Being summoned to jury duty can wreak havoc with your finances. Because it’s your civic obligation to appear, employers are required by law to give you time off—but they don’t have to pay your salary. Therefore, many don’t. While it varies by province, generally speaking your income will be reduced to $40 or $50 a day, plus some travel expenses. There are, however, several perfectly legal reasons why you may be able to sidestep jury duty.
Courts look for objective, normal people—not self-proclaimed radicals who won’t work within the system. If your proclivity is to let your freak flag fly, you may not be selected.
Vent your problems
Those with a diagnosed mental illness can be exempt. But other medical issues, such as IBS that has you running to the bathroom continually, could also excuse you.
Flash your student card
In most cases, missed work can be made up but not missed lessons or lectures—even if you’re over 18 years of age. In some provinces, even online courses count.
If you care for someone and your absence puts the at risk, you’re not obligated. This could include breastfeeding your baby, or caring for your elderly mother with Alzheimer’s.
Brag about your vacation
If you’ve planned and paid for a vacation which overlaps with jury dates—and have receipts to show the court—you can say bon voyage to your summons.
If you’re getting married and your wedding coincides with jury dates, rest assured your nuptials will be courtroom-free.
No speak English
If you find it difficult to speak and understand English this will be seen as a bad combination if a trial requires understanding several critical scientific and forensic terms.
This was first published online in January 2014