(First published on Conflict Conversations Blog)
An incarceration order was one of the outcomes of a final default proceeding heard over two days in February 2014 by the Ontario Court of Justice. The case involved court orders of child and spousal support handed down between 2007 and 2010 that had accumulated arrears of over $500,000.00.
The court ordered, inter alia, the defaulting Dad be incarcerated for 15 days "or until the sum of $25, 000 is sooner paid." In her reasons for judgment, the Honourable Ellen Murray noted:
The Court of Appeal has held that imprisonment for non-payment is not a punishment for the debtor, but a means of enforcing payment, which should be imposed only when other reasonable measures have been attempted. If imprisonment is justified, the duration of the term should be proportionate, considering the amount owing and other factors related to the non-payment. (emphasis added)
Justice Murray's reasons for judgment can be found here.
A blog post on this decision by Russell Alexander, an Ontario family lawyer, can be found here.