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During the 1980s and 1990s, all provincial and territorial governments created Maintenance Enforcement Programs (MEPs) to provide administrative support to payors and recipients of child and spousal support, and to improve compliance with support payments. Through both provincial/territorial and federal legislation, the programs were given a number of administrative enforcement powers to secure payments before resorting to the courts.

MEPs play an important role in the area of spousal and child support in Canada. Between 2001 and 2006, there were two million cases of divorce or separation in the ten provinces (General Social Survey, 2006). While not all of these cases end up with a support order that is registered with a MEP, many will.

This report provides data on the characteristics of cases that are registered with the MEPs. 1  The results presented in this report comprise child and spousal support data for eight provinces and two territories, representing 95% of Canada’s population. Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia provide data through the Maintenance Enforcement Survey (MES), while Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories report to the newer, more detailed Survey of Maintenance Enforcement Programs (SMEP). 2  Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Nunavut currently do not report. Some data tables do not include all jurisdictions from the MES because the data are not available.