Canadian Association of Journalists

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The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ; French: Association Canadienne des Journalistes) is one of several Canadian organizations of journalists. It was created to promote excellence in journalism and encourage investigative journalism. The CAJ is one of several national voices for Canadian journalists—the only one with a coast-to-coast presence and run by journalists practising across all media.


The CAJ was founded in 1978 as the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ). A few senior Canadian journalists founded the CIJ to counteract the isolation of the one or two reporters in the average newsroom who did investigative work. One of CIJ's initiatives was the Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom group that later became Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). In 1990, the organization changed its name to its current form to reflect a broader emphasis on all journalism and attract additional members. Promoting investigate journalism remains one of the CAJ's main goals.


The Canadian Association of Journalists runs an annual awards program recognizing the best in Canadian journalism, with a particular focus on journalism that is investigative in nature. Entries are welcome from any practising journalist whose work has been published or broadcast in Canada. A call for entries is usually issued in December–January, with a deadline in late January or early February. Once judging is complete, a list of the finalists in each category is released. The winning entry in each category is announced as part of the banquet during the annual conference each spring.


These categories recognize journalism in a variety of media as set out below. Entries don't have to be purely investigative to qualify; investigative entries are given added weight. Direction to judges include such items as effective use of the medium the entry was published or broadcast in, thoroughness of research, relevance and any outcomes arising from the entry's publication or broadcast. Items based on the same body of research, regardless of which medium they were released in, can only be entered in one category. Entries are awarded in the categories below, with the winner of the Don McGillivray Award for Investigative Journalism chosen from amongst these categories.

Open newspaper / wire service Entries welcomed for any article published in a Canadian newspaper or wire service, regardless of circulation or publication frequency. Print articles published exclusively on newspaper websites are also eligible.

Community newspaper Entries welcomed for any article published in a Canadian newspaper with an average circulation of under 25,000 or any newspaper published fewer than five times a week. Print articles published exclusively on newspaper websites are also eligible.

Magazine Entries welcomed for any article published by a Canadian magazine. Print articles published exclusively on magazine websites are also eligible. Open television (under five minutes runtime) Entries welcomed for any piece broadcast on any Canadian station, with a runtime of under five minutes.

Open television (over five minutes runtime) Entries welcomed for any piece broadcast on any Canadian station, with a runtime of over five minutes.

Regional television Entries welcomed for any piece broadcast exclusively on a local or regional station.

Open radio news or current affairs Entries welcome for any news or current affairs audio broadcast on any Canadian station, of any length.

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.

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.

Photojournalism 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.

Scoop 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.

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.

Print feature Entries welcome for any article published in a Canadian newspaper or magazine that is not specifically investigative in nature.

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 The details: The winner receives the opportunity to travel with jhr to one of its African project sites over 14 days. Travel (flights) to the site is provided by jhr, as is on-the-ground travel in the host nation. The CAJ provides the winner a $500 cash prize. The winner agrees to be responsible for covering pre-departure costs (visas, vaccinations, etc.) as well as accommodation costs while in Africa, which are booked in liaison with jhr (est. $1,000+). The winning entrant will be have her/his registration fee to the 2013 CAJ conference waived and be invited to give a presentation sharing the award's experience with CAJ conference delegates. 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. 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 university or college.

In addition to awards for professional excellence, the CAJ presents a Code of Silence Award to celebrate "Canada's rich bureaucratic culture of secrecy." At the 'Muck Rake 2004' conference in Vancouver in May, 2004, the federal government Health Canada department won its third Code of Silence award. Winners since then include the federal department of foreign affairs in 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office in 2009 and the Toronto Police Service in 2010.


The CAJ is governed by a board of directors, elected by chapters or through regional or national elections held prior to the annual meeting. Members of the board must be practising journalists as defined by the CAJ bylaws.

The 2015-16 board of directors: President Nick Taylor-Vaisey – National director Maclean's Magazine

Vice-president Sean Holman – Alta./N.W.T. regional director Mount Royal University – Calgary

Chair Dale Bass – B.C. / Yukon Region representative Kamloops This Week – Kamloops, B.C.

Vice-chair Jessy Akerley – Atlantic region representative Coopérative Radio Restigouche Ltée (CIMS FM) – Balmoral, N.B.

Treasurer Paul Schneidereit – National director The Chronicle Herald – Halifax

Community manager Laura Beaulne-Stuebing – National Capital Chapter rep Ottawa

Past-president Hugo Rodrigues Standard-Freeholder – Cornwall, Ont. 613-330-8396

Directors Mike Aiken – Manitoba / Northwestern Ontario regional director Q104FM – Kenora, Ont.

Tim Alamenciak – Toronto chapter representative

James Cullingham – National director Seneca College – Toronto

Andrea Hill – Sask. regional director Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Pat Martel – Atlantic region representative CBC Radio – Charlottetown, PEI

Michel Remy – Quebec regional director – Montreal

Manjeet Singh Atthwal – Quebec regional director The Desi Times – Montreal

David Wiwchar – National director 93.3 The Peak, islandRADIO – Port Alberni, B.C.

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