A scathing report out of Ontario says Aboriginal people are seriously under represented in jury trials and this is having detrimental effects on how justice is administered.
The report written by former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci makes a number of recommendations on how Indigenous representation in the administration of justice can be improved.
University of Saskatchewan law professor Glen Luther says similar problems exist in Saskatchewan simply because many people First Nations people are ruled out when juries are selected.
“My understanding is that in Saskatchewan we use the health care records, or health care cards I think, as the source for the jury pools,” he says. “And the immediate concern that raises for me is whether particularly First Nations people, status Indians, would have a health care card and I don’t think they would.”
The Iacobucci report recommends Ontario launch a drive to better educate First Nations people on the justice system in their own language and potential jurors not be excluded from jury duty if they have been convicted of minor offences.