Understanding Garnishee Orders

Understanding Garnishee Orders: How Much Can They Take?

As we navigate through life, we sometimes find ourselves in financial predicaments that necessitate legal interventions such as garnishee orders. In this article, we are going to delve into the world of garnishee orders, how they are regulated, and most importantly, how much they can take from your income.

What is a Garnishee Order?

A garnishee order is a legal directive issued by a court, allowing a creditor to collect a debt directly from the debtor’s employer or bank account.

The Legal Framework Governing Garnishee Orders

Garnishee orders are regulated by various statutes. In Alberta, the Civil Enforcement Act is the principal law that oversees these orders while other laws like the Income Tax Act and the Maintenance Enforcement Act also play a role.

The Civil Enforcement Act

This act governs garnishee orders for typical consumer debts like credit cards, loans, and lines of credit. The amount that can be garnisheed is based on your actual net earnings — what you’re really earning after deductions.

Other Statutes

Other laws can also regulate garnishee orders depending on the type of debt. For instance, income tax and maintenance debts often fall under different statutes and may allow creditors to garnishee more.

How Much Can Be Garnisheed?

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: how much can be garnisheed from your net pay?

Basic Exemption

Unless a court orders otherwise, you can retain a minimum of $800 net pay for yourself and $200 for each dependent.

Additional Allowance

In addition to the basic exemption, you’re entitled to keep half of the difference between your net pay and the minimum amount. However, this is capped at a maximum of $2,400 net pay for yourself plus $200 per dependent.


For example, if your net pay is $2,500 and you have two dependents, here’s how much you can keep:


Minimum keep: $800 for yourself + $400 for dependents = $1,200

Additional allowance: 1/2 of ($2,500 – $1,200) = $650

Total amount you can keep: $1,200 + $650 = $1,850

Exemptions from Garnishee

Certain types of income are exempt from garnishee. These include social assistance, AISH, and Widow’s Pension. However, regular employment earnings can be garnisheed up to the amounts discussed above.


Garnishee orders can be a tricky subject, and it’s crucial to understand your rights and obligations when dealing with them. Always consult with a financial advisor or legal counsel if you find yourself facing a garnishee order.

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