Provincial Government Updating P.E.I.’s Garnishee Act

The province has announced changes to the Garnishee Act, the legislation that governs how much creditors are able to seize from a debtor’s paycheque in Prince Edward Island.

The Garnishee Act comes into play after a court rules that one party owes money to another — in a child-support judment, for example. If the debtor doesn’t pay that money, creditors can use the Garnishee Act to go directly to the debtor’s employer and have part of their wages handed over.

The changes affect how much money is exempt from garnishment, so that a debtor can keep enough of their paycheque to cover basic needs.

Michael Fleischmann, acting director of family law and court services, says the exemption amounts previously included in the act had to be modernized.

The specified amounts were quite old, so they needed to be updated to reflect our present reality.— Michael Fleischmann

“There’s… exemptions for a person’s cost of accommodations, medical expenses, transportation expenses, and other basic needs like that,” he said of the updated act.

“There were those exemptions there before, but the specified amounts were quite old, so they needed to be updated to reflect our present reality.”

Clarity and fairness needed

Fleischmann said the new amounts will provide clarity and fairness for both debtors and creditors.

“There has to be a balancing of a person’s right to earn an income and provide for their basic needs, versus the creditors ability to collect on the debt that’s owed to them,” he said.

Fleischmann said debtors will be notified of the changes by the prothonotary — the court employee who determines what a debtor’s basic exemption will be. The prothonotary will ask debtors for certain documents, and use those to decide on the debtor’s basic exemption amount.

The changes to the exemption amounts under Garnishee Act come into effect March 1.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)


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