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3000 B.C. government clawback of child-support payments riles single parents - ACORN Canada B.C. government clawback of child-support payments riles single parents

Posted December 29, 2014

B.C. Liberal MLA Richard Lee received empty gift boxes as part of a BC ACORN protest outside his office.

Posted December 29, 2014

PRESSURE IS MOUNTING on the B.C. government to reverse a long-standing policy to claw back family-support payments from recipients of income- and disability-assistance cheques.
On December 23, nearly two dozen members of the antipoverty group B.C. Acorn stood outside B.C. Liberal MLA Richard Lee’s constituency office in Burnaby North. 
They left empty gift boxes to reflect their view that Premier Christy Clark’s pledge to put families first was an empty promise.
One of the speakers at the rally, single father David Little, said he’s been paying child support for 10 years to his ex-wife, who is on disability assistance.
He claimed that this means the B.C. government has clawed back $30,000 that should have gone to his kids to pay for their postsecondary education or to improve their quality of life.
The B.C. government launched a consultation process on December 10 on the clawbacks, which were introduced by the Gordon Campbell government shortly after it took power in 2001.
Single mother Tabitha Naismith, who was at the B.C. Acorn action, said that the consultation period runs until the end of February, which means it may not produce results until after the next provincial budget is introduced.
The consultation has begun after single moms filed a lawsuit against the B.C. government, claiming that the clawback violates single parents’ equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Single Mothers’ Alliance of B.C. cofounder Viveca Ellis has characterized the clawback as “a save-a-penny, starve-a-child government policy”.
“It actually takes food and activities and health away from them,” Ellis told the Straight in August.
In a commentary on earlier this year, NDP social-development critic Michelle Mungall wrote that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that child support is the right of the child.
“At no point should child support ever be interpreted as a revenue stream for government,” she stated. “And yet that is exactly what the B.C. Liberals have been doing for more than a decade.”
At the time, Mungall urged people to write to the premier ( and Social Development Minister Don McRae ( or tweet them @ChristyClarkBC and @DonMcRaeMLA.
Article by Charlie Smith for