Advocacy

We speak on behalf of journalists, and in their interest, on matters including source protection, freedom of information and access to information, public disclosure, and diversity of voices. We speak in support of the highest-quality journalism.

Learn more about our advocacy efforts by reading the news releases at caj.ca and following the links below.

Call for nominations: Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy

The Canadian Association of Journalists, the Centre for Free Expression, News Media Canada and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression are inviting nominations for the Code of Silence Award for outstanding achievement in government secrecy. The award will be given annually in each of four categories—federal, provincial, municipal and police services—starting this fall.

If you have met resistance in getting information from a public body, please send us your nomination for a deserving award recipient along with the reasons why it should be chosen. Nominations will be considered by a jury who will select the "winners." Awards will be presented in October and November at public events in the cities in which each of the recipients is located.

Nominations must be submitted by August 31, 2017. They should be sent to Ange Holmes, Coordinator, Centre for Free Expression, Ryerson University either by email (ange.holmes@ryerson.ca) or by mail (350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3). All nominations will be acknowledged and all nominators will be invited to the awards ceremonies.



Appel de candidatures – Prix Code of Silence reconnaissant une contribution exceptionnelle à la culture du secret au sein d’une administration publique

L’Association canadienne des journalistes, le Centre for Free Expression, Médias d’info Canada et Canadian Journalists for Free Expression sollicitent les mises en candidature au prix Code of Silence (code du silence), qui reconnaît une contribution exceptionnelle à la culture du secret au sein d’une administration publique. Dès cet automne, le prix sera décerné chaque année à un service public dans chacune des quatre catégories suivantes : administration fédérale, administration provinciale, administration municipale et service de police.

Si un service public est demeuré muet face à vos demandes d’informations répétées, soumettez-nous sa candidature, et indiquez les raisons pour lesquelles vous estimez qu’il mérite de recevoir ce prix. Un jury examinera les candidatures proposées et sélectionnera les « gagnants ». Les prix seront remis en octobre et en novembre prochains lors de cérémonies publiques dans les villes où sont établis les lauréats. 

Les candidatures doivent être envoyées au plus tard le 31 août 2017, à Ange Holmes, coordonnatrice au Centre for Free Expression de l’Université Ryerson, par courriel (ange.holmes@ryerson.ca) ou par la poste (350, rue Victoria, Toronto (Ont.), M5B 2K3). Toutes les candidatures proposées seront dévoilées aux cérémonies de remise de prix, en présence de leurs auteurs.  

Read More

Here's how Ottawa can help local news: CAJ

OTTAWAJune 16, 2017 /CNW/ — The Canadian Association of Journalists supports several recommendations in a parliamentary committee's report on the future of local news that proactively—but non-intrusively—encourage high-quality journalism in Canada.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's latest report, Disruption: Change and Churning in Canada'sMedia Landscape, made 20 recommendations to strengthen local news across Canada. The CAJ appreciates the committee's attempt to consult widely as it studied an issue critical to the public interest—a process that included CAJ testimony.

Several of the committee's recommendations responded to the priorities of like-minded journalism organizations that highlighted the revenue problem plaguing local news, including the Canadian Newspaper Association and others. The CAJ supports recommendations to:

  • Amend sections 19, 19.01 and 19.1 of the Income Tax Act to allow deduction of digital advertising on Canadian-owned platforms;

  • Introduce a tax credit to compensate print media companies for a portion of their capital and labour investments in digital media; and

  • Ensure that foreign news aggregators are subject to the same tax obligations as Canadian providers


"As advertising dollars slipped away, gobbled up by digital giants like Facebook and Google, journalists have watched their newsrooms shrink," said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. "These measures could help local newsrooms reclaim some of that lost revenue."

One of the CAJ's stated priorities comprised one of the lesser reported recommendations of Disruption, which called on the federal government to make it easier for non-profit journalism outlets to flourish in Canada by making those organizations eligible for charity status.

"The recommendation on charity status reflects a long-simmering discussion in Canada about alternative funding models for journalism," said Taylor-Vaisey. "We know there's all kinds of potential for not-for-profits to produce public-interest journalism that matters."

The CAJ also supports the committee's recommendation on encouraging Indigenous journalism, which echoes a recommendation of the Public Policy Forum's Shattered Mirror report. "Canadian newsrooms desperately need Indigenous voices to tell stories that matter, and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network is well-suited to lead any effort to that end," said Taylor-Vaisey.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

Read More

Canadian newsrooms must transform themselves: CAJ

May 20, 2017 / CNW / — Canadian journalists have spent a week confronting complex debates about cultural appropriation, free expression and the underrepresentation of minority and marginalized writers in most major newsrooms. The Canadian Association of Journalists understands these issues are divisive, but urges media owners to lead an industry-wide effort to transform newsroom culture—and make room for more diverse voices.

As the #AppropriationPrize controversy that grew out of Hal Niedzviecki’s resignation as editor of the Writers’ Union of Canada’s magazine continues to unfold, the CAJ remains a champion of free expression. Public debate requires voices from a wide variety of perspectives, including and especially those that challenge the status quo.

But the recent controversy has laid bare the ugly truth that Canadian media suffers from a lack of prominent diverse voices and varied perspectives. “Journalists need to challenge our own assumptions by engaging, learning about, and finally writing about other cultures,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “But newsroom leaders also need to recognize the glaring lack of non-white perspectives on their own mastheads and broadcasts—and make tangible, sustainable changes that create more room for those voices.

“Canadian newsrooms are nowhere near as culturally diverse as many of the communities we cover,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “The only way to change that is to hire—and amplify—more voices from as many perspectives as possible.”

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President
Phone: 647.968.2393
Email: nick@caj.ca

 

Read More

APTN wins CAJ Charles Bury Award

OTTAWA, April 30, 2017 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists recognized the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network with the CAJ Charles Bury Award at its annual awards gala at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel on April 29.

The award is given under circumstances of exceptional merit to those people or organizations that have made a significant contribution to Canadian journalism. APTN is leading the charge on giving Indigenous people in Canada a voice on both sides of the camera, and the network is a stellar example of a growing news organization that embraces advocacy and professional development.

“When it comes to supporting journalists and fighting for journalism, APTN punches above its weight,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “They fight for press freedom in the courts. They pitched, organized and funded vital programming at our conference. They’re everywhere.”

Taylor-Vaisey also highlighted the individual contribution of Karyn Pugliese, whose name is front and centre in so much of APTN’s work. “As if all that wasn’t enough, Karyn even joined our ethics committee late last year,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “There’s no end to her energy and dedication.”

This award, formerly known as the President’s Award, was renamed in honour of veteran journalist and long-time CAJ board member Charles Bury, who died in February 2014.

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

For further information:
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president – 647-968-2393 cell, nick@caj.ca

 

Read More

‘Congratulations’ to Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal!

OTTAWA, April 30, 2017 /CNW/ – The most secretive government department in Canada, as “honoured” by the Canadian Association of Journalists at its annual awards gala at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel on April 29, is Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal.

The winning nomination for this year’s Code of Silence award came from Larry Cornies of the London Free Press, whose reporting on the aftermath of a costly fire, and a lack of transparency on the part of the London Fire Department and provincial Fire Marshal’s office, demonstrated a clear pattern of secrecy.

After a fire on June 30, 2016, which cost $1.5 million and destroyed a dozen businesses, Cornies inquired about the department’s response time. City council had earlier endorsed a goal of responding to fires within four minutes. The department referred all questions to the Fire Marshal’s office. No one would offer the data, which would have been available.

A mere 249 days later, after two appeals through freedom-of-information laws, the OFM finally revealed the response time: seven minutes and 11 seconds.

“The eight-month-long obfuscation raises the question of how city councillors in Ontario are supposed to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the fire departments accountable to them when such basic information is suppressed,” Cornies wrote in his nomination. “The OFM operates within a culture of secrecy—a culture that reaches into municipal departments that should instead be responsive to city councils and the citizens they serve.

“And all this under the nose of a provincial government that prides itself on having adopted ‘open government’ principles.”

Needless to say, the CAJ agrees.

We also awarded an honourable mention to the National Energy Board, which hired a vice-president of transparency and strategic engagement who, soon after taking the job, decided to “warn employees that they were under investigation by a private security firm for speaking to reporters.” That investigation was based on a “preliminary assessment” by the firm. When National Observer’s Mike De Souza, the NEB’s nominator, filed an access-to-information request for that report, the NEB told him there was no record of such an assessment.

Finally, we placed the Trudeau government on notice. After promising substantive—and necessary—access-to-information reform during the last campaign, the government has since backed away from any timelines at all on producing real results. “The Liberals did everything they could to match the Harper government’s record on this file,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “They fell a little short this year, but we have a good feeling about next year.”

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

For further information:
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president – 647-968-2393 cell, nick@caj.ca

 

Read More

The Code of Silence award: Call for nominations!

As #CAJ17 approaches, it's time to revive our annual tongue-in-cheek tradition, an idea with serious overtones: the Canadian Association of Journalists' Code of Silence award. 

Nursed to life by past-president Rob Cribb, the idea was to "celebrate" Canada's most-secretive government, department, agency or publicly funded body. Who was putting that extra bit of elbow grease into keeping any sunlight from reaching the public's business?

The "winner" that first year? The Ontario Ministry of the Environment. 

The CAJ is now accepting nominations from journalists working in Canada who've been fighting the good fight to pry public information out of the hands of bureaucrats and politicians from sea, to sea, to sea.

Nominators are asked to think big and small. Previous winners include the entire federal government, omnibus government legislation, a former prime minister's office and, last year, Canada's "financial intelligence unit." They also include the Resort Municipality of Whistler, and come from questions as simple as how many fish were being spawned at a federal facility—an answer shared with tour groups but not with an inquiring journalist before the spin masters were involved.

If it takes and/or spends public money and isn't being open and transparent about how it does so, it's an eligible nominee.

Do you have an egregious example that gets your own blood boiling? Nominations can be e-mailed to our president at nick@caj.ca.

The winner will be announced during the closing banquet for the #CAJ17 conference at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel on April 29Registration for the conference is open, with early bird rates ending April 25.

Read More

#CAJ17: Learn data journalism at an intensive two-day boot camp

OTTAWA, March 30, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is thrilled that some of Canada’s leading data journalists will spend a weekend teaching #CAJ17 delegates how to find, analyze and tell stories with data.

The CAJ has long featured data boot camps at its annual conferences, and the intensive workshops in Ottawa on April 28-29 will continue that tradition. King's College journalism professor Fred Vallance-Jones and CBC News' David McKie will team up to lead a series of workshops focusing on the power of unlocking data.

These award-winning journalists will be joined Friday and Saturday by an impressive lineup of trainers: experts from Esri Canada, distributors of ArcGIS; The Globe and Mail’s Michael Pereira; and CBC News’ Valérie Ouellet.

These sessions will cover a range of skills—from ground-level stuff like finding, cleaning and analysing data using spreadsheets to more complex skills such as mapping and making analysed data interactive. Several sessions require pre-registration, which can be done via email once you've signed up for the conference or at the registration desk on Friday.

Registration is currently open for this two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise after April 21. (Those attending the data sessions should bring a Wi-Fi capable laptop computer, either PC or Mac, for the hands-on portions.)

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes for a single room are still available. Check the Ottawa conference page on our website for more details.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Phone: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca

 

 

Read More

#CAJ17 keynote: How journalists can build trust with communities

OTTAWA, March 29, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce The Coral Project’s Andrew Losowsky will deliver a keynote address at the CAJ’s annual conference on April 29.

As revenue spirals, echo chambers isolate readers and journalists, and dialogue gets ever more vitriolic, Losowsky leads The Coral Project, a collaboration between Mozilla, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He will share practical ideas and research to help journalists everywhere get closer to the communities they serve.

Losowsky’s keynote is just one of #CAJ17’s sessions focused on audience interaction. The conference will also include a workshop on how journalists can prevent and cope with harassment online. Journalists who have dealt with racist and sexist attacks will reflect on their own experiences—and an anti-harassment activist will offer practical advice to journalists.

Registration is currently open for this two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise after April 21.

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes for a single room are still available. Check the Ottawa conference page on our website for more details.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Phone: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca

 

 

Read More

ProPublica’s Eric Umansky delivering keynote on objectivity at #CAJ17

ProPublica’s Eric Umansky will deliver a keynote presentation on the death of journalistic objectivity on April 28 during the Canadian Association of Journalists’ annual national conference in Ottawa.

Umansky, a Pulitzer-Prize winning editor, will explain why journalists should abandon traditional objectivity—and what should replace it. At a time when terms like “alternative facts” are bandied about, and newsrooms are debating the role of the media in calling a lie a lie—even when it comes from the President of the United States—the independent, non-profit newsroom’s deputy managing editor will lay out a roadmap on how to replace objectivity with a new god: evidence.

 His presentation is just one in a series of conversations at #CAJ17 on the evolution of the news industry—and how we should tackle the challenges facing journalism.

Registration is currently open for this two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise after April 21.

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes for a single room are still available. Check the Ottawa conference page on our website for more details.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Cell: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca

 

 

Read More

Sitting down with Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly at #CAJ17

OTTAWA, March 27, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce that Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly will participate in a keynote question and answer session at the CAJ’s annual national conference in Ottawa on April 28.

The bilingual sit-down conversation with the federal government’s point-person on the current state of Canadian media and its broader cultural context will touch on policy developments aimed at helping the news business, Joly’s perspective on the future of the news industry in Canada, and more.

The Q&A at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Ottawa will follow a presentation from The Public Policy Forum’s Edward Greenspon on his organization’s Shattered Mirror study on the state of Canadian news media. It all adds up to a can’t-miss Friday on the future of news.

Registration is currently open for the two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise on April 21.

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, our conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes and fees for a single room may still be available on request. Other preferential rates may also still be available.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Cell: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca 

 

 

Read More