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 related agencies).
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 roll.
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 source lists.
Creating an Assistant Deputy Attorney General position responsible for Aboriginal issues, including the implementation of this report.
Certain readers might be interested to know the author of the report, Hon. Frank Iacobucci, also is a member of the board for Tim Horton’s.