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Info Sheet - The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act

The Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act replaces the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) Act, which was first passed in 1958. It streamlines the process for obtaining and varying support orders involving Islanders and parties who live in other jurisdictions, where provincial or territorial laws (not the federal Divorce Act) are being applied. The ISO Act came into effect on May 10, 2003.

What are the benefits of the ISO Act?

The ISO Act is a uniform statute that all of the provinces and territories in Canada have agreed to pass. The Act allows parties residing in different jurisdictions to obtain and vary support orders under provincial legislation more quickly and easily. It benefits families by increasing the likelihood of entitlement to support and facilitates the speedier enforcement of Canadian support orders.

When can I use the ISO Act?

You are able to use the ISO Act when you reside in Prince Edward Island and:

  • you wish to obtain an order requiring someone in another province or country to pay child or spousal support under provincial law (the Family Law Act); or
  • you have an existing support order that was granted under a statute, other than the Divorce Act, and you wish to change this order.
When will the ISO Act not be available to me?

The ISO Act does not apply to any support applications under the federal Divorce Act. You will not be able to use the ISO Act to bring an application for support or a support variation in the following situations:
  • If a divorce action has been started and you are seeking an initial order for child or spousal support from your spouse;
  • If you want to change (vary) an existing support order that was made in a divorce action.
You will also not use the ISO Act if both parties to the Court application live in Prince Edward Island.

How will the ISO Act help me get a support order or support variation order more quickly?

The ISO Act streamlines procedures for obtaining and varying support orders by reducing the current two Court hearing process to a process where only one hearing is held.

Prince Edward Island currently has reciprocal agreements with numerous jurisdictions in the world regarding how support orders can be obtained, varied and enforced. Under the REMO Act, Islanders (applicants) seeking a support order or support variation order under provincial legislation had to first obtain a provisional order in the Supreme Court of P.E.I. if the other party (the respondent) lived in a reciprocating jurisdiction outside the province. That provisional order was of no force and effect until a confirmation order was granted in the respondent's jurisdiction. The provisional order was, therefore, sent to the Courts where the respondent resided for a second Court hearing to be held. At that hearing, the Court decided whether to confirm or refuse to confirm the provisional order.

The ISO Act eliminates this two-step provisional order/confirmation hearing process (used under the REMO Act) in most cases. The result is speedier access to new Court orders. In almost all cases, matters will be decided by one Court hearing held in the respondent's jurisdiction. The applicant will not have to attend or have a lawyer attend that Court application. Instead, the applicant's wishes and evidence will be presented to the Court by way of his or her written support application.

Will I ever have to obtain a provisional order under the ISO Act?

You will not be required to obtain a provisional order unless the reciprocating jurisdiction where the respondent resides requires one. In these cases, you will still file the same support application, but there will be a Court hearing held in Prince Edward Island and the resulting provisional order will be sent for a confirmation hearing in the respondent's jurisdiction.
The only reciprocating jurisdictions that are expected to require provisional orders are: England, Northern Ireland, States of Jersey, the Isle of Man, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. You may also need a provisional order for some Canadian jurisdictions if they have not yet proclaimed their ISO legislation. Although all provinces and territories have agreed to put ISO procedures in place, some have not yet done so. As of May 10, 2003, Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia have proclaimed their ISO legislation.

If you are not certain whether a provisional order is required, you may wish to contact staff at the Child Support Guidelines Offices for more information.

What if the respondent does not live in a reciprocating jurisdiction?

Canada - Prince Edward Island has reciprocal enforcement agreements with all other provinces and territories of Canada.

United States and Other Jurisdictions - Prince Edward Island also has reciprocal enforcement agreements with the following other jurisdictions:

Australia Isle of Man Papua New Guinea
Austria States of Jersey Poland
England Malta Most of the United States
Federal Republic of Germany New Zealand Zimbabwe
Northern Ireland
Guernsey, Alderney and Sark

As long as the respondent lives in one of these reciprocating jurisdictions, a Court hearing to obtain or vary support can be started in Prince Edward Island and heard in the respondent's jurisdiction.

How can I start a Court application under the ISO Act?

To start an application under ISO, you must complete and swear a support application (or a support variation application) before a Lawyer or Notary Public. This application must be in a standard form that will be used across Canada. The form will be available at no cost through the Internet, the Child Support Guidelines Office and Community Legal Information Association. It is designed to have you provide detailed information, so that the Court in the respondent's jurisdiction will have enough evidence from you to properly consider your application and make a decision.

Once you have completed the support application form, you will file it with the Child Support Guidelines Office. The sworn application is then forwarded by the Prince Edward Island Reciprocity Officer in the Maintenance Enforcement Office to the respondent's jurisdiction for a Court hearing and decision. You will be given a certified copy of any order granted in that jurisdiction once the Reciprocity Officer in Prince Edward Island receives it.

What if someone in another jurisdiction wants to bring a support application against me?

If you live in Prince Edward Island and someone outside of Prince Edward Island brings a Court application under the ISO Act, the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island will receive that applicant's support application (or support variation) package from the other jurisdiction and schedule a hearing. You will be served with a copy of the application and a notice requiring you to appear for a Court hearing. You will be provided with information and asked to supply the Court with certain financial information and documents.

At the Court hearing, the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island will hear and decide the matter, based on the applicant's sworn application and any evidence you present under oath.

What happens if I don't appear at the scheduled Court hearing?

If you are the applicant seeking a support order or variation order, you are not expected to appear or to be represented by anyone at the Court hearing in the other jurisdiction. No notice will be given to you of when this hearing is to occur.

If you are the respondent in a support or support variation application and you are served by the Courts with a notice to appear, you are required by law to attend the Court hearing. As a respondent, it is to your benefit to attend in any event, so that you can present your own evidence and arguments to the Court. If you do not, the Prince Edward Island ISO Act provides that the Court may grant a support (or support variation) order in your absence.

Will I need a lawyer to bring an application under the ISO Act or if someone brings an application under the ISO Act against me?

Uniform Court forms are available for use as ISO support and support variation applications. There are also detailed guides that explain how to complete and file these forms. Applicants will be able to choose whether to obtain a lawyer's assistance to complete and swear the applications. There is, however, no Court hearing in Prince Edward Island and applicants are not expected to obtain legal counsel to appear for them at the Court hearing in the respondent's jurisdiction.

If you are a respondent who is served with a support application (or support variation application) and notice of a hearing, you can appear at the hearing with or without a lawyer.

ISO procedures can involve complex questions of which jurisdiction's laws apply and how the various laws can benefit you. Although the ISO Court forms have been designed for easy completion, applicants may benefit from a lawyer's assistance in presenting their evidence through these forms. Parties to Court applications under the ISO Act are encouraged to consider obtaining legal advice or additional information on all of these issues.

Does the ISO Act affect the enforcement of support?

In addition to outlining procedures for the obtaining or varying Court orders where the parties reside in different jurisdictions, the ISO Act deals with registering orders granted in other jurisdictions for enforcement in Prince Edward Island.

Under the REMO Act, debtors living in Prince Edward Island were given a one-month period to apply to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island to set aside the registration of any out-of-province support order. This "grace period" is no longer available for orders granted within Canada, so that all Canadian support orders are enforceable immediately upon filing with the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island. Under the ISO Act, only orders granted outside of Canada are unenforceable for 30 days after filing to allow the respondent an opportunity to set aside the registration of the order.

Where can I get more information on ISO? The uniform Court forms for support applications and support variation applications are offered at no cost through the Child Support Guidelines Office, Community Legal Information Association and on this web site. Information sessions regarding the forms are also available.

Contact the Child Support Guidelines Offices at:

Child Support Guidelines Office
42 Water Street
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 368-6220
Child Support Guidelines Office
108 Central Street
Summerside, PE C1N 3L4
Telephone: (902) 888-8188
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