failed.

“There is a group that they may be earning their money under the table, so to speak, and we’ve got no way of tapping into garnishment of any kind so it’s just a last resort effort,” Debbie Conway, director of maintenance enforcement, said Friday.

The driver’s licence option was little used before 2006, but Conway said her staff has since found even threatening to take away a licence can be very effective.

“A person needs their licence to get back and forth to work,” she said.
“If they can’t work, they can’t have an income. If they don’t earn an income they can’t pay their support. So who benefits from that? The children benefit.”

In the last three years her staff sent out 68 warning letters: either come in to talk about a repayment plan or say goodbye to your licence. The 27 who ignored the warning had their licences suspended. Of those, 14 quickly decided to pay up and their licences were re-instated. Conway said the numbers show most deadbeat parents would rather pay to support their kids than get out their walking shoes.