A single mother in Victoria is not only battling for her life but also for a secure future for her two children, thanks to her ex-husband who owes her more than $350,000 in child support payments.
Tjally Heino previously survived breast cancer and has now been diagnosed with stage four cancer, which is terminal. Doctors have given the 42-year-old two years to live. Her only focus now is securing a future for her two children, Emily, 17, and Aryeh, 7, by collecting approximately $354,000 in child support payments from their father and her ex-husband, John “Timothy” Jackson.
“When we moved to Canada that’s when it stopped,” an emotional Heino says. “The system here is so broken that it’s very difficult to get any answers as to why he’s not paying. Everyone’s telling me 30 days, 30 days… and it’s now been three years.”
When Heino divorced Jackson, at the time they were living in Chicago, Illinois and even then she needed to hire a lawyer to garnish his wages to pay the agreed upon $6,800 per month in child support.
“In Chicago his wages were garnered the next day but in Canada, it hasn’t gotten to that point,” Heino told Unfiltered’s Jill Krop tonight. “They can’t seem to find him.”
Jackson’s passport and driver’s license were cancelled recently but provincial child support enforcement programs in both B.C. and Ontario, where he is believed to be living, have not been able to acquire any of the funds.
The problem seems to be that although B.C.’s Family Maintenance Enforcement Program is responsible for Heino’s file, due to Jackson living in Ontario, it’s up to that province to collect the money on Heino’s behalf.
“It feels like us and nobody else, so we’re battling a phantom,” Heino says.
In a statement from Ontario’s Family Responsibility Office it says:
While we have tough enforcement tools at our disposal, the reality is that some parents are unable to pay their support for a variety of reasons while others will go to great lengths to avoid paying. Some parents go to extraordinary lengths to hide assets and confound attempts to enforce court orders.
However for children advocates, it’s time pull out all the stops. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Representative for Children and Youth, says “we have to prove a point that children have a right to that support and we need to find the money and make sure they can get connected to the support that they so much need and deserve.”
For now, Heino hopes that by speaking out she has the arrears paid by bringing the case to light and in doing so, can take care of her children and their education. Currently the family is living off of social assistance, which equates to roughly $1,000 per month, and support from her friends and family.
But Heino feels like time is running out.
“I mean it’s hard to sleep at night wondering what’s going to happen, it’s my worst fear.”
Heino speaking on Unfiltered with Jill Krop tonight