Press Freedom Coalition Condemns Criminal Charges Against Reporter Justin Brake

TORONTO (March 9, 2017) An international coalition of press freedom organizations have condemned in the strongest possible terms the criminal charges brought against Justin Brake, reporter and editor for The Independent, for his reporting on the Indigenous occupation of the Muskrat Falls site in October 2016. The charges are an outrageous assault by the RCMP on press freedom in Canada and must be withdrawn immediately.

According to the court docket, Brake is being charged with “mischief relating to a testamentary instrument or property greater than 5,000” and “unlawfully disobeying an order of the Court.” He has been summoned to appear in provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on April 11 to answer the charges.

The occupation of the Muskrat Falls site began on October 21, 2016, following weeks of demonstrations and a blockade by Indigenous activists. The protests were sparked by plans to flood a wide swath of land as part of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric construction project. A study found that Labrador Inuit would be exposed to harmful levels of methylmercury if the Muskrat Falls reservoir was not fully cleared of vegetation before it is flooded. Brake followed activists as they cut the lock guarding the camp gate and entered the site, and remained as the only journalist to cover the story from inside the camp.

Brake left the site after being named in an October 24, 2016, court order, issued by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, that compelled authorities to arrest him if he remained. The order came at the request of Nalcor, the Crown corporation developing the Muskrat Falls site. Nalcor failed to identify Brake as a journalist in its affidavit seeking the injunction.

"This is a serious threat to press freedom," says CJFE executive director Tom Henheffer. "This is a well-known tactic to prevent coverage by denying access to journalists. The RCMP has a long history of brutality towards indigenous protesters, which is one reason it is critically important to have a journalist there as an observer."

The charges against Brake come amidst a series of major press freedom violations in Canada, and are part of a disturbing pattern of legal intimidation against journalists and media workers by police and security forces. Canada ranks 18th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) 2016 World Press Freedom Index, down ten spots from 2015.

Brake’s reporting provided the public with exclusive coverage on a matter of clear public interest, and was cited in his nomination by the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission for the 2016 Human Rights Awards. Brake now faces a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for this very same work.

The RCMP’s decision to charge Brake is an unacceptable assault on the public’s right to know, and could cause a chill in reporting on controversies over resource development projects and Indigenous-led protests. It is essential that journalists be able to safely and freely cover events in the public interest, such as the occupation of Muskrat Falls, without fear of legal reprisals. We urge the RCMP to immediately withdraw all charges against Brake.


Alice Klein, President, CJFE; Mohamed Fahmy,Co-founder, The Fahmy Foundation; Nick Taylor-Vaisey, President, Canadian Association of Journalists;  Gregg Leslie, Legal Defense Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; Delphine Halgand, North America Director, Reporters Without Borders

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The White House must give the press equal treatment

In response to the White House's decision to exclude certain news organizations from an informal news briefing last week, the Canadian Association of Journalists is publishing an open letter, which you can read in its entirety below.

RE: The White House’s relationship with the press corps

The Canadian Association of Journalists adds its voice to those gravely concerned about President Donald Trump’s lack of respect for a free press. The President’s dangerous disregard for a free press started with tweets berating certain news organizations, and escalated recently when those same news outlets, and others, were barred from an informal press briefing.

Many of the CAJ’s members reported the news when former prime minister Stephen Harper attempted to manipulate, shut out, and ultimately bypass journalists both in the nation’s capital and across Canada. Harper’s approach to the press sometimes divided journalists, at least to some extent, as they reacted to rules imposed on the prime minister’s press availabilities.

We don’t intend to dredge up the past. But the CAJ urges Trump’s administration to offer equal treatment to every member of the White House press corps, and further to make no attempt to restrict a free press. We also urge every news organization to resist any government’s attempt—on both sides of the border—to divide the press or play favourites.

News organizations thrive on competition, but we’re worse off when we’re divided at the whim of a politician who decides, based on a desire to protect his own interests, that we don’t all have an equal right to report on his leadership.


Nick Taylor-Vaisey
President, Canadian Association of Journalists


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Check out the latest Media Mag!

You might remember our New Year's message to members vowed to fight for and celebrate journalism in 2017. Well, we're going to start with a little bit of celebration. The CAJ presents its latest awards edition of Media Magazine, edited by the diligent David McKie, an investigative reporter at CBC News who takes time every year to contact award-winning Canadian journalists and ask them to tell the stories behind their powerful journalism.

Find the latest edition of Media here (and to read back issues dating to 1997, click here). The issue goes in-depth on journalism that won both CAJ Awards and National Newspaper Awards in 2016. As McKie reminds us in his opening editorial, these stories had serious impact. Just a sampling:

The Telegraph-Journal forced daycare operations to fire dubious employees, and become more diligent in their criminal background checks. The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s work prompted Winnipeg’s mayor to begin asking tough questions about working conditions. And Radio-Canada’s Enquête forced Quebec’s Liberal government to hold an inquiry into the treatment of Indigenous women in Val d’Or.

Anyone who scanned the last year's lists of award winners knows that reporting into the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls won the admiration of judges across the board. The team behind the Toronto Star's Gone series—read it all here—won the CAJ's Open Media award, as well as the NNA for Project of the Year. In Media, the team behind the investigations pulls back the curtain on their reporting—and offers crucial lessons learned for all of us to ponder.

Every story in Media provides an opportunity to learn. In these pages, you'll gain insight into how and why journalists told their stories, but you'll also find invaluable tips and tricks that could strengthen your own work. We're so grateful that journalists continually share their wisdom with peers. As McKie concludes: "Be inspired. Make a difference. These folks did."


A few words of thanks go to the Atkinson Foundation and the Michener Awards Foundation for advertising in Media. Our final thanks is reserved for David McKie, Media's editor who spends countless hours of free time assembling every edition. If you have a sec, tweet him your thanks.

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Let’s fight for—and celebrate—journalism in 2017

Dear CAJ Supporters,

As our social feeds are inundated with friends and family bidding good riddance to 2016, we can’t forget that our hard work on behalf of journalists is constant, and doesn’t pay attention to calendars turning over into new years. There will be fights—and victories—in the year to come, and one year ending doesn’t somehow reset the counter. That said, we’d like to take a minute to reflect on some of our work from the past year. And then turn our attention to the future.

2016 brought newsroom cuts and consolidation, press-freedom violations, as well as steps forward and backward on access to information laws, and the CAJ spoke out on those issues repeatedly in national media. We also testified twice at House of Commons committees, on ATIP reform and the future of local news.

We teamed up with other organizations repeatedly. We joined a coalition of press-freedom groups as intervenors in an appeal of an RCMP production order that would force VICE journalist Ben Makuch to turn over correspondence with a source. We worked with Ryerson’s Centre for Free Expression and PEN Canada on a report into mass surveillance. And we spoke out loudly with press-freedom groups when police surveillance of journalists in Montreal came to light.

In May, we held our annual two-day conference in Edmonton, where delegates picked up must-have skills from their peers, learned about alternative storytelling and funding models, and heard from cutting-edge keynotes including Catherine Gicheru and Shadi Rahimi.

That conference concluded with the CAJ Awards Gala, which honoured the best Canadian storytelling of 2015. CBC News took home the Don McGillivray Award for Investigative Journalism for its investigative work on missing and murdered Indigenous women.

At the gala, we also launched a fellowship in cooperation with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. A few months later, we named John W. Murray as the program’s first fellow. Two weeks after that, we named the latest recipients of the Aga Khan-CAJ Fellowship for International Development Reporting, Frédérick Lavoie and Jennifer Yang. And earlier in the fall, we honoured the latest EU-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship winners at a reception in Ottawa.

All told, 2016 was a shocking, scary year for journalists—but also hopeful. No doubt 2017 will be no different, and our fight for journalists—and celebration of our craft—continues. Happy New Year.

Yours Sincerely,

Nick Taylor-Vaisey



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Call for entries for the 2016 CAJ Awards

It’s with pleasure that the Canadian Association of Journalists invites entries for its annual awards program — which includes Canada’s top investigative award, the Don McGillivray Award.

The application deadline for the CAJ Awards is Jan. 13, 2017.

The deadline for the CAJ / CNW Group Student Award of Excellence is Feb. 24, 2017.

Click here to submit an entry into the CAJ Awards.

Finalists should be announced by the end of March, with the awards presented during the CAJ conference in Ottawa, April 28-29, 2017.

Please download the information packages and posters you need below. This information is also available on this page of this site.

The entry packages:

To enter, visit our submission portal. Click on the link that says “To enter the 2016 CAJ Awards, click here” and follow the step-by-step process to set up an entry account and submit your entry(ies).

NEW this year! The CAJ is pleased to partner with the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma to help promote the forum's Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting, which has a separate application process and eligibility rules.

The inaugural presentation of the forum's Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting will take place during the 2017 CAJ conference. A full-resolution version of this poster on the left is available in the CAJ Awards - Full package download above.

Fees remain unchanged for the 2016 program!  The fee structure recognizes many entries are done by teams of journalists, often a combination of of CAJ members and non-members. To become a member, register online here. Teams pay fees based on whether all people are CAJ members or not.

Please note the fee structure. All fees below include HST:

  • member fee – $30
  • non-member fee – $110
  • Student award entry (CAJ student members only) – FREE
  • Student entries into other categories – $25
  • Team entry for CAJ members – $60
  • Team entry non-members – $200

Good luck to all entrants!

Some notes on how to enter using the online submission website:

  • Before you go to the entry site, please consider the entry categories and what you wish to submit. Collating and collecting relevant files, links and the supporting letter is encouraged prior to logging in.
  • Before submitting your entry(ies), you will need to create a submission account. Do this by clicking “To enter the 2016 CAJ Awards click here.” Enter your email to begin the process. If you entered a submission last year, you already have an account. Please use password recovery if you’re unable to login.
  • You can then begin uploading entries. Follow the page-by-page prompts to complete each of the forms tied to each entry.
  • On the first entry submission screen, please be sure to enter accurate information about the entrant and entry — these fields are used to apply the correct entry fee(s) and if entered incorrectly could result in payment of the wrong amount.
  • The first screen for submitting your entry covers details about the entry; the secondallows you to attach files; and the third allows for URL submissions. You are then taken to confirmation screens. To pay, “checkout” from your cart.
  • The system allows uploads of a supporting letter and up to 20 files in a wide variety of formats, including video and audio files.
  • You can enter up to five URLs for online work or for streaming video/audio. Please ensure the links remain accessible and functional throughout the judging period (beginning of April).
  • Payment is done via integrated PayPal option. Fees are calculated and paid without leaving the entry site. Please double check your fee calculation to ensure you are paying the correct fee. If the incorrect fee appears, please DO NOT finalize your entry. Contact us to resolve the matter.
  • If you run into any difficulties through the process and/or have any questions, please email us.

Questions? Please contact the CAJ Awards committee.

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Welcome to the new!

Dear CAJ members

As our previous membership management software and website were not meeting organizational needs or allowing us to provide the kind of service CAJ members expect and deserve, we have decided to migrate our membership management and website to a different company.

After a rigorous review of the available options, we have settled on Starchapter as the company which most thoroughly meets CAJ’s needs in a cost-effective and user-friendly manner. During this review, we evaluated a number of  options, looking at their usability, their advantages for members and, importantly, their privacy policies.

 Starchapter is based in the United States, something we took into consideration while preparing for the switch. We are assured member data housed on Starchapter’s US servers will be subject to a level of privacy and security commensurate with what it currently experiences. CAJ members’ payment information will now be processed by PSIGate, a Canadian company headquartered in Toronto. It will not leave the country.

We asked Starchapter to tell us under what circumstances it would disclose our data to authorities: the below is an excerpt from its policy available on the new website in full:

Vendor shall not (a) modify Customer Data, (b) disclose Customer Data except as expressly permitted by Customer or as compelled by law, or (c) access Customer Data except to provide the Service and prevent or address service or technical problems, or at Customer's request in connection with implementation, training, and on-going support matters.

 In other words, Starchapter will not sell or give away your contact data. Board members and administrative users may be contacted by email with software updates and Starchapter newsletters, but this will not affect members who are not on the board. 

We are satisfied the appropriate steps have been taken to ensure member privacy and confidentiality.

 CAJ’s switch to Starchapter will open up many new opportunities for members: better control over your membership and member status, access to forums and a cleaner, more functional overall web presence for CAJ . We look forwards to seeing you there.

 f you have any concerns or questions about this transition, please contact CAJ president Nick Taylor-Vaisey at or CAJ administrator Kat Eschner at

 Yours sincerely,

 Nick Taylor-Vaisey

CAJ President


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Edmonton journalist selected for Aboriginal Investigative Journalism Fellowship

Nov. 24, 2016, WINNIPEG – The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) are pleased to announce Edmonton journalist John W. Murray has been selected for the inaugural Aboriginal Investigative Journalism Fellowship.

Murray, a Mi'gmaq citizen of the Natoaganeg (Eel Ground) First Nation in New Brunswick, grew up in Treaty 4 territory in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

He works with Edmonton radio station CJSR to produce Acimowin, a weekly live program dealing with Indigenous music and news. He also curates Indigenous Journalism, an information site on Facebook and Twitter.

This fellowship will provide a 12-week, paid placement with the APTN Investigates team based in Winnipeg, in the late-winter/spring of 2017. Murray will work with APTN staff to produce a full-length piece of original, investigative journalism that will air on APTN Investigates.

The CAJ provided promotional and logistical support to the judging panel. The CAJ will provide Murray with a complimentary one-year membership. Moreover, he will be invited to #CAJ17 in Ottawa next year to screen the finished piece for conference delegates and discuss how it came together and was received after broadcast.

CAJ president Nick Taylor-Vaisey and APTN executive director of news and current affairs Karyn Pugliese announced the creation of this new fellowship during the #CAJ16 conference banquet, held at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel in May.

- 30 -


The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 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


September 1, 2016, marked the 17-year anniversary of the launch of the first national Aboriginal television network in the world with programming by, for and about Aboriginal Peoples to share with all Canadians and viewers around the world. APTN is available in approximately 11 million Canadian households and commercial establishments with cable, direct-to-home satellite, telco-delivered and fixed wireless television service providers. The network launched its high definition channel, APTN HD, in the spring of 2008. APTN does not receive government funding for operations but generates revenue through subscriber fees, advertising sales and strategic partnerships. APTN broadcasts programming with 56% offered in English, 16% in French and 28% in Aboriginal languages. For program schedule or for more information, please contact APTN at (204) 947-9331 or toll-free at 1-888-278-8862 (Canada), or visit the website at

For further information about APTN or image requests, contact:

Jacqueline Jubinville

Manager of Communications, APTN

(204) 947-9331, ext. 339              

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Mass surveillance harms the public interest: report

TORONTONov. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - As it becomes clear that police forces in Canada are actively spying on journalists, and damaging freedom of the press in the process, a new report confirms that writers across Canada are so concerned about mass surveillance that some are self-censoring their own activities.

Chilling Free Expression in Canada, a revealing report that draws upon a survey of 120 writers and journalists, shows that the vast majority of respondents expressed concern about government and corporate surveillance in Canada and abroad, and that resulting infringements on their privacy is causing a disturbing number of writers to think twice about what they publish and how they conduct research.

Read the full report here

The survey illuminates a Canadian perspective on a conversation already happening elsewhere. The Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University, in collaboration with PEN Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists, conducted the survey of 129 Canadian writers and journalists between May 27 and June 20, 2016.

Close to a quarter of writers and journalists surveyed reported that they avoid writing about certain topics because of government and corporate surveillance. A fifth said they refrain from conducting internet searches or visiting web sites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious. "Writers and journalists are society's eyes and ears," says Centre for Free Expression Director James L. Turk. "If fear of surveillance is causing them to self-censor, the public is being denied important stories, and we are the poorer for it."

More than 70 per cent of respondents agreed that most Canadians are unconcerned or unaware about government surveillance. That has to change, says CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. "We know that police actively spy on journalists, and that whistleblowers who trust reporters to protect their identities will now be less willing to come forward," he says. "Canadians must understand the gravity of that ongoing threat to the public interest."

"The freedom of expression, not just of writers and journalists, but of all Canadians, needs constant and vigilant defence," says Grace Westcott, Executive Director of PEN Canada. "Mass government surveillance effectively encroaches on that freedom, to all our cost."

The Centre for Free Expression in the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University is a hub for public education, research and advocacy on free expression and the public's right to know. Our work is undertaken in collaboration with academic and community-based organizations across Canada and internationally.

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.

PEN Canada is a non-partisan organization of writers that works to defend the right to freedom of expression at home and abroad.  PEN Canada celebrates literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison and assists writers living in exile in Canada.

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CAJ Award categories


The Canadian Association of Journalists recognizes Canada’s best journalism in the following categories. If you have any questions about the awards, please contact the CAJ awards committee.

To go to the entry page, visit For the rules of entry and other information, click here.


Investigative Journalism

These categories recognize journalism in a variety of media. Entries don’t have to be purely investigative to qualify; investigative entries are given added weight. Items based on the same body of research, regardless of which medium they were released in, can only be entered in one category. The recipient(s) of the Don McGillivray Award for Investigative Journalism is/are chosen from these categories.

Open media

Entries welcome for predominantly text-based pieces published in print or online, in any Canadian media outlet, regardless of publication frequency, circulation or audience reach. An entry is one piece or a series limited to five related pieces, published at any time in the preceding calendar year.

Community media

Entries welcome for predominantly text-based pieces published in print or online in any Canadian media outlet. Print entries limited to those media printed fewer than five times a week or with an average daily print circulation of under 25,000. Online-only entries not from a print newsroom must provide verifiable proof the website serves a regional or community audience. An entry is one piece or a series limited to five related pieces, published at any time in the preceding calendar year.

Open broadcast feature

Entries welcome for any piece with a runtime of over five minutes, predominantly audio and/or video, broadcast to an audience of any size over the air or online. An entry is one piece or a series limited to five related pieces, broadcast at any time in in the preceding calendar year.

Open broadcast news

Entries of any length welcome for any piece, predominantly audio and/or video, broadcast to an audience of any size over the air or online. These entries can be of any length—judges and the CAJ awards committee reserve the right to recommend entries with longer runtimes be moved into the Open broadcast feature category. An entry is one piece (single piece broadcast on a single day) or a series of no more than five related pieces, broadcast at any time in the preceding calendar year.

Community broadcast

Entries of any length welcome for any piece, predominantly audio and/or video, whose broadcast is targeted to a community or regional audience over the air or online. Over the air broadcast submissions must come from a local or regional station. Online entries not from a TV or radio broadcaster must provide verifiable proof the website is targeted at and serves a regional or community audience. An entry is one piece (single piece broadcast on a single day) or a series of no more than five related pieces, broadcast at any time in the preceding calendar year.

CAJ / Marketwired data journalism

Entries welcome from any media in any format published or broadcast in Canada where data journalism / CAR techniques played a key and indispensable part in developing the story. This category is meant to highlight the use of data journalism, but not at the expense of good journalism and good storytelling. An entry is one piece or a series limited to five related pieces— this count does not include any datasets published as part of the submitted items.

Online media

Entries welcome in any online-only format. No part of this entry can include any element that was published in print or broadcast on television or radio. Entries of online work that "wrap" around something that has been broadcast or published in print (for example, an "online extra" that was created to supplement a video documentary) are best entered in media or broadcast categories, with the online work as one of the permitted related items.

This really is a category to recognize work done by Canadian media exclusively for online, only available online. Entries limited to one URL or up to five related URLs, all posted in the 2016 calendar year.

General awards

The following categories recognize exemplary journalism as laid out below. The winning entries in each of these categories is not eligible for consideration for the Don McGillivray award.


Entries welcome showcasing a portfolio of up to 20 photographs demonstrating journalistic vision, consistent quality and a reflection of the entrant’s professionalism and journalistic abilities. Photos (including soundslides or equivalent) must have been first published or broadcast by Canadian media (URL or other proof of publication required).


Entries welcome from any media in any format published or broadcast in Canada that can show how it was the first to bring new or significant information to light of regional or national importance. Entry limited to a single piece published or broadcast on any single day in the preceding calendar year. A supporting letter with details on how the entry was a regional/national scoop is a required element of this category.

Daily excellence

Entries welcome from print, radio and television journalists for items published or broadcast in Canada demonstrating excellence in daily, deadline-driven reporting based on same-day research. We want to consider the result of a single day’s work where the research, interviews, writing, editing, etc. all took place on the same day. Entry limited to a single piece plus related element (ex: sidebar, online hit, etc.) published or broadcast on a single day in the preceding calendar year.

Text feature

Entries welcome for any primarily text-based article published in print or online in Canada that is not specifically investigative in nature. Entries limited to a single piece published on a single day in the preceding calendar year.

JHR / CAJ Award for Human Rights Reporting 

What is human rights reporting? This prize rewards journalism that puts a human face on situations where human rights are not respected and/or holds authorities to account to do a better job of protecting those rights. As a result, the story builds awareness of human rights and social justice issues, and shows the human impact and the human cost of abstract political and economic forces. To qualify, a story must also be international in scope. For examples of human rights reporting, visit

Entries limited to a single piece, published or broadcast on a single day in the preceding calendar year.

CWA Canada / CAJ Award for Labour Reporting

What are labour issues? Judges will be instructed to reward those entries that effectively bring to the public’s attention important labour issues. The award seeks to honour journalism that goes beyond a work-to-rule, strike, lockout or other job action and shows skill in reporting on the social, economic and political factors that impact the labour environment in Canada. Entries showing impact on policy, law or public awareness are encouraged. This award is meant to recognize great journalism on labour issues that can make a difference in the lives of Canadians.

Does an entry have to be reporting on a union? No– judges are looking for the best journalism on labour issues. While Canada’s unions are integral to the labour movement, not all of the labour issues that are reported on in this country involve unions. It’s expected many entries will include the labour movement and unions, but this is not a requirement of the award.

Entries are encouraged in either official language. Entries are a single piece, published or broadcast on a single day in the preceding calendar year. Should the judges determine it appropriate, one award may be handed out for reporting done in English and another in French.

CAJ / CNW Group Student Award of Excellence

The award recognizes excellence in the field of journalism at the student level. Submissions will be accepted from all students enrolled (at the time of publication or broadcast) in an accredited degree/diploma program offered by a Canadian post-secondary institution. Feature-style entries are preferred, but any format or style permitted. Proof of enrolment and a cover letter speaking to the origins, difficulties and resulting change / impact / action must accompany entries. Entries will not be considered complete until these have been submitted. Entries may be a single piece, or series of up to five related pieces, published or broadcast at any time in the preceding calendar year.

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CAJ Awards – rules of entry and other important information

Entry procedures:

Entries must have been first published or broadcast in either official language by a Canadian-based media outlet within the previous calendar year. Entries welcomed from journalists working outside of Canada, provided the location of first broadcast / publication originated within Canada. Proof of publication / broadcast meeting these criteria, if not ascertainable from the entry itself, may be requested by the awards committee.

The CAJ Awards wants to recognize your best work and we acknowledge it can be challenging at times to pull out a few items from a body of work that includes many different elements. We hope the following criteria, in addition to what’s listed with each category, can be helpful in determining what is chosen for submission.

  • Entry composition is defined online for each category. Please do not overburden the judges with an unending entry. Careful consideration of which elements are included with an entry that effectively demonstrate your best work is encouraged.
  • Material produced from the same body of research cannot be submitted in multiple categories (ex: Same topic and sources feed items published in print and broadcast on television— only eligible for submission in one category). Entrants are encouraged to carefully weigh what they’ve produced and which elements most powerfully and effectively tell the story and submit the appropriate pieces into the suitable category.
  • No part of any entry can be submitted in another category. No part of any team entry can be submitted by an individual in the same or another category. Entrants are asked to carefully consider and weigh the categories before submitting.
  • NEW! A cover letter must be submitted with each entry. It should detail what circumstances led to the publication / broadcast of the story. It should also outline impact, change or action resulting from the publication and/or broadcast of the entry. It is useful to have information on the resources available to the journalist(s) completing the piece(s) submitted in the entry. Cover letters should not be endorsements or testimonials. Judges want to know how and why you did the work and its impact.
  • If submitting a team entry, please include the names of all those who were part of the team as part of your entry – if it was a large team, please submit the list separately from the entry if required. We will not recognize finalist team members whose names were not included when the team entry was finalized and submitted, so please ensure all those deserving of credit for the entry are listed on submission and payment.

Questions regarding these entry procedures can be submitted to the attention of the CAJ awards committee via e-mail.


Fees remain unchanged. CAJ members (whether entering as individuals or as teams) continue to receive substantial discounts over non-members when entering the CAJ awards program. CAJ student members are eligible to submit in the student category at no cost. Become a member today!

Please note the fee structure (all fees include taxes):

  • Member fee – $30
  • Non-member fee – $110
  • Student award entries for CAJ student members – FREE
  • Student member entry fee, other categories – $25
  • Team entry where all are CAJ members – $60
  • Team entry including non-CAJ members – $200
  • Student team entries — please contact the awards committee
* Student award entries for non-members (from individuals) are not permitted. Student members are welcome to apply in other categories at the $25 or team rates. Students who are not members are encouraged to become members at a cost of $20.

Judging procedures:

At least one winning entry per category can be declared by the judges. Winning entries in the investigative categories are then passed on to the Don McGillivray Award judges, who decide the winner of this overall award. Judges may declare “no winner” for a category. If this occurs, no finalists in that category will be announced.

Judges use the same published criteria available to those who enter the awards along with the general criteria below to determine their ranking.

In those categories including French-language entries, the awards committee will assign a minimum of one bilingual or Francophone judge to the category. Judges selected and assigned by the awards committee are experienced journalists who are not eligible to compete in the category in which they are judging.

Recipients will be announced at the 2017 CAJ conference in Ottawa, April 28-29, 2017.

Judges are asked to consider the following:

  • Entries in investigative categories need not be purely investigative, however investigative entries are given added weight;
  • Original subjects and content matter;
  • Effective use of the medium—imagery, clarity, language and narrative;
  • The breadth and scope of the research undertaken, as well as how it was used within the entry;
  • Impact and timeliness;    
  • The degree of difficulty in research or production, resources available to the journalist / newsroom, time available for production and/or risk involved in getting the story;
  • In the photojournalism category, the objective is not to find the single best photo but the overall body of work submitted in the entry;
  • In the labour category, entries that go beyond a work-to-rule, strike, lockout or other job action to report on the broader social, economic and political impact on the labour movement and market will be given preference and added weight.

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