Thank you to the committee for inviting us to appear today.
I am Nick Taylor-Vaisey, president of the CAJ. I'm here today in that capacity. I should be clear that I do not speak on behalf of my current employer. I'll be sharing my time with Hugo, who is, as you know, the CAJ's past president.
Today we're speaking to you in Ottawa and from Toronto, but our national board represents almost every corner of Canada. We see that as a strength, even if it does make our board meetings across several time zones tricky to schedule. It's a strength because the CAJ is a truly national association of working journalists, with members all over the country and across all forms of media.
Before we offer you our thoughts on how the federal government can proactively, if non-intrusively, encourage high-quality journalism in Canada, allow us to tell you just a bit more about our organization.
The CAJ was founded in 1978 as the CIJ, the Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit organization that encouraged and supported investigative work. Over the years we broadened our mandate, and now offer three primary services to our members: high-quality professional development, primarily at our annual national conference; outspoken advocacy on behalf of journalists and the public's right to know; and an awards program that honours the finest journalism in Canada, both investigative and across several other categories. That program, we're proud to say, is affordable for our members.
Our members are the working journalists who are responsible for outstanding reporting that changes lives, forces governments to do better for Canadians, and ultimately serves the public interest. They're local reporters who keep their eye on city hall when few others are watching, and who simply report the news that better informs their community. Of course, our members are often the first to feel the brunt of layoffs that have cut so deeply across so many newsrooms across Canada.
We're here today to provide two modest recommendations that would allow more storytelling in more local newsrooms and help stem the tide of job losses, at least to some degree, in those same newsrooms. The first recommendation is that government provide incentives to prospective local advertisers in Canadian communities. The second recommendation is that government make it easier for non-profit journalism to take flight in Canada.
I'll now pass the floor over to Hugo.