General Information about the Jury System in Ontario

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The Jury Roll Process

The Juries Act sets out the process to select juries. Names of potential jurors are taken from the most recent enumeration (voters) lists that the Ministry obtains from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

The enumeration (voters) lists are updated only once every four years and do not reflect changes within that time period, such as deaths, name changes, marriages or if someone moves to another community, unless information is provided directly by the people living at that address.

When the enumeration (voters) lists are updated, people indicate their date of birth and their citizenship. When the random selection process for potential jurors is requested, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation selects people for each county or district who have indicated that they are over 18 years of age and are Canadian citizens.

Questionnaires are mailed out to the randomly selected individuals to determine whether they may be considered as potential jurors. People are not automatically summoned for jury duty if they receive and complete a questionnaire.

Establishing a Jury Panel

Completed Questionnaires are received and sorted for eligibility for jury service. Jury Panels are selected based on local court needs. The Provincial Jury Centre, in Toronto, using a computer-based random selection process, selects jury panels on a weekly basis from the jury rolls as required by the courts. The jury panel is not a jury. Rather, it is a large group of people from whom one or more juries will be selected.

To verify the Questionnaire information, the Sheriff conducts criminal record checks, through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), on individuals randomly selected from the Jury Panel list.

Summonses, indicating a date and location to attend for jury service, are sent to individuals identified on the jury panel lists.

Jury Selection

Jury panel members go for jury selection to the court location identified on their summons.

If selected to serve on a jury, those jurors go to the court location on the date and time specified by the judge.

It is possible to receive a questionnaire each year even though you have previously served on a jury panel.

According to the Juries Act, however, whether selected for jury duty or dismissed, individuals on the panel list are ineligible for jury service for the next three years following their service.

Annual Jury Process

Jury Roll Process

May

Determine Number of Jurors Required

The Provincial Jury Centre, in Toronto, requests each of the courts to calculate the number of jurors required for the upcoming year

Names are selected randomly for each court from municipal enumeration (voters) lists

September

Questionnaire About Qualification for Jury Service

Questionnaires about qualification for jury service together with accompanying instruction sheet, Minister’s letter and prepaid reply envelope are mailed to individuals randomly selected from the enumeration (voters) lists

Public completes the Questionnaire and returns by mail in prepaid reply envelope

Two toll-free lines are set up to answer questions from the public completing the questionnaire (one live line direct to the Provincial Jury Centre; one automated text version, a recording of instructions on how to complete the questionnaire)

December

Certification of Jury Roll

Replies are received and sorted for eligibility for jury service

Jury roll is certified based on number of eligible return Questionnaires

Jury Panel Process

Following Year
(Jan – Dec)

Establishing Jury Panel

Jury panels are selected based on local court needs

The Provincial Jury Centre, using a computer-based random selection process, selects jury panels on a weekly basis from the jury rolls as required by the courts

To verify Questionnaire information, the Sheriff conducts criminal record checks, through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), on individuals randomly selected from the jury panel list.

Summonses, indicating a date and location to attend for jury service, are sent to individuals identified on the jury panel lists

Jury Selection

Jury Panel members go for jury selection to the court location identified on their summons

If selected to serve on a jury, those jurors go to the court location on the date and time specified by the judge

Whether selected for jury duty or dismissed, individuals on the panel list are ineligible for jury service for the next three years following this service

Trial

For information about the Juror Questionnaire

For information about Jury Duty