Canadian Association of Journalists Code of Silence Award

Deadline for nominations — May 15

The Canadian Association of Journalists

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 1,300 members across Canada. The Can’s primary role is to provide public-interest advocacy and quality professional development for its members.

OTTAWA — Has a government department dodged your calls, denied your access to information requests and given you the epic run-around? Nominate it for a prestigious national award!

The Canadian Association of Journalists is now accepting nominations for its ninth annual Code of Silence Award, which recognizes the most secretive government department or agency in Canada.

"From the tiniest town council right up to the Prime Minister's office, governments consistently show contempt for the public’s right to know," said CAJ President Mary Agnes Welch. "They use every loophole and delay tactic to conceal information that ought to be public. Some do this so well they deserve a big, fancy award."

Last year, the hands-down winner of the Code of Silence Award was Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his office. The PMO was cited for muzzling civil servants and cabinet ministers, blackballing reporters who pose tough questions and building a huge apparatus designed to staunch the flow of information.

Previous winners include former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's Conservative government for hoarding public documents on the misuse of a government plane until after the 2004 provincial election and Health Canada for denying any meaningful access to a database of prescription drugs that could harm or even kill Canadians.

The Code of Silence Award is handed out annually at the Can’s gala award ceremonies which take place during the association's annual conferences. This year, the conference is being held May 22-24 in Vancouver.

Nominees for the 2009 award can include municipal, provincial and federal government departments as well as public agencies that work in the public interest with public money.

Nominations can be submitted by e-mail: (write "Code of Silence" in subject line)

Nominations close May 15, 2009.

For more information, visit or call Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ President, Work: (204) 697-7590 or Cell: (204) 470-8862; John Dickins, CAJ Executive Director, Cell: (613) 868-5442.

22 April 2009 — Return to cover.