The survey report, Final Report — Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program 2006 Client Survey was prepared by Burke & Associates Inc., November 28, 2006, based on a client survey undertaken in June 2006.The results of the survey were published via the website of the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) of Alberta Justice.
The Alberta MEP 2006 Client Survey was prominently mentioned on the Alberta MEP home page, with Alberta MEP implying thereby that they not only fully endorse what the survey report contains, but that they will base forthcoming changes to MEP policies and work processes relating to its interactions with it clients (a.k.a. “creditors” and “debtors”) on the recommendations made in the report.
Note 2018 03 22: The full survey report, 1.12 MB PDF file.
Notice that the Alberta MEP 2006 Client Survey was not be found at the Alberta MEP’s website but at the website of the Alberta Department of Justice. Notice also that the report is no longer accessible at the original address at the website of the Alberta Department of Justice, nor was it even possible to locate it there at a new URL Nevertheless, the indicated link is to an archived copy of the report accessible at the Internet Archive.
The survey report is a summary of a self-serving opinion survey using a self-selected sample. It does not permit to draw valid conclusion about child-support-payers, -recipients or the related enforcement system.
A Few Excerpts
- Over 7,400 MEP clients completed the survey. (p. iii)
- Six out of every 10 creditors and 3 out of every 10 debtors had some university or college education. The percentage of debtors failing to complete high school was roughly equivalent to Alberta averages. (p. iii)
- Ten percent of creditors and 21% of debtors indicated school was harder for them compared to others. This level is within range for the incidence of learning disabilities in North America. (p. iv)
- Extrapolating the survey results to the population of all MEP clients suggests about 5,300 clients would have difficulty following written instructions. This has significant implications for the manner in which MEP presents its written material. (p. iv)
Note: The last item would indicate also that there is something seriously wrong with admission requirements for college an university. It seems that more students are being admitted to college and university than are qualified to be there.
- The majority of creditors and debtors believe the amount of maintenance they receive or pay is unfair. (p. iv)
- Seventy-eight percent of debtors want to have a better relationship with their child. Over two-thirds of all debtors indicated that they did not get to see their child enough. (p. v)
- Creditors were generally enthusiastic about all enforcement tools, with greater support for some over others. (p. v)
- Debtors ranked cancelling a driver’s licence as the most important in influencing their decision to pay maintenance, followed closely by prevention of the registration of a vehicle. (p. v)
- Effective July 24, 2006, MEP had 48,381 active files; 44,223 of these files involved clients with children. (p. 2)
- Although creditors on average had a higher level of education than debtors, they reported overall lower levels of income. (p. 6)
(Note: Let’s hope that did not come as a surprise.)
The survey contains much more information, much of it intriguing. Still, the quality of the survey is open to reservations as to meeting acceptable academic standards for trustworthiness. Some of those reservation are indicated in Detailed comments on the Alberta MEP 2006 Client Survey.
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