Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
FRO to have more authority
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 28 Jul 2006, p. 6

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Liberals trumpet changes to support payment process

The Ontario government is cutting through the red tape so that family support payments are made in a way that is fair to all parents, Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur announced recently. "We're on the side of Ontario families who want the best for their children," said Meilleur. "That's why we're implementing changes that will make the family support payment process more equitable for all parents-- those paying support and those receiving it." The changes mean that the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) will have the authority to temporarily enforce less support when all parties agree that the number of entitled children has decreased. The FRO can also stop child support when a recipient fails to respond to an enquiry about the number of entitled children. Permanent changes to support orders will still have to be made by the courts. "We want to make it easier for parents to pay the right amount of support," said Meilleur. "These changes will help parents live up to their responsibilities to their children and to each other." These are the latest customer service changes to the FRO implemented under the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Amendment Act, 2005. Since the Dalton McGuinty Liberals first announced it was taking action to improve service at the FRO in February 2004, the FRO's new customer service unit has handled almost 200,000 additional calls, a 36 per cent increase. Despite this increase, the average wait time on the customer service line has decreased from 13 minutes to eight minutes and 75 per cent more callers were able to get through on their first attempt. This is the latest example of how the McGuinty government is working to support Ontario's parents and their families. Other initiatives include: · Increasing social assistance so that a single parent family with two children will receive $1,620 more in 2006-07 than they would have in 200304-- a 15.7 per cent increase. · Eliminating a rule that treated RESPs as assets, and contributions to and payments from RESPs as income so that social assistance recipients are not penalized for saving for their children's education in order to help them achieve a better future. "We are making the Family Responsibility Office work better for Ontario parents and their children," said Meilleur. "Stronger families mean a stronger Ontario."

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28 Jul 2006
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FRO to have more authority