Ottawa public interest researcher Ken Rubin will receive inaugural investigative award from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.

[[{“fid”:”5102″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:””,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:””},”type”:”media”,”attributes”:{“height”:153,”width”:124,”style”:”width: 75px; height: 93px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;”,”class”:”media-element file-default”},”link_text”:null}]]By Kathy English for the Toronto Star

Ken Rubin laughs easily now about the time when the Star mistakenly referred to him as “an Ottawa farmer with a passion for government accountability” in an article about Canada’s culture of secrecy.

We subsequently published a correction to make clear that the article had understated Rubin’s qualifications significantly, and, in fact, he is “an Ottawa-based investigative researcher considered one of Canada’s leading access to information activists.”

Indeed, Rubin has been leading the charge against government secrecy in Canada for some five decades – since well before 1983 when then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau introduced Canada’s first Access to Information Act. On Wednesday, Rubin will be honored by journalists across Canada at the Canadian Journalists for Free Expressionannual gala in Toronto.

Rubin will receive CJFE’s first-ever “Investigative Award.” This award goes to a journalist, investigative researcher or media worker who has made a significant contribution to advancing investigative public interest reporting in Canada.

By the way, when he is not unearthing government secrets, Rubin also runs an organic farming operation in Quebec, close to Ottawa, so the Star’s characterization of him as a farmer was not entirely inaccurate.

“I dig for dirt. I raise hell. I squash secrecy,” Rubin joked this week.

Rubin has spent much of his adult life digging up public information that has been hidden or blocked by governments in Canada. He stopped keeping track of the access to information requests he has made to governments of all levels in this country when he reached 30,000 several years ago.

Continue reading this story on the Toronto Star website, where it was first published.


H.G. Watson was J-Source's managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at