Holiday season closure

MEP is closed December 24, 2019 to January 1, 2020 and opens January 2, 2020.

Limited services are available December 30 and 31, 2019.

Learn about holiday season payment deadlines and emergency situations.

The Edmonton reception area for the Maintenance Enforcement Program will close permanently on December 13, 2019.

Learn how to make your payments in person or have your documents commissioned.

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Receiving payments

A recipient of MEP (creditor) should not accept support payments directly from the payor (debtor). MEP will deposit payments directly into the creditor's bank account:

  • after we receive a payment from the debtor or from another source (eg, payroll deduction), and
  • after the payment clears through the MEP trust account

If a creditor remarries, the debtor’s obligation to make payments doesn’t change or end, unless the court order for support indicates this.

Making payments, changes and penalties

  • Making payments

    Payment date

    The effective date of your support payment is the date it's received by MEP and NOT the date you send it to MEP. This applies to any payment method you use.

    Late-payment consequences

    Ensure that your MEP payments are received by the court-ordered due date to avoid:

    • collection actions
    • penalty fees (eg, $40 for a late payment)
    • interest charges on the principal balance of overdue support

    If you feel your payment won’t reach MEP by the court-ordered due date, contact this service to make arrangements.

    How to pay

    1. Pre-authorized bank withdrawals

    The best way to ensure your payments are received on time is with pre-authorized withdrawals from your bank account. You must advise MEP of any changes to your banking information.

    To set up withdrawals, fill out this form and mail or fax it to MEP:

    Authorized Bank Withdrawal form (PDF, 200 KB)

    2. Phone or Internet banking

    To make payments through your bank’s phone system or website:

    1. Log into your bank's telephone or online banking system.
    2. Have your 7-digit MEP file number ready.
    3. When prompted, select ‘Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program’ from the list of bill payees.

    It takes banks more time to send payments to MEP around statutory holidays. If you want to make a payment close to a holiday, send it 3 to 4 days earlier.

    3. Voluntary pay deductions

    Payments can be automatically deducted from your pay cheques through a Support Deduction Notice (SDN).

    To set up voluntary pay deductions, fill out this form and mail or fax it to MEP:

    Debtor Voluntary Pay Deduction form (PDF, 115 KB)

    If you don’t receive a regular wage or salary (eg, commission or contract work) or you work outside Alberta, confirm with your employer that the SDN will be honoured.

    Advise MEP in writing of any changes to your employment situation.

    The Maintenance Enforcement Act prohibits an employer from dismissing, suspending, laying off or discriminating against an employee because of a SDN.

    4. Payments by mail

    Send certified cheques or money orders to:

    Maintenance Enforcement Program
    7th Floor John E. Brownlee Building
    10365 - 97 Street
    Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7

    For your payment to be recorded on the correct file, please write your name and 7-digit MEP file number on your payment transactions.

    It takes more time for MEP to receive payments around statutory holidays. If you want to make a payment close to a holiday, mail it in 3 to 4 days earlier.

    5. In person – MEP office

    Make a payment at the MEP office in Edmonton. You can use cash, debit, cheque or money order.

    For your payment to be recorded on the correct file, your name and 7-digit MEP file number must be printed on your payment transactions.

    6. In person – your bank

    Make a payment at your bank. To do this:

    1. Have your 7-digit MEP file number ready.
    2. Tell the bank teller that MEP is registered as the ‘Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program’.
    3. Use cash, debit, cheque or money order.

    For your payment to be recorded on the correct file, your name and 7-digit MEP file number must be printed on your payment transactions.

    It takes banks more time to send payments to MEP around statutory holidays. If you want to make a payment close to a holiday, send it 3 to 4 days earlier.

  • Support deduction notices

    Determining deduction amounts

    Employers may be asked to make payroll deductions for an employee who's a registered payor of support (debtor). These deductions are made off an employee’s gross wage.

    The ‘gross wage’ is all wages before mandatory or voluntary deductions, including:

    • holiday pay
    • bonuses
    • incentive-based pay
    • overtime

    Depending on when an employer pays an employee, it may take several weeks for a support payment to reach MEP.

    MEP will send the employer instructions for payments that are either:

    Exact amounts

    The employer receives a Support Deduction Notice (SDN) that provides the exact amount to send MEP each month or payroll cycle. Unless the debtor agrees to pay a higher amount through a SDN, the maximum amount that MEP can garnish is 40% of their gross wage.

    To determine the exact amount to deduct, MEP will ask the employer to fill out a Calculation of Payment Worksheet form. The employer must only complete the worksheet once, and return it to MEP with the first payment.

    If a debtor has no earnings in a payroll cycle, the employer must let MEP know this by filling out a Calculation of Payment Worksheet form or by notifying MEP in writing (email, fax, mail).

    If a debtor earns a very low gross annual salary (eg, $15,000), a 40% deduction from their gross wage may be too high. In this situation, the employer’s payroll office should call MEP and ask if the debtor’s deduction may be lowered to less than 40% of their gross wage.

    Calculation of Payment Worksheet form (PDF, 55 KB)

    Percentages

    The employer receives a SDN that requests a percentage of the debtor’s gross wage.

    To help the employer determine deductions from payroll based on a percentage, MEP will ask them to fill out a Calculation of Payment Worksheet form. This worksheet must be completed and returned to MEP with each payment.

    Every SDN is in effect for 12 years.

    Calculation of Payment Worksheet form (PDF, 55 KB)

    Employee protection

    The Maintenance Enforcement Act prohibits an employer from dismissing, suspending, laying off or discriminating against an employee because of a SDN.

    Time to respond

    After receiving a SDN, the employer has 15 days to send any funds to MEP and confirm how and when it pays employees. If the employer doesn’t respond to a SDN, they may become legally responsible for the debtor’s entire overdue support.

    An SDN remains in effect for 12 years from the issue date.

    Severance and termination

    Employers must send MEP 40% of the debtor's severance or termination package, unless MEP sends the employer an updated SDN that asks for 100% of the severance or termination package.

    The employer must notify MEP in writing (email, fax, mail) when a debtor leaves the company, within 15 days of the debtor leaving.

    The employer must also keep the debtor’s SDN on file, as it remains in effect for 12 years from the issue date. If the debtor returns to the company within the 12-year period, the employer must still send the debtor’s deductions for support to MEP, unless MEP advises the employer to terminate the debtor’s SDN.

    Sending payments to MEP

    Employers should send payments to MEP following the employee’s normal payroll cycle.

    Payments can be sent by:

    1. Telephone or Internet banking

    If required, an employer can contact their bank to discuss setting up telephone or Internet banking options. If employers already pay their bills through telephone or Internet banking, they can send money to MEP by following these steps:

    1. Log into your bank’s telephone or online banking system.
    2. Use the bill payment option and select 'Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program,’  ‘Alberta MEP’ or similar as the bill payee.
    3. Enter the employee’s 7-digit MEP file number (when asked for a payee account, customer or billing number).
    4. Enter the amount of money to be sent to MEP.

    2. Direct deposit or electronic funds transfer

    Using banking or accounting software, employers can deposit money directly into the MEP trust account. After an employer makes a direct deposit, they must email or fax the following information to MEP:

    • employee name
    • 7-digit MEP file number
    • amount of money deposited

    Send the email or fax to the attention of: ‘Revenue Supervisor, Revenue Unit, MEP, Edmonton, AB’
    Email: just.meprevenue@gov.ab.ca
    Fax: 780-401-7570

    3. Electronic data interchange

    Employers can send deposit and remittance details to MEP through the standard Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) 820 format. EDI software or an equivalent in-house IT system is required to use this payment method.

    To set up EDI, please use this MEP bank information:

    • Bank: Royal Bank of Canada
    • Address: 10107 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5J 1W9
    • Bank number: 003
    • Transit number: 03749
    • Account number: 000-028-1

    Note: If you're sending money on behalf of more than one employee, you'll need to enter more than one payee on the online form.

    4. Mail or courier

    Support Deduction Notice (SDN) payments can be couriered or mailed to MEP, although this is slower and can cause delays. Payments MUST identify the debtor’s name and 7-digit MEP file number.

    Send certified cheques or money orders to:

    Maintenance Enforcement Program
    7th Floor John E. Brownlee Building
    10365 - 97 Street
    Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7

  • If support isn't paid

    MEP will enforce a court order against a payor of support (debtor) if payments aren’t made in full and on time, and if the debtor hasn't made payment arrangements with us.

    We can take these collection actions against a debtor:

    1. Filing a writ at the Alberta Personal Property Registry (applies to all personal property other than land).
    2. Garnishing funds owed by the federal government (eg, income tax refund).
    3. Registering against real property (eg, land).
    4. Garnishing wages owed by an employer.
    5. Garnishing funds from a bank account or other sources.
    6. Enforcing a motor vehicle restriction (withholds services like vehicle registrations).
    7. Restricting recreational hunting and fishing licences.
    8. Reporting to the Credit Bureau.
    9. Suspending a driver’s licence.
    10. Denying and cancelling federal licences (eg, passport).
    11. Seizing hidden assets.
    12. Requiring a debtor to appear for a financial examination or court default hearing.

    If a debtor remarries, MEP has no authority to take collection actions against the debtor’s new spouse.

    Suspending a driver’s licence

    If a debtor has overdue support payments – without a payment arrangement in place – MEP will ask the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to suspend their driver’s licence. But before this happens, MEP will send a warning letter to the debtor. If the debtor doesn’t respond within 21 days to our letter, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation then sends them a letter stating that their licence will be suspended in 25 days.

    Finding payors who owe support

    We need your help finding payors (debtors) who are registered with MEP and haven't paid their court-ordered support payments for at least 6 months.

    The Alberta government maintains a 'Help us find payors' web page that posts the profiles and photos of defaulting debtors. Since it began in April 2000, the page has resulted in:

    • 487 debtor profiles posted
    • 379 defaulting debtors found

    View profiles and photos of MEP-registered debtors

    To anonymously report a debtor, call:

    24-hour MEP Tip Line

    Phone: 780-401-8477
    Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)

    Removing a collection action

    To find out if MEP will – at its discretion – remove a collection action(s) against you, contact this service and make a payment arrangement.

    If you can’t pay your overdue support in full, complete a Statement of Finances form and send it to MEP. This form will help us negotiate a reasonable payment arrangement with you.

    Statement of Finances form (PDF, 213 KB)

    Non-vehicle collection actions

    Once you’ve made a satisfactory payment arrangement with MEP, we may – at our discretion – remove certain collection actions from your file within 14 days. If it applies to your case, we may:

    • adjust your current Support Deduction Notice (SDN) with your employer(s) to the payment arrangement amount
    • terminate your current Non-Wage SDN with your bank(s) and other financial sources before the 12-year expiry date
    • remove your federal licence denial, or
    • remove your driver's licence suspension or full motor vehicle restriction

    Until your support arrears are fully paid – even if you’ve made a payment arrangement – MEP may not remove these collection actions:

    • filing a writ at the Alberta Personal Property Registry (applies to all personal property other than land)
    • garnishing funds owed by the federal government (eg, income tax refund)
    • registering against real property (eg, land)
    • reporting to the Credit Bureau

    MEP issues a Non-Wage SDN to financial sources – people and organizations – to seize money that’s owed to a defaulting debtor. This money comes from a variety of sources, such as the debtor’s bank accounts, rental fees, sales commissions, mutual funds, contract fees, estates and inheritances.

    After receiving a non-wage SDN, a financial source has 15 days to forward the debtor-owed money to MEP or notify MEP that no funds are available. If a source doesn’t send the money that’s owed, they may become legally responsible for the amount the notice requests.

    Every non-wage SDN is in effect for 12 years.

    Restoring suspended driving privileges

    To remove a driver’s licence suspension or full motor vehicle restriction, contact MEP and make a payment arrangement. If you can’t pay your overdue support in full, complete a Statement of Finances form and send it to MEP to negotiate a reasonable payment arrangement.

    After you make and keep your payment arrangements with MEP, it may take up to 14 days to remove your driver's licence suspension or full motor vehicle restriction.

    After we remove your driver’s licence suspension, contact any registry agent office to reinstate your driving privileges.

    Statement of Finances form (PDF, 213 KB)

  • Changing a court order

    If you or the other party wish to change the amount of child, spousal or partner support paid, you'll need to:

    • change the court order for support, or
    • recalculate the child support amount through the Child Support Recalculation Program

    Either the payor or recipient of support can register with the Child Support Recalculation Program. It uses current income to set new child support amounts, so there’s need to go to court.

    Child Support Recalculation Program

    Steps for changing a court order

    We recommend you contact a lawyer or, if you don’t have one, contact a Family Law Information Centre for help with these steps:

    1. File a court application at the nearest Court of Queen’s Bench or Provincial Court location.
    2. Ask the court to send MEP the application and supporting affidavit.

    MEP does not provide a lawyer for the creditor or debtor, but a government (Crown) lawyer will typically appear in court if any of the Crown’s rights to future payments or overdue support might be affected.

    If the court grants a change to the order, either party or their respective lawyer must send MEP a filed copy of the new order as soon as possible. MEP can then adjust its records appropriately.

    Court of Queen’s Bench

    Family Court Assistance

    Resolution and Court Administration Services

    What the court may consider

    The court may consider changing a court order when the circumstances of the debtor or creditor have changed significantly since the previous order was made. These circumstances include a change in:

    • the number of children who are dependent on the parties
    • employment that results in a long-term change in income
    • special or extraordinary Section 7 expenses incurred for the children, or
    • the travel / access costs for visits between the parties and their children

    The judge may also consider the debtor’s ability to make the current payments, based on full financial disclosure, or other factors based on legislation the order was made under.

    How court orders are changed

    A court order may be changed by:

    • consent – when the debtor and creditor agree on the changes to the order, or
    • application – when the debtor and creditor don’t agree on the changes to the order

    To settle the issue, an application must be filed by either party or their respective lawyer at the court that originally issued the court order, unless:

    • an application is first made to change the court location on either a temporary or permanent basis, or
    • the applicant is applying for a change to the order under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act
  • When a child is over the age of majority

    MEP makes administrative decisions about when to end enforcement – not legal decisions about whether or not a child remains dependent or is eligible for support.

    MEP stops collecting  child support when a child reaches the age of majority, unless either the:

    • court order specifically allows support to continue after the age of majority
    • child is a full-time student and under age 22

    Learn more:

    Child Status Reviews (PDF, 62 KB)

    Maintenance for Adult Children (PDF, 62 KB)

  • Parenting time

    In Alberta, parenting time and financial support for children are treated as separate matters. The payor (debtor) cannot be denied parenting time for not making support payments to the recipient (creditor) in full or on time. ‘Parenting time’ is the time a parent / guardian and child spend with each other, separate from the child’s other parent / guardian.

    The debtor must continue to pay their court-ordered support even if they’re being denied time with a child by the creditor.

    Although MEP doesn’t enforce parenting time, we recognize the benefits children receive from having both parents / guardians actively involved in their lives. It’s important that both parties live up to the obligations established in their court order.

    If necessary, you can apply to have parenting time enforced in Provincial Court. To get free help with your application, call:

    Resolution and Court Administration Services

    Phone: 1-855-738-4747
    Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

    Resolution and Court Administration Services may also be able to mediate a dispute between parents / guardians over parenting time.

What's important to know

MEP can only enforce the clear, legal and workable terms in a court order for support. If an order is silent or ambiguous, we'll apply existing policies and practices.

A clearly-written court order should state:

  • that one party is to pay the other party
  • the date payments are to begin
  • the dates payments are due (eg, end of every month)
  • the amount of each payment
  • the conditions of eligibility and / or terminating events
  • if the support obligation may be revived once it ends

Lawyers or MEP clients may use the language in this form for examples of clear and enforceable maintenance terms:

Maintenance Enforcement Support Agreement form (PDF, 60 KB)

Contact

To connect with the Maintenance Enforcement Program.