FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, November 25, 2021 – Conservative MP Michael Cooper (St. Albert-Edmonton) is the House of Commons sponsor of Bill S-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors), which was introduced yesterday by Conservative Senator Pierre Boisvenu. In 2018, MP Cooper introduced similar legislation, Bill C-417, which passed unanimously at all legislative stages in the House of Commons but did not pass in the Senate due to the call of the 2019 election.
The Bill carves out a narrow exception to the jury secrecy rule under section 649 Criminal Code that will allow former jurors suffering from mental health issues to disclose all aspects of their jury service with a medical professional bound by confidentiality. Currently, jurors are prohibited from disclosing any aspect of the deliberation process with anyone, even a medical professional. The Bill will implement a key recommendation of the 2018 all-party unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights: Improving Support for Jurors in Canada.
MP Cooper spoke at a press conference earlier today with Senator Boisvenu, Independent Senator Lucie Moncion, as well as former jurors Mark Farrant and Tina Daenzer about the need for the speedy passage of this legislation.
MP Cooper issued the following statement:
“Jury service, the last mandatory form of civic duty in Canada, can have a significant impact on one’s well-being and mental health, particularly in difficult trials.”
“It is unacceptable that former jurors suffering from mental health issues cannot get the help that they need, because it is a Criminal Code offence to talk about what is often the most stressful aspect of jury service, the deliberation process. This Bill changes that while maintaining the integrity of the jury secrecy rule.”
“This Bill is a no brainer. The time to study this Bill is over. It is time to get it passed. Jurors deserve no