March 20, 2018 1:40 pm

Global News awarded honourable mention from prestigious Canadian Hillman Prize

Global News has obtained an explosive leaked document that says Ontario government engineers, concerned about industrial leaks, are being muzzled. Carolyn Jarvis reports.

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Global News has been given an honourable mention from the Canadian Hillman Prize for its partnership in The Price of Oil investigative series.

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The unprecedented collaborative investigation, which continues today, exposed the staggering health and safety consequences of Canada’s oil and gas industry, and a startling lack of accountability from the companies and governments responsible for public safety.

READ MORE: Is Saskatchewan ignoring the potentially deadly gas from oil wells?

It is the largest project of its kind in Canadian history, bringing together more than 50 journalists, editors, students and teachers from four journalism schools (Regina, Ryerson, UBC, Concordia), three media outlets (Global News, Toronto Star, National Observer) and a think tank.

READ MORE: ‘We expected cancer’: Are industrial spills in Canada’s ‘Chemical Valley’ making people sick?

After two and half years of exhaustive research, the body of work rolled out in a series of print, online and TV stories, including a 30-minute documentary on Global News, Canada’s Toxic Secret.

WATCH: Canada’s Toxic Secret: A troubling trend of leaks and spills in the Sarnia area

“This was a complex investigation that gave voice to marginalized Canadians whose lives and well-being were at risk from dangerous toxins in their environment,” said Ron Waksman, vice-president of news content for Global News and Corus Radio.

“It took the collaborative effort of multiple news outlets, journalism schools, victims and their families to create compelling storytelling that left those in power no choice but to be accountable and take action. We’ve proven that despite our competitive nature we can pool our efforts to report important stories that would be difficult for any one organization to master by itself.”

In Ontario, two years’ of documents detailing industrial spills and leaks in Sarnia’s “Chemical Valley” revealed several incidents exposed the public to dangerous chemicals, including cancer-causing toxins. Residents were never warned.

Forty-eight hours after this explosive chapter of The Price of Oil was brought to light, the Ontario government announced it would fund a study examining the health impacts of industrial pollution in the region — a study the community had been requesting for 10 years.

Two weeks after that, the Ontario government introduced new regulations for sulphur dioxide – the first in 43 years.

Shortly afterwards, the Ontario government announced that after an eight-year delay, it would regulate the cumulative effects of air pollution in Chemical Valley.

READ MORE: Ontario government ignored public safety concerns in ‘Chemical Valley,’ ‘muzzled’ engineers: document

In Saskatchewan, The Price of Oil constructed a timeline of oilpatch leaks and spills — zeroing in on a toxic and sometimes fatal gas called hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The findings revealed a disturbing trend of regulatory infractions, botched safety audits, mysteriously unreported incidents, ignored safety protocols, and leaks resulting in serious injury or illness for both workers and unsuspecting members of the public in the southeastern part of the province.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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