Former Supreme Court Justice and Ontario's Independent Reviewer, the
Hon. Frank Iacobucci, Issues Report on Improving First Nations'
Representation on Ontario Juries
THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Frank Iacobucci,
former Supreme Court Justice and Independent Reviewer, today released his report on First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries. The report finds that the justice system and juries process are in a
state of crisis for Ontario's First Nations peoples, particularly those
living in the North, and identifies 17 recommendations to improve the
representation of First Nations individuals on juries and enhance their
perception of the jury system.
"For Ontario's First Nations peoples, particularly in the North, the
justice system and juries process generally are in a crisis," said the
Hon. Frank Iacobucci. "As a result of our face-to-face meetings with
leaders and community members from 32 First Nations from across
Ontario, we developed 17 recommendations that will help ensure that the
cultural values, laws, and ideologies of First Nations' are better
reflected in the Canadian justice system."
The Attorney General of Ontario appointed the Hon. Frank Iacobucci in
August 2011 to examine, report, and offer recommendations regarding the
process for inclusion of First Nation peoples living in reserve
communities on the provincial jury roll.
Key recommendations made by the Independent Reviewer include:
Establishing an Implementation Committee with First Nations membership,
government officials and individuals (including a youth Aboriginal
member) who would be responsible for the implementation of the report.
Establishing a First Nation Advisory Group to the Attorney General on
matters relating to First Nations peoples and the justice system.
Providing cultural training for all government officials working in the
justice system who have contact with First Nations peoples (e.g.
police, court workers, Crown prosecutors, prison guards and other
Determining promptly and urgently the feasibility and suitability of
using existing government databases or other suitable sources (e.g.
band residency information, Ministry of Transportation information,
OHIP roles, and other records) to generate a database of First Nations
individuals living on reserve for the purposes of compiling the jury
Amending the questionnaire sent to prospective jurors so that it is more
appropriate for First Nations communities.
Considering a procedure whereby First Nations people on reserve could
volunteer for jury service as a means of supplementing other jury
Creating an Assistant Deputy Attorney General position responsible for
Aboriginal issues, including the implementation of this report.
The full list of 17 recommendations is available on the web site of the
Independent Reviewer at www.firstnationsandjuriesreview.ca.
"Implementing the recommendations to improve Ontario's juries and
justice system will, I believe, make great strides in improving the
access and participation of First Nation peoples in Ontario's justice
system," added the Hon. Frank Iacobucci. "The policy changes
recommended in this report are based on what we heard from the First
Nations communities on the ground, and are straightforward, and largely
without significant costs. These are changes that can make a difference
to our juries and justice system - I look forward to their
The Independent Reviewer met with the leadership and peoples from 32
Ontario First Nations, and four First Nation organizations between
November 2011 and May 2012, mostly within their communities. Through
this engagement, the Independent Reviewer found that many First Nations
peoples are reluctant to participate in the jury system for several
The conflict that exists between First Nations' cultural values, laws,
and ideologies regarding traditional approaches to conflict resolution,
and the values and laws that underpin the Canadian justice system.
The systemic discrimination that either they or their families have
experienced within the justice system in relation to criminal justice
or child welfare.
What First Nations peoples see as a lack knowledge and awareness of the
justice system generally, and the jury system in particular.
The desire to assume more control of community justice matters as an
element of what they strongly believe is their inherent right to
self-government, and at the very least be involved in developing
solutions to the jury representation issue.
Inadequate police services and associated funding which contributes to
negative perceptions of the criminal justice system.
About the Independent Reviewer
The Independent Reviewer and Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice, The
Honourable Frank Iacobucci, was appointed on August 11, 2011 by the
Attorney General of Ontario to examine, report, and offer
recommendations regarding the process for inclusion of First Nation
peoples living in reserve communities on the provincial jury roll from
which potential jurors are selected for all jury trials and coroners'
inquests. For more information about the Independent Reviewer,
including the full report in English and French and print and audio
executive summaries translated into Cree, Oji-Cree, Ojibway and Mohawk,
please visit: www.firstnationsandjuriesreview.ca.
For Broadcast Use
Former Supreme Court Justice, the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, today issued an independent
report on First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries, commissioned by Ontario's Attorney General. The Honourable Frank
Iacobucci, in his role as Independent Reviewer, found Ontario's justice
system and jury process "in a state of crisis for First Nations
peoples." He identifies 17 recommendations to improve First Nations
representation on Ontario juries and enhance their perception of the
jury system. In preparing the report, the former Supreme Court Justice met face-to-face with the leadership and peoples from 32 First
Nations from across Ontario. The report summary is available in
English, French, and audio and print versions in Cree, Oji-Cree,
Ojibway and Mohawk at www.firstnationsandjuriesreview.ca.
SOURCE: Bluesky Strategy Group Inc.
For further information:
For more information or to schedule an interview with the Independent Reviewer, please contact:
Bluesky Strategy Group