A "Grand" Error
Ministry of Community and Social Services (Family Responsibility Office)
An elderly couple took on the responsibility of caring for their young grandchildren following the death of their daughter in April 2000. In November 2000, a court order gave custody of the children to their father and ordered that the grandparents pay him $609 per month from money held by them in trust for the children’s support. The couple made the payments through the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) until a second court order terminated the payments in February 2001. The FRO received a copy of this order, but did not register it in their records. As a result, in March 2005, the FRO identified the grandparents as owing $26,964.47 in support arrears and attempted to garnish their Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan benefits and their income tax refund. By the time the grandparents realized what had occurred,$4,707 had been wrongly taken from them. The FRO agreed to stop garnishing their income but refused to refund the money, saying they should collect it from the children’s father.
Contacted by the Ombudsman’s Office, the FRO acknowledged its mistake and agreed to reimburse the grandparents the full amount it had wrongly taken from them.