The Toronto Star in collaboration with CBC News and Radio Canada have been named finalists for the 2018 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism for their investigation into Canada’s medical device industry.
Jesse McLean and Robert Cribb, the journalists behind the Implant Files, which revealed that medical devices continued to be implanted into Canadians years after being banned elsewhere due to health risks.
The project produced a database of more than 160,000 incident reports which resulted in the federal government announcing a reform of the regulatory system governing medical implants. Health Canada also moved to ban textured breast implants.
Toronto Star’s sister papers, the St. Catharine Standard and The Waterloo Region Record are also award finalists.
The Standard’s year-long investigation revealed a conspiracy behind the hiring of Niagara Region’s top bureaucrat.
Cribb said the Implant Files investigation was heartbreaking because of the dozens of patients whose lives had been upended and careers lost because they had devices implanted that they were told were safe.
“The really important and extraordinary thing is that within weeks of publication Health Canada announces sweeping reform to the way it regulates medical devices from restriction to surveillance,” he said.
McLean said the response was swift. “The minister pledged sweeping reforms before we were even done publishing the first batch of stories.”
“It really shows you the power of these international investigative collaborations…you really saw the power of teamwork,” said McLean.
Other finalists for the award are The Telegraph-Journal, APTN and CBC North and CBC Television News.
Raneem Alozzi is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @r_alozzi