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Child Support Services Policy

Published Date: March 01, 2007
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03 Case Management

Respondent DNA Testing

CASS Regulation Section 4 and Section 5


INTENT

To allow the respondent to establish parentage with certainty before agreeing to a support order or agreement, when the presumptions of parentage do not exist.

POLICY

Definition

DNA testing is the preferred method to establish parentage. The testing is based on the genetic material present in almost every cell in the human body.

Humans share 99% of DNA. One percent is unique to any one individual. These differences are identified and compared by the DNA testing procedure. The testing shows a unique DNA pattern for each individual.

A DNA pattern of a child is inherited from both parents. Half a child’s DNA is inherited from each parent. By comparing the three patterns involved, it can be determined whether or not a child is the dependant of either or both of the two possible parents.

DNA testing establishes paternity with certainty. Results either exclude the respondent or give a probability of paternity 99.9% or greater. DNA sample collection is easy, painless and non-invasive. Samples are collected using strict “chain of evidence” procedures by swabbing buccal (cheek) cells from inside the mouth.

DNA Testing Provider

The Child Support Worker (CSW) refers the respondent to the approved DNA Testing Provider [CASS Regulation Section 5(c)]:

MAXXAM Analytics Inc
Genetic Identification Division
335 Laird Road, Unit 2
Guelph, Ontario N1H 6J3

Respondent’s Requests for DNA Testing

For the purposes of the Child Support Services (CSS) program, the CSW will consent to a respondent’s request for DNA testing before pursuing a support order except when the following presumptions of parentage from a legal marriage apply:

  1. The male person was the spouse of the mother of the child at the time of the birth of the child
  2. The male person was the spouse of the mother of the child and the marriage was terminated by

     

    • A decree of nullity of marriage granted less than 300 days before the birth of the child, or
    • A judgment of divorce granted less than 300 days before the birth of the child;

     

  3. The male person became the spouse of the mother of the child after the birth of the child and has acknowledged that he is the father of the child


If the respondent requests DNA testing when the above presumptions apply, the CSW commences court action and the respondent can make his request to the court.

Note
If the applicant indicates there is more than one possible respondent, the above presumptions do not apply and the CSW agrees with the respondent’s request for DNA testing.

Payment

In many cases, there are reasonable grounds to believe the respondent named is the responsible person.

In these situations the department is not obligated to assist in conclusively establishing parentage. If a respondent requests DNA testing, this procedure is entirely for their benefit. The CSW ensures:

  • The respondent is advised they are responsible for providing the full payment for the DNA testing by a specified date before the testing is scheduled. This ensures results are available before the next scheduled court or trial date. The EMP 3788A DNA Undertaking – Court or the EMP 3788B DNA Undertaking – Office is completed with the respondent.
  • The respondent is advised they are responsible for paying any additional fee for any missed DNA appointments as required by the provider. This fee may be charged when the respondent fails to keep the scheduled appointment and does not cancel or rebook it. This additional fee is never covered or reimbursed by the department.
  • The applicant and respondent are told a copy of the DNA results will be given to each party and to the CSW.
  • The applicant and dependant co-operate with the testing if the respondent has agreed to pay the full cost of the testing for all three persons.
  • The respondent is told Legal Aid may be a possible legal resource.


The department pays for testing only for the applicant and dependant when:

  • There is reasonable doubt concerning parentage when the applicant has named two or more possible respondents, and
  • A respondent has the ability to pay reasonable child support, or
  • The first responsible person lives in Alberta and must be excluded as the responsible person before an ISO action commences for the second responsible person who resides out of province, or
  • The department lawyer or CSS Supervisor recommends payment of the fees

    Note
    When a respondent requests DNA tests after a Support Order with a finding of parentage has been granted, it is the respondent’s responsibility to:
    • Pay for the testing for all three persons and
    • Arrange for the tests directly with the applicant and the approved Provider [CASS Regulation Section 4(c)


Notification to DNA Testing Provider

When the respondent has requested DNA testing, the CSW notifies the DNA Provider by sending a completed EMP 3275 DNA Testing Request to the Provider.

Reimbursement Respondent

For cases when the respondent has paid for all of the DNA testing and the results exclude the respondent as a possible biological father prior to a court order being granted,

or

When the respondent has paid for only part of the DNA testing because there is more than one possible respondent and the results show this person is not the responsible respondent the CSW ensures:

  • The respondent is reimbursed the funds paid for the testing, excluding any charges paid for the respondent’s missed DNA appointments, if the respondent asks for his costs and submits proof of payment. 
     
  • The respondent is not reimbursed for any additional costs such as lawyer fees, lost wages, witness expenses.


When an order has been granted and the respondent subsequently disputes parentage, the department is not responsible for DNA testing costs or legal action. In these situations, the respondent is responsible to return to court to request dismissal of the order.

When the respondent has obtained his own negative DNA results, the respondent may submit them to MEP and request MEP discontinue enforcement of the order if the respondent qualifies under the administrative process available at MEP.

The respondent is also reimbursed for the DNA costs when:

  • the DNA testing has been requested by the CSW
  • the respondent has paid for either his portion or the entire DNA testing cost and has attended his DNA appointment
  • the applicant and child(ren) do not attend their DNA appointment, as the applicant’s IS file has closed and the applicant has refused Continuing CSS services and
  • the respondent asks for his costs and submits proof of payment. The reimbursement does not include any charges for the respondent’s missed appointments.


Respondent Provides DNA Results

Results Provided Prior to Agreement or Court Order

In some circumstances the respondent may have already completed DNA testing prior to CSS involvement. When the respondent produces DNA testing results, CSS only accepts DNA testing results that were completed by a lab with Standard Council of Canada (SCC) Accreditation for Forensic and Paternity Testing. It is the responsibility of the respondent to provide proof that the lab, which completed his DNA testing, has the proper accreditation. Headquarters will assist with confirmation of SCC Accreditation when required.

When the DNA results are not from an SCC accredited lab, then the CSW needs to commence the referral process to send the respondent to the CSS approved provider.

Results Provided in midst of Court Action

In some circumstances the respondent may provide DNA results in the midst of a court action. In these situations the DNA results are accepted by CSS if the testing was completed by a lab with Standard Council of Canada (SCC) Accreditation for Forensic and Paternity Testing. Otherwise the department lawyer is instructed to oppose the DNA results and request testing through the CSS approved DNA testing provider.