OTTAWA — The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick has been named the winner of the 2018 Michener Award, which honours excellence in public-service journalism.
The Saint John-based newspaper was nominated for an 18-month investigation that exposed problems with New Brunswick's ambulance service. The newspaper uncovered a severe shortage of paramedics that left ambulances sitting empty, leaving some people in emergency situations to be transported in regular vehicles.
The finalists for the award included work by the Waterloo Region Record; the St. Catharines Standard; CBC TV News; the Toronto Star, CBC News and Radio-Canada; and APTN and CBC North.
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette presented the award to the winner Friday at a ceremony at Rideau Hall. The Michener Award was founded in 1970 by former governor general Roland Michener.
Alan Allnutt, president of the Michener Awards Foundation, praised the winning entry and paid tribute to the finalists in a news release.
"There were many stellar entries to the Micheners this year — powerful work which uncovered political corruption, gave voice to the voiceless, changed laws — but none more transformative than this series," Allnutt said. "It was a major issue in the 2018 provincial elections and gave rise to a new government championing a wide-ranging overhaul of the ambulance system."
The Waterloo Region Record was nominated for Greg Mercer's months-long investigation of the health problems inflicted on workers by the once-important rubber industry in Kitchener, Ont.
The St. Catharines Standard earned its nomination for reporter Grant LaFleche's year-long investigation that led to more than 50 stories on a conspiracy behind the hiring of the top bureaucrat in Ontario's Niagara region.
CBC TV News was nominated for an investigation by the program "The Fifth Estate" into long-standing claims by Transport Canada that school buses are safer without seatbelts, contrary to the department's own conclusion that they would have prevented numerous deaths and thousands of injuries.
The Toronto Star, CBC News and Radio-Canada received a joint nod for their collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that shone a light on lax approval, regulation and oversight of the country's medical-device industry.
APTN and CBC North earned a joint nomination after they exposed failures in the child-welfare system that led to physical abuse and neglect of Indigenous teens. The reporting led to a public apology by the Yukon government for its failure to protect the youths as well as corrective actions.
The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had the incorrect name of the president of the Michener Awards Foundation.