Tjally Heino is running out of time.
The 42-year-old single mother from Victoria's Oak Bay area is dealing with terminal cancer and doctors estimate she has two years left to live. She supports her kids, Emily, 15, and Aryeh, seven, with $1,051 in monthly income assistance but her monthly payments aren't even enough to cover the cost of a two-bedroom basement suite, The Times Colonist reports.
And Heino has another problem: her ex-husband John Timothy Jackson is believed to be living in Toronto and owes approximately $354,000 in child support.
B.C.'s Family Maintenance Enforcement Program oversees Heino's file, but Ontario's Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is responsible for collecting the approximately $6,800 per month that Jackson owes her. And neither office can obtain the money that would help Heino support her family.
It wasn't always like this. Heino and her ex-husband divorced while they lived in Chicago, and back then she hired a lawyer who was able to garnish Jackson's wages and obtain child support payments the next day, Global News reports.
All of that changed when they moved to Canada and Heino is at pains to figure out why.
"The system here is so broken that it’s very difficult to get any answers as to why he’s not paying," she told the network. "Everyone’s telling me 30 days, 30 days … and it’s now been three years."
Jackson, 43, has hardly spoken to his kids and not paid any support since July 2011, but he is also reportedly suffering from problems of his own, The Toronto Star reports.
His father Garth told the newspaper that he's suffering from a mental illness as a result of a drug addiction that began with prescription painkillers eight years ago and isn't entirely sure if his son's still alive.
Jackson was laid off from a job with Rogers Communications in late 2011 and his father also doesn't know if he's worked since.
"I hope he’s managing and I hope he’s winning the battle. I have no idea whether he is or not."
Rick Sanderson, Heino's lawyer, told the Star that the FRO had placed a lien on some of Jackson's property, cancelled his passport and garnished his wages, but he still wonders whether enough is being done to help.
"If the government of Ontario and the government of B.C. can’t find this guy, then how much effort are they really putting into it?" he said.
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