Jayme Poisson and David Bruser of the Toronto Star have won the 2018 Canadian Hillman Prize for exposing the toxic legacy of mercury contamination in the Grassy Narrows region of Ontario. In 1975, Canadians learned that large amounts of mercury had been dumped in the river, but for years officials dismissed members of the White Dog first nation when they said they were still being poisoned by mercury. Authorities did nothing to clean up the spill, arguing that the river should be allowed to clean itself.
Poisson and Bruser revealed in their 30-story series that the provincial government had been warned about the contamination as far back as 1972, but chose to do nothing about it. The two journalists travelled to Grassy Narrows and sampled the soil to prove that mercury levels remain dangerously high to this day. In the wake of their story the provincial government announed an $85 million river cleanup.
An honorable mention goes to “The Price of Oil,” a collaboration featuring the National Observer, the Toronto Star, Global News, and several university journalism programs.
A second honorable mention goes to ”Canada’s Indigenous Water Crisis,” by VICE News Canada.
Click here for full details on all this year’s winners and honorees.
Join us on Wednesday, March 28 at 6pm for the Canadian Hillman Prize ceremony and reception at a brand new location: The Storys Building, 11 Duncan St., Toronto. RSVP required.