See the full CCJA brief on Bill S-212 in PDF format linked here: CCJA Brief on Bill S-212
See The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada’s response to the brief below:
Dear Ms. Ungar:
Thank you for your correspondence, sent on behalf of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, concerning Bill S‑212, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors).
I believe that juries are a vital component of our criminal justice system, and I am always interested in hearing the views expressed by stakeholders on this topic. I would like to thank you for the information you provided on Bill S‑212 and the jury secrecy rule. Please be assured that I have shared your correspondence with the appropriate departmental officials.
I note your recommendation that the federal government ensure adequate funding for juror support services. The provision of support measures for jurors falls primarily under provincial and territorial responsibility. Several provinces and territories have established psychological support programs for jurors, which allow jurors to access a certain number of free counselling sessions. Furthermore, the provinces and territories are responsible for providing compensation and other benefits to jurors, such as an allowance for child care or travel costs. Given that matters relating to juries are an area of shared jurisdiction, you may wish to write to the provinces and territories.
With respect to funding within federal responsibility, the Department of Justice Canada has provided funding through the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program to the National Judicial Institute (NJI) to design and deliver a learning module for judges on jury well‑being, which is to be integrated with court‑requested seminars. Additionally, the NJI prepared online resources in the form of videos and audio‑casts with a checklist for judges. The aim was to provide judges with the skills and tools to assist jurors, both during and at the end of jury trials, with the residual effects of hearing and viewing evidence and dealing with the stress of making difficult decisions that involve both witnesses and the accused.
I also note your recommendation to amend Bill S‑212’s proposed subsection 649(3) of the Criminal Code to add a definition of health care professional that includes “any mental health service provider who is under a legal, professional, or cultural obligation to maintain confidentiality with respect to information disclosed during the provision of health services”. The current proposed definition of a health care professional included in the Bill reflects an amendment adopted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights during its study of former Bill C‑417, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors).
While Bill S‑212 is not a government‑led bill, I can assure you that, as with any legislation that proposes to amend a federal Act for which I am responsible, I will follow the Bill closely as it makes its way through Parliament.
Please be assured that the federal government continues to work closely with the provinces and territories to find ways to improve the criminal justice system, including with respect to jury‑related issues.
Thank you again for writing.
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada