General Information about the Jury System in Ontario
The process by which juries are selected is described in the Juries Act. The lists of names are taken
from the most recent enumeration lists that we obtain from the Ontario Property Assessment
Corporation. Names are selected randomly for each county or district and the questionnaires for jury
service are mailed based on that criterion.
The enumeration lists are updated only once every three years and will not reflect changes in
personal circumstances within that time period.
When an enumeration takes place, persons at the households indicate their date of birth and their
citizenship. When the random selection process is requested, the Ontario Property Assessment
Corporation selects persons for each district who have indicated by the returns (enumeration form)
that they are over 18 years of age and are Canadian citizens. Each year the start point of the file is
altered, hence creating the random selection process.
As part of the selection process, questionnaires are mailed out to individuals to determine their ability
to be considered as potential jurors. You are not automatically summoned for jury duty as a result of
receiving and completing a questionnaire. It is also possible to receive a questionnaire each year
after having served on a jury panel.
Taking this process into account, there still remains the possibility a name may appear each year or
every couple of years.
According to the Juries Act, a person is eligible to serve on jury duty once every three years.
There is a process to be followed in order to be excused from serving as a member of a jury in cases
of undue hardship. The process is to write to or appear before the presiding justice, where you were
summoned to, who will then make a determination based on the request before him or her.
If you have been summonsed and want to contact your local court office, you can find a listing of
court addresses at the following site:
Frequently Asked Questions about Jury Duty
Many people have questions about jury duty. We have tried to answer some of the most common
questions. If you require further assistance, please contact the court office at the number shown on
the summons. If you do not have the number and are unsure which local court office to contact, you
can find a listing of court offices at:
Why have I been summoned?
1. Does this summons mean that I am a juror?
No. You will be a member of a “jury panel”, which is a large group of people who are potential jurors.
The jury (or juries) for an upcoming trial(s) will be selected from this panel.
2. Why do I have to serve as a juror?
As a Canadian citizen, it is your civic duty to respond to a jury summons and, if chosen, to serve as a
3. I didn't do anything wrong. Why do I have to go to court?
You are not "going to court", and you are not being punished. This summons is for jury duty. You are
merely being called as a potential juror for a trial.
How do I plan for Jury Duty?
1. How long will I have to be at the courthouse?
While panel members are “on-call” for 2 or 3 weeks, your actual attendance at the courthouse is
normally 3 to 5 consecutive days in Toronto, or 1 to 2 days outside Toronto. Outside Toronto, these
may be either consecutive Mondays or will depend upon the number of trials that require juries that
are scheduled to commence during that “on-call” period.
If you are selected from the panel to sit on a jury, the length of time you may be required to attend will
depend upon the nature of the trial. The presiding justice may advise you of the estimated length of
trial during the jury selection proceedings.
2. How long will the day in court be?
The date and time you are required to come to court is shown on the summons. The court day
usually lasts until 4:00 or 5:00 p.m.
3. Will I have to stay in a hotel overnight?
The only time a jury stays in a hotel is if, at the time of a trial, they have not reached a decision by
late in the evening. Usually, jurors go home at the end of each court day.
4. What do I do if I have small children?
It is your responsibility to make your own child care arrangements. In cases of serious hardship,
contact the court office.
5. Who will pay for my child care?
There is no allowance for child care expenses.
6. Are parking facilities available?
Parking facilities vary from courthouse to courthouse. Therefore, we encourage the use of public
transportation. You are responsible for payment of your own parking fees. In some areas where
public transportation is not available, your local court office may have made parking arrangements to
assist you. If you are unsure as to the local parking arrangements you may contact the local
7. What should I do if I have no means of transportation available?
Check to see if there is public transportation available. If not, contact the court office to discuss.
Will I get paid?
1. Do I get a travel allowance and a fee for jury duty?
A travel expense allowance is paid to panel members who live more than 40 kilometres from the
Once you are selected from the panel to serve on a particular trial, you will receive a travel expense
allowance for each and every day of trial if you live outside the city/town in which the court is located.
Jurors who live in the same city/town as the court are not entitled to this travel allowance.
Also, if you are required to attend for more than 10 days, you will begin to receive a daily fee starting
on the 11th day, regardless of where you live. From days 11-49, the fee is $40.00/day and, in the rare
occasions where you may be required to serve for 50 days or more, this increases to $100.00/day.
2. What do I do about my job?
Employers are required by law to allow employees time off for jury duty. If your absence would cause
serious hardship to your employer, please contact the court office.
3. Does my employer have to pay me during jury duty?
The law does not require employers to pay your salary during jury duty, but some employers have an
arrangement to pay your salary. You should speak with your employer to determine the
arrangements at your place of employment.
4. I am receiving Employment Insurance benefits. Will this affect my benefits?
E.I. legislation allows claimants to attend for jury duty and to continue to receive benefits. Contact
your nearest E.I. Centre for information and confirmation.
What if I have difficulty in attending for jury duty?
1. I have planned and paid for my vacation. What do I do?
If you have conflicting plans, your jury duty may be postponed until a later date. You will be required
to produce proof of your plans to the court office. Contact the court office for more information.
2. What if attending for jury duty at this time would cause me, or others dependent upon me,
If this is a particularly difficult time for you to attend, because of your employment, business,
schooling, or personal circumstances, you can, by a request in writing, ask to have your jury duty
postponed to a later date. These requests should ONLY be made in cases of serious hardship. You
will be notified if a postponement is granted. Please note that a new date for future jury duty will be
arranged. In cases of serious personal hardship, if you wish to request to be excused from jury duty,
you must make your request in writing, with supporting documentation. Your request will be
considered by a Justice.
3. I have a medical problem. What should I do?
If your medical problem would prevent you from serving as a juror, you may be in a position to
request a postponement until another time.
4. I am over 65. Do I still have to attend?
Being over 65 does not disqualify you from attending as a juror. If jury duty would cause you serious
hardship, please contact the court office.
5. My son/daughter received a summons to attend for jury duty and is away at school. What
should I do?
Please return the summons to the address on the summons. Indicate which school he/she is
attending, and when you expect him/her to return. Your son/daughter could possibly be called for jury
duty at a later date.
6. I no longer live in the area; or, I work away from home during the week.
If you no longer live in the county/district/regional municipality/municipality, return your jury summons
to the court office with a letter explaining your situation and indicating your new address. If you reside
in the area, but work and live away from home during the week, you must attend for jury duty.
7. I have a disability. Is the court accessible?
There is a toll-free number you can call to obtain information about accessible court accommodations
across the Province. The number is 1-800-387-4456 (Voice/TDD). This number is to be used ONLY
by persons with disabilities. All other jury inquiries should be made to the telephone number of the
court office shown on the summons. If you have not retained that number on your summons, you can
find a listing of court addresses at the following site: