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Family Responsibility Office (FRO) and Indian Status

ontario specific
legal information

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) has statutory authority to use a variety of methods to collect child support, including garnishment of wages and bank accounts, seizure and sale of property, suspension of driving and other licences, and so on.

If both you and your ex-partner are Status Indians (meaning you are federally registered members of a band or First Nation), FRO is able to use any of its statutory powers to enforce a support order.

If your ex-partner is a Status Indian and you are not, the ability of FRO to enforce a support order is limited by the Indian Act, which does not permit FRO to take any enforcement action against property or income that is located on reserve. In other words, if your ex-partner works on his First Nation, that income cannot be garnished to satisfy a child support order if you are not a Status Indian. The same is true with respect to the seizure and sale of on-reserve property.

FRO can garnish any wages earned off-reserve, seize and sell off-reserve property and suspend your ex-partner’s driver’s licence, hunting or fishing licence and so on if he is in arrears with his child support payments.

If you need specialized information or assistance related to Status and the implications with enforcing court orders, you can contact the Ontario Native Women’s Association at or the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres.