Ottawa, June 12, 2012.
The Times Colonist in Victoria has won the 2011 Michener Award for its reporting on a B.C. government policy that reduced support for people with developmental disabilities, Russell Mills, President of the Michener Awards Foundation, announced today.
The coveted Michener Award was presented to Les Leyne, columnist for the Times Colonist, by His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. The Victoria, B.C. newspaper was among six news organizations honoured at the ceremony.
The Michener Award, founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then Governor-General, goes to news organizations of all sizes for articles, features and reports that make a significant impact on the public good and achieve identifiable results.
The Times Colonist received the award for reporting on the plight of people with developmental disabilities when the B.C. government changed its policy to save money and to address a client backlog at its underfunded agency, Community Living B.C. People were moved from their long-term residences to less expensive accommodation, lost needed assistance once they turned 19 or were left in jail or hospital because there was no where to go.
The newspaper demonstrated journalistic excellence and achieved clear results on behalf of a powerless and voiceless segment of society. The sustained coverage resulted in the reversal of government policy, a substantial increase in financial support for those with developmental disabilities, and administrative changes in the ministry of social development and Community Living B.C.