Bill 207 2011
An Act to provide for grand juries in Ontario
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
Convening of grand jury
1. (1) In every county or district, a judge of the Superior Court of Justice shall, on the first Monday in November in each year, or as soon thereafter as is practicable, convene in open court a grand jury composed of seven persons selected from the jury roll prepared under the Juries Act for the county or district and for this purpose the sheriff shall provide the jury.
(2) A grand jury shall serve for a period of one year after it is convened.
Application of Juries Act
(3) The Juries Act applies to the selection, recording, summoning, attendance and service of the persons for service on a grand jury in the same manner as to the selection, recording, summoning, attendance and service of persons for service on a panel of jurors selected for sittings of a court.
Service counts as jury service
(4) Participation as a member of a grand jury is deemed to be jury service for the purpose of subsection 3 (4) of the Juries Act.
(5) The grand jury shall appoint one of its members to be the chair of the jury.
Duty of judge
(6) The judge shall instruct the grand jury in its duties and powers.
Excusing from duty
(7) The judge may excuse any person summoned to serve on a grand jury from attending on grounds of illness or hardship.
Exclusion for interest
(8) The judge may exclude any person summoned to serve on the grand jury or excuse a jury member from participating in any review where the judge believes that the duty of the person under this Act is or may be in conflict with another interest of the person.
2. If, after the grand jury is convened, any person on the jury dies or becomes incapacitated from any cause or is excluded or excused from serving by the judge under subsection 1 (7) or (8), a judge of the Superior Court of Justice may authorize the remainder of the jury to proceed with its duties under this Act.
Review of institutions
3. (1) The grand jury may review the activities in the county or district of any of the following institutions:
1. An institution as defined in subsection 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
2. An institution as defined in subsection 2 (1) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
3. A hospital.
(2) A grand jury may consult the public about which institutions the jury will review.
(3) Paragraph 3 of subsection (1) is repealed on January 1, 2012.
Process of review
Grand jury to determine its own procedures
4. (1) Subject to any requirements or restrictions set out in this Act or the regulations, the grand jury may determine its own procedures in respect of a review of an institution.
(2) A grand jury may hold hearings for the purpose of carrying out its duties.
Power of entry
(3) Subject to any agreement between the chair and the institution, the grand jury may, after a request for entry by the chair, enter any premises of an institution in the county or district the jury is entitled to inspect under subsection 3 (1) at any time during business hours and may inspect all parts of the premises.
(4) The grand jury or any jury member may make inquiries of any person who is an employee of the institution concerning any matter respecting the institution's activities.
Responses to inquiries
(5) A person who receives an inquiry under subsection (4) shall respond to the grand jury or the jury member within a reasonable time.
(6) A grand jury may appoint one or more persons having technical or special knowledge of any kind to assist the jury for a limited period of time or in respect of a particular matter.
Access to records
5. (1) A grand jury has a right of access to a record or a part of a record in the custody or under the control of an institution unless,
(a) the record or part of the record falls within an exemption under sections 12 to 22 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; or
(b) the record or part of the record falls within an exemption under sections 6 to 15 of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Copy of record
(2) A grand jury that is given access to a record or a part of a record shall be given a copy of it, unless its reproduction would not be reasonably practicable due to its length or nature, in which case the jury shall be given an opportunity to examine the record or part of the record.
(3) In this section,
"record" has the same meaning as in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Grand jury to prepare report
6. (1) Every grand jury that reviews an institution's activities shall prepare a report in respect of its review. The report may include any recommendations that the jury considers appropriate.
Delivery of report
(2) The grand jury shall submit its report to a judge of the Superior Court of Justice sitting in open court.
Filing of report
(3) The report submitted to the judge shall be filed with the local registrar of the Superior Court of Justice as a public document and shall be available for public inspection.
Tabling report in Assembly
7. The grand jury shall deliver the report to the Speaker of the Assembly, who shall lay the report before the Assembly at the earliest reasonable opportunity.
8. Any person who wilfully obstructs a review by a grand jury or any member of the jury under this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both.
9. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,
(a) governing the procedures of grand juries; and
(b) prescribing the fees and allowances payable to members of grand juries and providing for reimbursement for expenses.
10. This Act comes into force one year after the day it receives Royal Assent.
11. The short title of this Act is the Grand Juries Act, 2011.
The Bill enacts the Grand Juries Act, 2011. Here are some highlights of the Act.
Judges of the Superior Court of Justice are required to convene grand juries in every county and district. Grand juries serve one-year terms.
The seven members of each grand jury are selected from the jury roll in accordance with the Juries Act. Members may be excused from jury duty on grounds of illness and hardship. Members may also be excluded from jury duty if their service would or could present a conflict of interest.
Grand juries may review the activities of public institutions specified in subsection 3 (1) of the Act. A review is limited to activities within a grand jury's county or district. Grand juries may solicit suggestions from the public about which institutions to review.
Grand juries may enter the premises of institutions and may make inquiries of the institution's employees. Grand juries may appoint experts for assistance.
Grand juries have the right of access to records that are in an institution's custody and care, unless the record falls within an exemption under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Grand juries are required to prepare reports in respect of their reviews. Reports must be filed as public documents and be made available for public inspection. Reports must also be tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
It is an offence to obstruct a review by a grand jury or any member of a grand jury. Penalties are specified in section 8 of the Act.