Toronto Star awarded 2015 Canadian Hillman Prize in Journalism for series "Sexual assault and harassment in Canada from Jian Ghomeshi to university and college campuses"

CBC News The National and Winnipeg Free Press earn honourable mentions

TORONTO, March 4, 2015 /CNW/ - The Sidney Hillman Foundation has awarded the 2015 Canadian Hillman Prize to the Toronto Star reporting team of investigative editor Kevin Donovan, freelancer Jesse Brown, and Star staffers Jayme Poisson, Emily Mathieu and Randy Risling.

Judges Bonnie Brown, Jim Stanford and Tony Burman selected the winners for their investigations that focused public attention on sexual harassment allegations against then prominent CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi and put a spotlight on what is happening on university and college campuses. Their carefully documented reporting launched a "national conversation" on the issue of sex assault and harassment across Canada, particularly in universities and the workplace. Significantly, it encouraged victims to bring their allegations against Ghomeshi forward and the police to lay charges.

Speaking for the judges, Jim Stanford said, "The Toronto Star's reporting on the Jian Ghomeshi scandal and sexual assault on college campuses has sparked a social dialogue that will change Canadian society forever. The tenacity of Kevin Donovan and Jesse Brown, combined with the courage of the women who agreed to speak about their experiences with Ghomeshi was enhanced by the Star reporting about student experiences at post-secondary institutions. The series struck a chord, unleashing a long-overdue recognition throughout society of the terrible reality of sexual assault. This investigative journalism exemplifies what the Hillman Prize stands for."

The Hillman Prize judges also recognized two other entries: CBC News' coverage of Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program and "While He Waited" a series written by Kevin Rollason from the Winnipeg Free Press. 

The CBC series began with a report on the abuse of some high tech workers by, among others, RBC and went on to uncover evidence that some companies in other sectors, like fast food outlets, were also misusing the TFW Program. The diligent work by Kathy Tomlinson, Raj Ahluwalia, and their team, sparked intense debate which generated public pressure leading the Harper government to issue new rules restricting the use of temporary foreign workers.

Rollason's meticulous coverage of the senseless death of Brian Sinclair, a disabled, aboriginal man who died from a treatable infection after being ignored for 34 hours in a Winnipeg hospital emergency waiting room proved to be invaluable to improving, and restoring confidence in Canadian hospital emergency departments.

"This is the fifth year we have awarded The Hillman Prize to Canadian journalists," said Alex Dagg, Director of Operations at the National Hockey League Players Association, and a Director of the Hillman Foundation. "Judging from the number of amazing entries we received, I say with pride that Canadian journalists from all corners of our country are tackling tough stories, working against financial constraints and incredible access to information barriers to achieve meaningful change that improves our lives."

The Canadian Hillman Prize ceremony and reception will be held in Toronto on Thursday March 12. The Toronto Star reporters will share $3,000 and travel to New York City to participate in the U.S. Hillman Prize ceremony to be held May 5, 2015. The two honourable mentions will each receive $1,000.

Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has honoured journalists, writers and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good. Sidney Hillman was the founding president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, a predecessor union of Workers United, SEIU. Sidney Hillman, an architect of the New Deal, fought to build a vibrant union movement extending beyond the shop floor to all aspects of working peoples' lives. 

Links to these stories can be found here.

For more information, and to see past winners, please visit the website at www.hillmanfoundation.org

SOURCE Sidney Hillman Foundation

For further information: Media please contact: Annie Hennessey, Annie.hennessey@mediaprofile.com or 416 342-1815

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