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Times Colonist nominated for 2011 Michener Award

Apr 22 2012

The Times Colonist’s exposure of the B.C. government’s mistreatment of the developmentally disabled has been nominated for one of the highest honours in Canadian journalism.

The paper’s coverage, which shed light on a policy by the government agency Community Living B.C. to force people with developmental disabilities from group homes, is one of six finalists for the 2011 Michener Award for meritorious public-service journalism.

Through news stories and columns by Lindsay Kines, Paul Willcocks, Jody Paterson and Les Leyne, as well as editorials, the Times Colonist featured many personal stories of developmentally disabled individuals and their

families struggling with government cutbacks. Photographs by Adrian Lam and Lyle Stafford put a human face on the people affected.

After long denying that it was forcing people out of group homes, the government admitted to the practice, changed its policies and committed $40 million to improve services. As well, the minister of social development was demoted, the CEO of Community Living BC resigned and an internal audit of its operations was ordered.

Other finalists include:

- CBC Vancouver for exposing a toxic and long-standing environment of systemic sexual harassment of women within the RCMP.

- The Globe and Mail for a series of articles about the way the Ontario government pays for cancer-fighting drugs.

- La Presse for uncovering details on the crumbling state of the Champlain Bridge in Montreal.

- The Toronto Star for its investigation into the lack of accountability by Ontario’s troubled air ambulance service.

- The Windsor Star for exposing a culture of brutality and cover ups within the Windsor Police Service.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Rideau Hall, hosted by Governor General David Johnston on June 12.

This is the third time the Times Colonist has been nominated for a Michener.

In 2010, the paper was recognized for a week-long series that examined how government policies, poor construction and a lack of oversight contributed to an abysmal state of reserve housing.

In 2005, the Times Colonist was a finalist for the Michener Awards for a series of stories about problems affecting child protection in B.C. that resulted in sweeping reviews of the system.

The Michener Award was established in 1970 by the late Right Honourable Roland Michener, Governor General of Canada from 1967 to 1974.

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