POLITICS

The Canadian Press among Michener nominees for public service journalism

04/29/2015 12:33 EDT | Updated 08/04/2015 09:59 EDT
OTTAWA - The Canadian Press is one of six finalists nominated for the 2014 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism.

Other finalists announced Wednesday by the Michener Awards Foundation are the CBC, CBC North, The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun and L'actualite.

The Canadian Press is nominated for a series examining the Fair Elections Act, which was introduced by the Conservative government to address problems that surfaced after the 2011 election.

Through its coverage, The Canadian Press exposed government manipulation of expert evidence and highlighted how the new bill gave the Conservative government an advantage at the expense of its opponents.

As a result, amendments were made to the act to remove some of the Conservative government's attempts to manipulate the new voting system to its advantage.

The CBC is nominated for its reporting on the temporary foreign workers program, which it revealed had become an easy way for employers to find foreign workers to fill low-skilled minimum wage jobs.

The stories drew widespread criticism of the program, which was shown to be full of abuses, and forced the federal government to make changes.

CBC North secured a spot among the finalists for its reporting on the death of an infant in the remote Nunavut hamlet of Cape Dorset, which it used to highlight the specific health-care challenges facing Canada's northern communities.

Its stories, broadcast and published in both Inuktitut and English, revealed that a nurse who provided care for the child was kept on the job despite being the subject of numerous official complaints and having conditions placed on her nursing licence. The reporting prompted the Nunavut government to launch an independent review of the case.

The Globe and Mail is nominated for its series chronicling the legacy of the drug thalidomide, giving its victims and their families a national voice.

The reporting drew a public and political response, leading the government to announce that survivors would receive a lump sum payment of $125,000 and the creation of a $168-million fund to cover ongoing medical assistance.

The Vancouver Sun is recognized for its "From Care to Where" series which documented the plight of foster children when they turn 19 and leave the care of the province of British Columbia.

The two-month investigation found homelessness, unemployment, jail drug abuse and poverty were among the outcomes of "aging out." The reporting motivated various community groups to take action, triggered tuition waivers at eight universities and colleges and initiated a provincial trust fund for post-secondary education for foster children past 19.

L'actualite is nominated for an eight-month investigation that unveiled a broken chain of command when it came to how the military handles complaints of sexual assault and harassment. The reporting revealed that a culture of inhibition resulted in fewer than one in 10 soldiers reporting incidents.

The series caused the chief of defence to announce an independent investigation, and one victim who had been discharged after complaining received an apology and was reinstated.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston will host the Michener Awards ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 18 to announce the winner.

The Michener Award was founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener and honours excellence in public-service journalism.