Canadians would rather get poked with a needle and give blood than sit on a jury, according to a recent national study conducted by the Canadian Juries Commission.
The survey found that the only thing Canadians rated worse than jury duty was volunteering at a hospital during the pandemic.
Now, with nearly two million Canadians out of work — and with personal anxieties over health and financial issues mounting — jury duty will become even more unpopular, especially since jury pay remains persistently low and uneven across the country, said the commission’s CEO and founder Mark Farrant.
“I think most people would agree that when somebody receives a summons, the first thing that goes through their head is, ‘How can I get out of my summons and how can I get out of my civic duty?'” Farrant said.
“Jury duty pay can’t be seen as an honorarium or a thank-you anymore. It has to be seen as income replacement and it has to be seen as a catalyst for participation, which we believe it will be.”
Although jury duty might be the last thing on people’s minds right now, summonses will begin roaring back into individuals’ mailboxes soon, as most provinces and territories prepare to resume jury trials this fall.
Farrant has asked provincial and territorial governments to raise jury duty pay to at least the level of the minimum wage, which would amount to $120 per day.
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