Getting your driver's licence back if FMEP takes it away

If you're in arrears with your support payments, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) might tell ICBC to cancel your existing licence or not to issue you a new licence.

But you can get your licence back.

When can FMEP take away your driver's licence?

The law says FMEP 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.

FMEP will try to contact you to:

  • let you know they're going to do this, and
  • give you a chance to sort out your arrears.

See their Driver's licence cancellation fact sheet for more about this. (If you're using Safari, try using another web browser.)

How can you get your licence back?

If you want to get your licence back, you have to call your FMEP 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 FMEP 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. FMEP will need proof of your income and expenses.

If FMEP 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 ignore FMEP'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 FMEP

You have to serve a copy of your application and any other supporting documents on FMEP. You can mail it to them, or contact FMEP 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 have to be at least seven full days between the day FMEP is served and your court date. For example, if your hearing is on May 10, FMEP has to be served by May 2.

After you serve FMEP, 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 FMEP 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 FMEP 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.