The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) helps families in Ontario receive the
support they are entitled to by enforcing court-ordered support payments.
When support payments fall behind, the FRO has the authority to take
enforcement action. If other enforcement actions have been unsuccessful, the
FRO will carefully review the case and may initiate a bank garnishment. A
garnishment is used to seize money in a bank account.
How much can be garnished from a bank account?
When a support payor’s financial institution receives a garnishment request from
the FRO, they are required to seize the amount of the support in arrears from the
If the account is held solely by the support payor, up to 100 per cent of the money
in that account can be seized to pay outstanding support. If the account is held
jointly, up to 50 percent of the money in that account can be seized to pay support
Can a joint bank account be garnished?
Yes. Bank garnishments apply to any bank accounts held either solely or jointly by
the support payor in the province of Ontario. If it is a joint account, the financial
institution is required to:
• notify the other account co-holders advising them of the garnishment
• notify the FRO that the money is from a joint account.
When money is garnished from a joint bank account, it is held by the FRO for 30
days. Within the 30 day period, an account co-holder(s) can file a dispute with the
court claiming ownership to all or part of the garnished monies. The FRO is
required to hold the money until the dispute is resolved.
If the co-holder(s) of the account does not file a dispute with the court within 30
days, the FRO will release the money to the support recipient.
What happens if the support payor’s name changes?
Court rules require that the name on the Notice of Garnishment be the same as the
name on the support order. If a support payor has used a different name than the
one on the support order, the sup