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New bill allows Canadian jurors to disclose trial info to mental health providers

Click to play video: 'Canadian senator, MP push for fast passage of bill to give jurors mental health support'
Canadian senator, MP push for fast passage of bill to give jurors mental health support
Quebec Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu and Alberta MP Michael Cooper spoke on Thursday about the senator's bill that would amend the Criminal Code to allow for jurors to be able to discuss aspects of jury deliberations with a licensed mental-health professional. Currently, doing so could be considered illegal due to the "jury secrecy" law, but Boisvenu said they need to protect jurors' health because of their importance to the justice system – Nov 25, 2021

Parliament has passed a new law that allows jurors to disclose information about jury proceedings to health care professionals.

The bill creates a carve-out in Canada’s strict jury secrecy rules by allowing people to seek mental health support related to their trial experience without breaking the law.

Read more: Ottawa must fill ‘vital’ victims of crime watchdog role, senator urges

The Criminal Code will be amended so that jurors can disclose information about a trial to health care professionals who are providing medical or psychiatric treatment, therapy or counselling.

Members of Parliament unanimously passed the bill this afternoon, and it will come into force 90 days after the Governor General signs it into law.

Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a longtime victims’ rights advocate, introduced the bill in the Senate last November and senators passed it within two weeks.

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Tory MP Michael Cooper, the bill’s sponsor in the House, said earlier this year that the bill would go a long way toward supporting juror mental health.

 

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