Overview

A jury is a group of people randomly selected to observe a trial in a court of law. A judge guides a jury through a trial by explaining the law and legal terms. You don’t need to know anything about the law to serve on a jury.

It is the civic duty of all Canadian citizens 18 years of age and older to serve as a juror if selected.

Going to court has changed. Learn more about the health and safety protocols.

If you get a summons for jury duty, complete the pre-screening within seven days of receiving the summons. Your results will tell you what to do next, and if you should complete the check-in tool closer to your summons date.

Take the jury selection pre-screening survey

Jury selection check-in

Contact the location listed on your summons if you have questions.

How the jury process works

  1. Each year, jury questionnaires are mailed to about 700,000 people living in Ontario to determine if they are eligible for jury duty.
  2. People who qualify to serve as jurors may receive a letter in the mail (a summons) asking them to go to an Ontario courthouse or other location to participate in the jury selection process. Being summoned to jury duty does not mean you will be selected to be part of a jury.
  3. If you receive a summons, complete the jury selection pre-screening and jury selection check-in process if it applies to you. You’ll receive more information as you go through the process.
  4. At the location on your summons, people are randomly selected to participate on a jury. You might not be selected. Learn more about the health and safety protocols in place at courts and other locations where jury selection may take place.
  5. If you are selected to be a juror, a judge will provide information about what to do next. If you’re not selected, you might be asked to return the next day to repeat the process.

If you receive a jury questionnaire

The jury questionnaire determines if you qualify for jury duty.

A jury questionnaire is not a summons for jury duty and it does not mean you are on a jury. If you receive a questionnaire in the mail, fill it out and mail it within 30 days of receiving it using the prepaid, self-addressed envelope included. If you lose the envelope, the mailing address is:

Provincial Jury Centre
P.O. Box 666, Station A
Oshawa, Ontario
L1H 9Z9

Do not drop off questionnaires in person. Do not mail anything else with the questionnaire.

To request the questionnaire in an accessible format, you can contact the Provincial Jury Centre at 1-800-498-8016 or by email at juryduty@ontario.ca. Requests are handled on case-by-case basis.

If you can’t complete the questionnaire yourself, you can have someone help you complete the questionnaire and sign it on your behalf. If someone is completing the questionnaire on your behalf, they must write their relationship to you at the bottom of the questionnaire.

If your address has changed

If you have moved and someone forwards you the questionnaire, write your new address at the top of the questionnaire, fill it out and mail it back using the prepaid self-addressed envelope.

Potential jurors are pulled from Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) records. You can update your health card online, or in-person at a ServiceOntario centre.

If you receive a jury questionnaire for someone who no longer lives at your address (for example, they are away at school or moved), please send the questionnaire to that person. If you can’t send the questionnaire to that person, write “moved” on the envelope or on the space next to the address. Return the questionnaire by mail in the original envelope or, if opened, in the prepaid envelope provided.

If the questionnaire recipient has died

We apologize for any distress receiving this document may cause. You don’t need to return a questionnaire sent to a deceased person.

Potential jurors are pulled from Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) records. You can cancel a family member’s health card following their death.

Privacy legislation does not allow us to make any updates on your behalf.

If you have a disability and need accommodation

The jury questionnaire asks if you have a disability that would prevent you from serving as a juror. If you are summoned for jury duty, and you require an accommodation, you will be able to ask the court for one. Every effort will be made to provide accommodation, including:

  • assistive devices
  • sign language interpreters
  • other supports

You will not be required to provide medical documentation with your questionnaire.

If you receive a summons, contact the court office to speak with the jury clerk to request accommodation.

If you have been convicted of a more serious criminal offence

The jury questionnaire asks if you have been convicted of a certain type of criminal offence.

Answer “Yes” if:

Answer “No” if you have:

  • not been convicted of a criminal offence
  • been found guilty of a criminal offence but were granted a discharge or a record suspension (criminal offences do not include violations of provincial statutes, such as traffic law offences, including speeding or parking tickets)
  • been convicted of a “straight” summary offence, including an offence listed below

Criminal Code Offences – Straight Summary Offences

  • Assisting deserter [Canadian Forces] — Section 54
  • Attempting to commit, or being an accessory after the fact to, an offence punishable on summary conviction — Section 463(c)
  • Being found in a common gaming house or betting house, or being an owner, landlord, lessor, tenant, occupier or agent who permits the use of a place as a common gaming house or betting house — Section 201(2)
  • Breaching a prohibition or restitution order with respect to animal ownership — Section 447.1(2)
  • Breeding a cetacean, except for licensed scientific research – Section 445.2(2)(b)
  • Buying, taking or receiving lot, ticket or other device in relation to lotteries and games of chance 206(4)
  • Carrying a weapon while attending a public meeting — Section 89
  • Causing disturbance in public place; indecent exhibition or exposure; loitering; or disturbing peace and quiet of occupants of a dwelling-house — Section 175
  • Communicating with any person for purpose of offering sexual services near or in view of school ground, playground or daycare — Section 213(1.1)
  • Conspiracy to commit offence punishable on summary conviction — Section 465(1)(d)
  • Counselling an offence punishable on summary conviction that is not committed — Section 464(b)
  • Dealing in marked timber or lumbering equipment of another person — Section 339(2)
  • Defacing a current coin — Section 456
  • Disclosure of information relating to jury proceedings — Section 649
  • Disturbing or interrupting assemblage met for religious worship or moral, social or benevolent purpose 176(2),(3)
  • Engaging in prize fight — Section 83
  • Failure to comply with an order directing that a matter not be published — Section 517
  • Failure to comply with an order restricting publication of evidence taken at a preliminary inquiry — Section 539(3)
  • Failure to comply with an order restricting publication of information that could identify victim or witness — Section 672.501(11)
  • Failure to comply with preservation demand made under section 487.012 — Section 487.0197
  • Failure to comply with preservation or production order made under sections 487.013 to 487.018 — Section 487.0198
  • Failure to comply with publication bans — Section 486.6
  • Failure to comply with record keeping requirements associated with automobile master keys — Section 353(4)
  • Failure to comply with subsections 490.02911(1) or (2) – i.e. failure to advise police service of verdict of NCR for an offence committed outside Canada upon entry into Canada or, if already in Canada, to advise police service of a change of address — Section 490.0312
  • Failure to destroy data in accordance with section 487.0194 — Section 487.0199
  • Failure to perform duty to safeguard opening in ice or excavation on land where no death or bodily harm results — Section 263(3)
  • Falsifying an employment record — Section 398
  • Fraudulently obtaining food, beverage or accommodation — Section 364
  • Fraudulently obtaining transportation — Section 393(3)
  • Improper use of bodily substances taken under warrant — Section 487.08(3)
  • Improper use or disclosure of bodily substance or results of test provided under a probation order — Section 732.11(4)
  • Improper use or disclosure of bodily substance or results of test provided under a conditional sentence order — Section 742.31(4)
  • Improper use or disclosure of bodily substance or results of test provided under a recognizance under sections 810 through 810.2 — Section 810.4(4)
  • Interference with boundary lines on land — Section 442
  • Interference with marine signal — Section 439
  • Interference with the saving of wreck — Section 438(2)
  • Knowingly import, export, manufacture, sell instruments or literature for illicit drug use — Section 462.2
  • Make a statement under oath or solemn affirmation by affidavit knowing that statement to be false — Section 134
  • Making, publishing, printing, executing, issuing, distributing or circulating a likeness of a current bank-note or a government or bank obligation or security — Section 457
  • Manufacture, production, sale or possession of slugs and tokens intended to be fraudulently used as substitutes for tokens in a token-operated device — Section 454
  • Member of an unlawful assembly without concealing identity — Section 66(1)
  • Nudity in public place or in public view — Section 174
  • Obtaining carriage by false billing — Section 401
  • Offences by employers with respect to trade unions — Section 425
  • Offences in relation to members of R.C.M.P. — Section 56
  • Operation with low blood drug concentration – 320.14(4)
  • Owning a cetacean that is kept in captivity, except for enumerated purposes, including care, rehabilitation, or licensed scientific research – Section 445.2(2)(a)
  • Participating in an unlawful lottery scheme — Section 207(3)(b)
  • Participating in an unlawful lottery scheme on an international cruise ship — Section 207.1(3)(b)
  • Possessing reproductive materials of cetaceans, except for licensed scientific research – Section 445.2(2)(c)
  • Promoting or assisting in any event in which captive cetaceans are used for unauthorized entertainment – Section 445.2(4)
  • Publication of document pertaining to a “production of a record” application — Section 278.9
  • Publication of document pertaining to hearings held under sections 276.1 and 276.2-276.3
  • Publication of document with information with respect to search warrant without consent of persons referenced in warrant — Section 487.2
  • Publish or broadcast any part of a trial where the jury was not present before jury retires to consider verdict — Section 648
  • Publish or report an admission or confession tendered in evidence at a preliminary inquiry — Section 542(2)
  • Publishing, broadcasting, or transmitting various documents related to a hearing on the admissibility of evidence in a criminal trial - Section 278.95(2)
  • Stopping or impeding traffic for purpose of offering, providing or obtaining sexual services for consideration — Section 213(1)
  • Taking motor vehicle or vessel or being an occupant without consent — Section 335
  • Trespass at night — Section 177
  • Unauthorized use of bodily substance – 320.36(1)
  • Unauthorized use or disclosure of results – 320.36(2)
  • Unlawful use of military uniforms or certificates — Section 419
  • Using or authorizing the use of an application for federal employment that contravenes subsection 672.37(2) by including a section that requires disclosure of NCR material — Section 672.37(3)

If you think you can’t do jury duty

It is your civic duty to serve as a juror but you may not be able to because of:

  • sickness
  • booked travel
  • employment
  • other hardships
  • a move
  • working in certain professions

You may request a deferral (to have your jury service rescheduled to a later date) or an excusal (to be fully excused from jury duty for this year).

Your answers in the jury selection pre-screening survey may allow you to receive a deferral.

To request a deferral or excusal not related to COVID-19, contact the courthouse immediately by email or phone (contact information located at the top left-hand corner of the summons).

Only a judge can grant a deferral or excusal. You may need to provide any available documentation by email that supports your request (for example, receipts for booked travel, or a driver’s license, utility bills, or a purchase or lease agreement with a new address).

The judge may:

  • excuse you
  • ask you to participate at a later date
  • require you to go to jury duty

Professions that can’t do jury duty

You can’t do jury duty if you are employed as or licensed as a:

  • medical practitioner, coroner or veterinary surgeon who is actively engaged in practice
  • police officer
  • firefighter regularly employed by a fire department
  • superintendent, jailer or keeper of a prison, correctional institution or lockup
  • warden of a penitentiary
  • sheriff or a sheriff’s officer
  • armed forces personnel of the regular and special forces and members of the reserve forces on active service
  • lawyer (barrister or solicitor) or student-at-law
  • officer of a court of justice
  • judge or a justice of the peace
  • member of the Privy Council of Canada, the Executive Council of Ontario, the Senate, the House of Commons or the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

If you are employed in one of the above professions, you are still required to fill out the questionnaire and return it.

Being summoned for jury duty (pre-screening and checking in)

If you complete the juror questionnaire and are eligible for jury duty, you may receive a summons in the mail up to three years after completing the questionnaire.

If you receive a summons, complete the jury selection pre-screening within seven days of receiving your summons. You will get more instructions after completing the screening.

If your next step is to check-in for jury selection, you must check-in within three business days of your summons date. To check-in by phone, call the courthouse on your summons.

If you do not check-in, you are still legally required to attend at the time and place on your summons. Contact the location listed on your summons if you have questions.

The location, date and time on your summons may change. If there is a change, you will be notified during the check-in process or by the court.

The location on your summons may be a courthouse or another location. Some non-courthouse locations are being used to ensure health and safety measures can be properly followed. Learn more about the health and safety protocols in place at courts and other locations where jury selection takes place.

Being summoned to jury duty does not mean you are a juror. People summoned to jury duty are part of what’s called a jury panel and may or may not be selected to be part of a jury. If you are summoned to jury duty, it’s important to know that:

  • you should bring your summons and government-issued identification with you (your health card is not considered government-issued identification)
  • jury panel members go home at the end of each day
  • people going to jury duty are required to attend as a jury panel member for a minimum of one day or up to a maximum of one week
  • your employer is required by law to give you time off for jury duty (employers are not legally required to pay employees when they’re on jury duty)

If you have questions, contact your local court office using the information provided on your summons.

Travel expenses

If you are summoned to jury duty and you live more than 40 kilometres from the courthouse, you are:

  • eligible to receive a travel allowance (please refer to the bottom right section of your summons for instructions about how to ask for a travel allowance)
  • responsible for paying your own parking fees

If you are selected to serve as a juror, a travel allowance is payable:

  • if you do not live in the same city or town as the courthouse where the trial is being held
  • once jury duty begins

How juries are selected

People summoned to jury duty meet at the location, date and time on their summons or what was confirmed during the jury selection check-in process. At the location, each potential juror is given a number that appears on a ballot card. Court staff randomly select ballot cards.

Going to court has changed. Learn more about the health and safety protocols in place at court locations in Ontario.

If you are selected, you’ll be provided with instructions about what to do next.

If you’re not selected

People who are not selected may be asked to return the next day.

Whether you are selected or not, you aren’t eligible for jury duty for the next three years. However, you may receive another jury questionnaire. If you receive a jury questionnaire within three years of your service, you still need to complete and return it.

Serving as a juror

If you are selected to serve on a jury:

  • a judge will provide instruction about what to do next
  • trials may begin on the same day the jury is selected and last between a couple of days and a few weeks
  • you will be told the estimated length of the trial
  • you will likely go home each day by about 4:30 p.m. or earlier
  • you would only stay in a hotel (expenses paid for you) if deliberations have begun but the jury has not reached a decision by late in the evening

Jurors must adhere to some restrictions to help ensure a fair trial. Instructions will be provided to jurors. For example, jurors are not allowed to:

  • have any transmitting or receiving devices, such as a cell phone, laptop or tablet
  • post information relating to the trial on social media
  • read or watch the news related to the trial

Payment and time off work

Employers are required by law to give employees time off for jury duty and for people selected to serve as a juror. The law does not require employers to pay an employee’s salary during this time.

Jurors receive the following payment for serving on a jury:

  • From day one to ten: No fee.
  • From day 11 to 49: $40 per day.
  • From day 50 to the last day of trial: $100 per day. Trials of this length are rare.

If you’re serving as a juror and the trial lasts longer than 10 days, the court where the trial is taking place will arrange payment.

There is no allowance for childcare expenses or parking.

If you are on Employment Insurance benefits (E.I.), you can attend jury duty and continue to receive benefits.

Free counselling for jurors

Jury duty can be a rewarding experience, but in some cases, it can also be stressful. Talking to a qualified counsellor can help ease stress after a trial or inquest.

Ontario offers free counselling to jurors. The Juror Support Program is confidential and available to jurors after they complete jury duty on a criminal trial, a civil trial or a Coroner’s inquest.

You can speak with a qualified and experienced counsellor, toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling:

When calling, you need to provide the:

  • location of the court where your jury trial or inquest took place
  • start and end date of the trial/inquest
  • name of the case or inquest

Jurors are provided up to four one-hour counselling sessions. They can choose to receive counselling services over the phone, in-person, via email or videoconference and in English or French. Disability accommodation is available.

Video about jury duty

The following video will help you understand the role of the juror and what to expect if you’re selected to be a juror:

Contact us

If you need help filling out a jury questionnaire, please call (toll-free) 1-800-387-0856 for recorded instructions on how to complete the questionnaire. If you lost the prepaid, self-addressed envelope or have further questions, you can also contact the Provincial Jury Centre at juryduty@ontario.ca or by phone at 1-800-498-8016.

Updated: September 03, 2021
Published: July 29, 2019