A Better Way to Follow Up

Authority Maintenance Enforcement and Locate Services

Vinnie wanted to vary a child support order made in another province. He hired a lawyer in that province and then learned he had to submit his application through Interjurisdictional Support Services. Vinnie submitted his application to IJSS and, several months later, received confirmation the application had been reviewed and forwarded to its counterpart in the other province to arrange a hearing there. IJSS enclosed an information sheet explaining its process.

More than a year after receiving the confirmation letter from IJSS, Vinnie needed answers. He made a complaint to us and contacted IJSS again. IJSS contacted its counterpart in the other province, noted the amount of time that had passed since the application was submitted and asked if they would expedite the case on their end. In response, the counterpart office processed Vinnie’s application without further delay and sent it to the courts. A court hearing was scheduled a short time later. Vinnie remained concerned that IJSS had not done enough to stay on top of the matter and ensure that his application was processed in the other province.

In response to our questions, IJSS explained the other province was responsible for the delay and that periodic efforts by IJSS to obtain updates on the status of Vinnie’s application had yielded no response. It wasn’t until Vinnie contacted IJSS to complain that IJSS took steps beyond the regular process to facilitate the process.

Looking at the IJSS information sheet that was enclosed in the letter to Vinnie, we wondered if IJSS had set unrealistic expectations. The information sheet stated IJSS would ensure applications are received and processed by the authorities in the respondent’s jurisdiction – this was something IJSS told us it cannot do.

We asked IJSS to amend its information sheet – if it cannot ensure an application will be processed by an authority in another jurisdiction, it should not make that promise. IJSS agreed. The information sheet now says IJSS will seek confirmation that an application had been received and processed – a more accurate description of the steps an applicant can expect the IJSS to take.

We also discussed with IJSS steps it might take if an authority in another jurisdiction is not responsive to requests for status updates. In response, IJSS implemented a new policy that provides for follow up at a more senior level if IJSS does not receive confirmation that processing is complete within a reasonable period.

Vinnie was appreciative and said he was pleased that in the future, IJSS would make more thorough and determined efforts to follow up with the other jurisdiction. 

Category Children and Youth
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2015
Location The Interior