Getting your driver's licence back if BCFMA issues a cancellation

If you fall behind more than $3,000 in arrears, BC Family Maintenance Agency (BCFMA) may ask ICBC to refuse to issue or renew your driver's licence.

But there are steps you can take to get your licence back.

When can BCFMA cancel your driver's licence?

The law says BCFMA can tell ICBC to cancel your driver's licence or not to issue you a new licence if you owe $3,000 or more in support. This is called a licence cancellation.

If this happens, your driver’s licence is cancelled and you won't be able to drive.

When would BCFMA take this step?

BCFMA would cancel your licence if:

  • a voluntary payment arrangement with you was unsuccessful
  • other recovery actions with you were unsuccessful
  • you didn't reply to their contact attempts

Before cancelling your licence, BCFMA will:

  • work with you to develop a voluntary payment arrangement
  • provide 30 days notice prior to issuing a driver's licence cancellation
  • send notice to inform you that you're behind on payments and that they're considering a licence cancellation

See BCFMA's website for more information.

How can you get your licence back?

If you want to get your licence back, you have to call your BCFMA case manager and explain your situation. For example:

  • There was a mistake (a material or substantial error). For example:
    • you're not in arrears with your payments.
    • you owe less than $3,000, and you owed less than $3,000 when they sent a notice to ICBC.
  • You need a driver's licence to work or get to work. You may need a letter from your employer saying you need a driver's licence to do the job. This could also be a letter from a potential employer with a job for you.
  • You'll come to an agreement with BCFMA about how you'll pay off your arrears over time as well as pay your ongoing support. You may have to report your earnings once you're working or give them a deposit. BCFMA will need proof of your income and expenses.

If BCFMA still says you can't get your driver's licence back, you can apply for a judge's order to help you get it back.

How do you apply to the court to get your licence back?

Follow these steps to apply to the court to try to get your licence back.

1. Get your court documents ready

  • Get a copy of your support order or agreement.
  • Fill out the Application for Order Under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act (FMEA) (Form 35). Follow the instructions that come with the form.
    • Under number 4, check off the box for an order requiring the Director of Maintenance Enforcement to tell ICBC to disregard BCFMA's notice about your driver's licence.
    • Under number 6, write down the facts you want the judge to consider in your application, such as why you're applying to get your licence back and why you want the court to make the order. You can also do this in an affidavit. You'll probably still have to give evidence in person in court.
  • Fill out the affidavit (Form 45) to support your application. This is optional. An affidavit is a sworn statement that shows the judge evidence about the relevant facts about your case. For example, if you have a letter from your employer saying you need to drive for your job, attach the letter as an exhibit to your affidavit.
  • Fill out the Statement of Finances (FMEA, Form PFA073)
You must swear or affirm that the information in the affidavit and Statement of Finances and any supporting documents is true. You can do this for free when go to the registry to file your forms, or hire a notary or lawyer. But if it's not possible or it's medically unsafe to meet with a commissioner of oaths, you don't have to swear the affidavit. The judge will likely get you to swear that it's true when you go to court.

Download blank forms from the links above. Fill them out on your computer or fill out printed forms in pen. You can also get free printed forms from any Provincial Court registry. (For Step 4, print or get a copy of the Certificate of Service (Form 7) as well.)

2. Make copies

Make three photocopies of your support order or agreement and Application for Order (Form 35) so that you have four copies. Or print four copies of your forms you filled out on screen.

3. Go to the court registry

Go to the Provincial Court registry to do the following:

  • Get a court date. That date will go on your Application for Order.
  • If you filled out an affidavit, swear or affirm the document. You can do this for free at the registry. Bring photo ID with you, such as a BC identity card, driver's licence, or passport.
  • Ask the court clerk if they could make three photocopies of the sworn affidavit and Statement of Finances.
  • File your forms. The registry clerk will stamp the copies, keep the original, and return three sets to you.

You can also file your documents to your registry by email or fax (look up your registry here) or by using Court Services Online. There may be a small fee. The affidavit and Statement of Finances must be signed by hand, in front of a commissioner of oaths. You can then:

  • Scan the documents to a PDF. (You can use a smartphone to do this.)
  • Fill out and attach an Electronic Filing Statement (Form 51).
  • Keep the originals in case the court orders you to file them later on.

If it's not possible or it's medically unsafe to meet with a commissioner, you don't have to swear the affidavit and Statement of Finances. Sign them by hand before filing. The judge will likely have you swear them when you go to court.

If you filed remotely, you will get a court date on the Application for Order that's returned to you. Print out three copies of the filed affidavit and Statement of Finances that the court emails (or faxes) you.

4. Serve your application and supporting documents on BCFMA

You must serve a copy of your application and any other supporting documents on BCFMA. You can mail it to them or contact BCFMA to ask the best way to serve them. A document mailed in a Provincial Court case is considered to be served 14 days after the day you mailed it.

There must be at least seven full days between the day BCFMA is served and your court date. For example, if your hearing is on May 10, BCFMA must be served by May 2.

After you serve BCFMA, fill out the Certificate of Service (Form 7). Attach a copy of your application and any other supporting documents to the completed certificate. Go back to the registry to file it.

You don't have to serve your application on the person you pay support to.

5. Present your application to the judge

Because it's your application, you'll usually present your case (speak) to the judge first about what you want the judge to do, although sometimes the lawyer representing BCFMA may introduce the case. You'll have to convince them that:

  • Someone made a material or substantial error, or you tried to work it out with BCFMA and they were unreasonable.
  • If you don't have a driver's licence, your income will drop, or has already dropped.
  • You'll make regular payments to pay back the arrears, as well as your usual monthly support payments or even a lump sum payment.

You might be able to convince a judge that if they give you back your licence, you'll surrender it (give it up without being asked) if you don't make the payments you've agreed to.

Updated on 14 May 2024