Attorney General Visits Hamilton to Announce New Program Providing Accessible and Confidential Supports
The Honourable Attorney General Mr. Yasir Naqvi, and former juror and advocate for juror support Mark Farrant, visited the Hamilton Law Association on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 to announce that Ontario is supporting jurors by providing easier access to experienced and qualified counsellors.
The Juror Support Program is available to help Ontarians who have served as jurors at the end of a trial or a coroner's inquest, if and when they need it.
Jury duty is an important civic responsibility and can be a rewarding experience. However, sometimes it can be very difficult and stressful for jurors. The evidence and the testimony some jurors have to consider can be graphic and deal with very traumatic and violent crimes. In some cases, individuals have to take time away from their jobs, their families and their everyday lives. Talking to a qualified counsellor can help jurors after a trial or inquest.
There are no out-of-pocket expenses for jurors, and the program is completely confidential. Jurors can choose to receive counselling in-person, over the phone, by email or videoconference in English or French. They will also receive disability accommodation.
Supporting jurors to perform their civic duty and making counselling more easily accessible for those who need it is part of the government's plan to help people in their everyday lives.
" The role that jurors play in our justice system is incredibly important. While being a juror can often be a rewarding and positive experience, we know that some trials can be traumatic and very difficult. We need to make sure that jurors have access to the right supports if they need help. Ontario’s new Juror Support Program will offer free counselling to all jurors who want it so they can get the help and support they need, when they need it."
- Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General
" In 2014 I was called to perform an important civic service as a juror in a complicated, and horrific first degree murder trial. I am proud of that role and the other jurors who delivered justice under the law. But that trial had a lasting effect on me, and to this day my family and I continue to struggle with the impacts. I'm extremely grateful that the province has acknowledged the gap that has existed for jurors post-trial, and has today put supports in place to aid them where necessary."
- Mark Farrant, Former Juror
- Jurors who have completed jury service can call 1-844-JUROR-ON (1-844-587-6766) to find out how to access the program.
- At any time during a trial or inquest, a juror can request counselling supports by making their concerns known to the judge or coroner.
- Before the Juror Support Program was established, the province covered the costs of counselling services to jurors by order of a judge.
- When requesting counselling, jurors will need to provide the location of the court where their jury trial or inquest took place, the start and end date of the trial/inquest and the name of the case or inquest.
- Participants will initially receive up to four one-hour counselling sessions. Jurors who feel they need additional counselling may be provided with up to four more sessions free of charge.