Ontario government targets deadbeat parents online

If you’ve defaulted on your child support payments in Ontario, chances are you’ll find yourself on goodparentspay.com – and millions will have read all the gory details.

Since the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services launched goodparentspay.com last week, the site has received over 10 million hits, and 150 tips from the public.

As a result, three people who were listed on the site as having defaulted on their child support payments have been found, according to Ministry spokesperson, Marc Despatie.

Goodparentspay.com is currently operated by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) and features information and pictures about parents who default on their child support. Members of the public who would like to submit tips and information can do so anonymously.

“One of the things we want people to know is that it’s not just people who don’t pay (that are on the site),” says Despatie. “This is a tool to locate people; we’re enlisting the help of the public to help us find people that we’ve lost track of over the years.”

Despatie notes that the Ministry didn’t have a big multi-media campaign for the site, just a media demo a week before the site launched.

Since that time the Ministry has received media inquiries from as far away as Switzerland, as well as national interest from Halifax and Montreal.

“We’re almost up to one hit for every Ontarian and that’s really exciting,” says Despatie.

He notes that one of the main reasons for the site coming to fruition was the huge amount of arrears in support payments that was in place when the McGuinty government first came to power.

“One of the things they campaigned on was getting a little tougher and giving the Family Responsibility Office better enforcement tools and this was one that they were studying at that time,” he says.

Despatie adds there are similar sites in Alberta and in some states in the U.S.

Ultimately the motivating force behind the site is its benefits for the affected children, says Despatie.

“One of the things the Minister (Madeleine Meilleur) says is, ‘Why should your children pay because you don’t pay?’ I

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