The Narwhal, Toronto Star win Michener Award for work on Ontario Greenbelt scandal

OTTAWA — The Narwhal and the Toronto Star have been named the winners of the 2023 Michener Award for their reporting about Ontario's Greenbelt scandal.

The Michener Awards Foundation says that throughout 2023, the magazine and newspaper revealed how "politically connected developers benefited from buying devalued farmland just before Premier Doug Ford lifted Greenbelt protection of those lands."

It says their investigation led to Ford "scrapping the plan to allow development on formerly protected Greenbelt lands and cost the government two ministers and two senior staffers."

The Canadian Press was nominated for a months-long investigation by reporter Darryl Greer that revealed a toxic workplace and allegations of sexual assault at Canada's spy agency.

CSIS director David Vigneault said it was an "extraordinary moment" for the agency while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the allegations "devastating."

The Michener Award was founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then governor general, to honour excellence in public service journalism.

The other finalists this year included work by CBC/Radio-Canada on sex crime allegations against billionaire Robert Miller; by the Globe and Mail on Montreal fire safety; the Montreal Gazette on the suicide of a retired police officer in a hospital emergency room; and Radio-Canada on the dark side of Neptune.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon recognized the finalists during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

"This year’s finalists have used their investigative talents to influence change within our communities," she said Friday.

"Each story being recognized tonight has made a difference. Each of your stories demonstrated the importance of journalism."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2024.

The Canadian Press