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JUST Committee News Release

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Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Comité permanent de la justice et des droits de la personne

For immediate release


NEWS RELEASE


Justice Committee Presents a Unanimous Report on Improving Support for Jurors in Canada

Ottawa, May 22, 2018 -

Today, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights presented a unanimous report calling on the federal government to work in collaboration with provinces and territories to improve jurors’ experience with the justice system.

Entitled Improving Support for Jurors in Canada, the report is intended to provide jurors with the right conditions to mitigate stress arising from jury service and to ensure that former jurors have access to psychological support services after their duty has ended.

The report is based on consultations with former jurors, experts and stakeholders from across the country, as well as on the experience of jurisdictions where reforms have been implemented. Over the course of eight meetings held in Ottawa between November 22nd, 2017 and February 8th, 2018, the Committee heard the testimony of numerous witnesses and reviewed many briefs.

In its report, the Committee recognizes the critical role jurors play in our justice system and concludes that multiple improvements can be made by provincial, territorial and federal governments to better support jurors. No one should suffer psychologically or financially from performing this civic duty.

The report contains 11 recommendations to the federal government and the Minister of Justice, which include encouraging provinces and territories to offer psychological support programs to jurors after their jury service has ended and a daily allowance of at least $120 for their service for the duration of the legal proceedings.

The Committee also recommends amending the secrecy rule provision of the Criminal Code to allow former jurors to discuss jury deliberations with mental health professionals once the trial is over. It further recommends that the federal government provide funding to the provinces and territories to cover some of the costs resulting from the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations.

Quotes:

“I’m proud of the work accomplished by our Committee which once again worked constructively to improve support for jurors in Canada, a role that is an essential component of our justice system. We believe that improving juror satisfaction throughout the process may encourage more citizens to participate on juries and increase overall confidence in our justice system.”

- Mr. Anthony Housefather, Chair of the Committee

“Jurors serve an important civic duty for our country and our justice system. Jurors deserve to be paid for their time, effort, and sacrifices and it is important they have access to mental health counselling services should they need it. I am proud of our Committee’s work and recommendations on this important study, the first of its kind.”

- Hon. Rob Nicholson, Vice-Chair of the Committee

“In 2016, I was approached by some former jurors who were suffering serious emotional trauma after serving on a jury. I’m delighted that our all-party committee has undertaken this comprehensive study. We have unanimously recommended additional financial support, improved conditions at the courthouse, and post-trial counselling for those who need help. Jurors are a vital part of our justice system and it is our responsibility to ensure they don’t suffer emotional or financial hardship just by fulfilling their civic duty.”

- Mr. Murray Rankin, Vice-Chair of the Committee

A copy of the report may be obtained from the Committee’s website.

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For more information, please contact:
Julie Geoffrion, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
Tel: 613-996-1553
E-mail: JUST@parl.gc.ca