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Digest of the Week | Garnishment

Husband claimed pension was exempt from garnishment

Virc v. Blair | 2017 ONCA 849 | Ontario Court of Appeal

Support -- Spousal support under Divorce Act and provincial statutes -- Enforcement of award -- Garnishment

Husband was ordered to pay wife equalization payment, retroactive child and spousal support, litigation costs and pre-judgment interest -- Outstanding amount due to wife was $1,283,595.86, and no voluntary payments had been made by husband, and wife sought to enforce order -- Wife made request for garnishment of husband’s pension, which was retirement compensation arrangement -- Husband claimed pension was exempt from garnishment pursuant to Pension Benefits Act -- Husband’s motion to dispute notice of garnishment was dismissed -- Trial judge found husband provided no authority for proposition that retirement compensation arrangement was protected pension plan and that Pension Benefits Act exempted retiring allowance, not retirement compensation arrangement, from garnishment -- Trial judge found that in light of clear wording of Act and evidence about retirement compensation arrangement, there was no real merit to dispute -- Husband appealed -- Appeal dismissed -- Plan constituted retirement compensation arrangement and so was not exempt from garnishment -- Husband could not benefit from provisions of Pension Benefits Act to protect his compensation arrangement from garnishment -- Payments made through arrangement were not wage as defined by s. 1 of Wages Act, therefore provisions of that Act restricting percentage that could be seized did not apply.
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