Global News two-time finalist for top investigative journalism award

Karissa Warkentin pictured with her daughter Karalynn. (Josh Arason/Global News). (Josh Arason/Global News)

Global News has been nominated twice for the 2018 Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism — once for its investigative series Inadmissible and again for its work on the collaborative project, The Price of Oil.

“If your faith in journalism has waned this past year, these finalists will give you hope in the journalists and the media organizations that serve us,” says Wayne Parrish, chair of the CJF awards committee. “Their pieces demonstrate the best in Canadian journalism, using solid and creative reporting skills to hold power to account and give voice to those who have long gone unheard.”

The CJF announced the finalists Thursday. The Jackman Award celebrates Canadian news organizations and journalists whose reporting embodies the highest standards in journalism and who have a positive impact on the communities they serve.

“Getting to the bottom of these complicated stories, getting them right and most importantly, putting a human face on them, requires a tremendous amount of organizational resources,” said Ron Waksman, vice-president of news content for Global News and Corus Radio.

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“Global News proudly supports investigative journalism because of how important it is in holding policymakers accountable, defending our democratic institutions and making Canadians safer.”

Inadmissible: Exposing Canada’s ‘discriminatory’ immigration policy

The Global News series Inadmissible was an eight-month-long investigation that explored a little-known section of Canada’s immigration act, known as “medical inadmissibility” due to excessive demand, which allows the government to deny permanent residency to entire families if even a single family member has a disability or medical condition that could place “excessive demand” on Canada’s publicly funded health and social service systems.

WATCH: Trudeau Liberals to overhaul ‘discriminatory’ immigration law targeting people with disabilities

Click to play video: 'Feds loosen controversial immigration restrictions' Feds loosen controversial immigration restrictions
Feds loosen controversial immigration restrictions – Apr 16, 2018

Since July 2017, Global News has published 14 online articles and multiple TV stories on the topic, which exposed major flaws with the way Immigration Canada handles residency applications of persons with disabilities. Often these cases involved children with disabilities.

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The series also revealed the impact the law can have on hard-working people, many of whom have been in Canada for years, separated from their children, while paying taxes to a government they say discriminates against them.

READ MORE: Father of son with autism calls Canada’s new immigration policy a ‘blessing for all of us’

In December, a Parliamentary committee delivered a report, prompted by the Global News investigation, that recommended repealing the law. The report also referenced the “significant investigative journalism” undertaken by Global News in exposing systemic problems with Immigration Canada’s application of the law.

WATCH: Canada rejects immigrants based on incomplete data. Carolyn Jarvis investigates.

Click to play video: 'Canada rejects immigrants based on incomplete data' Canada rejects immigrants based on incomplete data
Canada rejects immigrants based on incomplete data – Jul 4, 2017

Then, on April 16, the government responded to the report and to the stories of families profiled by Global News by announcing significant changes to the law making it far easier for people with disabilities to immigrate to Canada.

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READ MORE: Inadmissible: Canada rejects hundreds of disabled immigrants based on incomplete data

“It is vital that we ensure greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities,” said Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, in the foyer of the House of Commons on Monday. “Sadly, this has not been the reality for many newcomers to Canada over the last 40 years.”

“The decision to deny applicants with low-cost health conditions or with dependent children who have special needs has profound consequence for these families, as well as the Canadian communities that welcome them,” he said. “Our government, therefore, recognizes that we must take the steps needed to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Canada and highlight this as a core societal value.”

The Price of Oil: Canada’s ‘toxic secret’

Global News was also nominated in the Jackman category for The Price of Oil — an ongoing investigative series exposing the staggering health and safety consequences of Canada’s oil and gas industry, as well as the startling lack of accountability from the companies and governments responsible for public safety.

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

Click to play video: 'Canada’s Toxic Secret: A troubling trend of leaks and spills in the Sarnia area' Canada’s Toxic Secret: A troubling trend of leaks and spills in the Sarnia area
Canada’s Toxic Secret: A troubling trend of leaks and spills in the Sarnia area – Oct 14, 2017

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.

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, which detailed the history of industrial spills and leaks in Sarnia’s “Chemical Valley.”

READ MORE: Global News wins international award for investigation into Ontario’s ‘Chemical Valley’

Hundreds of documents obtained through freedom of information legislation revealed several safety incidents had exposed local residents to dangerous chemicals, including cancer-causing toxins. Residents were never warned.

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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.

READ MORE: ‘We don’t have to go begging anymore,’ Sarnia councillor says as health study moves forward

In Saskatchewan, The Price of Oil constructed a timeline of oil-patch leaks and spills — zeroing in on a toxic and sometimes fatal gas called hydrogen sulfide. The findings revealed a disturbing pattern of regulatory infractions, botched safety audits, mysteriously unreported incidents and ignored safety protocols that resulted in serious injury or illness for workers and unsuspecting members of the public

Other finalists include The Globe and Mail for its series, Unfounded, which exposed serious failures in the way police in Canada handle allegations of sexual assault, and the Toronto Star for its series Undercover in Temp Nation, exposing abuse suffered by temporary workers in Canada.

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The winner will be announced at the annual CJF Awards gala June 14 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

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